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Call of Duty: Warzone’s new Splat tech will turn cheaters into pancakes

If you cheat, don’t expect your parachute to work

Soldiers hold rifles on an airport near a burning passenger plane in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

Battling cheats in Call of Duty must be a thankless task, akin to an infinite game of Whac-A-Mole. But Team Ricochet — Activision’s in-house anti-cheat team for CoD games — seems determined to have some fun with it. The developers, who were last in the headlines for making cheaters hallucinate imaginary players, have unveiled their latest anti-cheat measure for Warzone battle royale, released in tandem with Modern Warfare 3: They call it Splat.

Put simply, if you cheat in Warzone and are detected, Ricochet’s tech might “randomly, and for fun” disable your parachute as you deploy, so you meet an ignominious, high-velocity end before you even get to participate in the match.

But what if a cheat is detected some way into a match, after safely reaching the ground? “Well, Splat can also adjust player velocity, which transforms a bunny hop into a 10,000-foot drop, taking them out instantly,” explained Team Ricochet. As a plus, this must be very funny for everyone else in the match to witness.

Team Ricochet reassured legitimate players that there is no way Splat can trigger for a player that hasn’t been verified to be cheating, even if they’ve been reported by other players.

Splat isn’t actually the most effective way to deal with a cheater, Team Ricochet confessed. Many of the techniques the team uses, called mitigations — like the hallucinations of imaginary players, which distract cheaters and draw them away from the action — are designed to be undetectable to the cheater while keeping them in the game so Team Ricochet can gather data on them.

But Splat doesn’t do that. It effectively just kicks verified cheaters from the game in a way that publicly humiliates them in a slapstick fashion, for no reason other than poetic justice. That’s fair enough. It’s important to take pleasure in your work where you can.

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