One gamer got so frustrated with hacking in Splatoon 2 that they decided to send a message to Nintendo...by hacking Splatoon 2. The player in question manipulated certain stats to get an unnatural boost on the game's leaderboards. By doing this, they were able to shoot directly to the top with four different accounts. Once there, the four accounts spelled out a message when lined up on the leaderboard: "Please Add Anti Cheat."
Someone hacked the Splatoon 2 X Rank Leaderboard in an effort to call out Nintendo's lack of response to cheaters.— Nintendeal (@Nintendeal) July 12, 2018
"Please add anti cheat" pic.twitter.com/ehz4mmWL3c
The X Rank Leaderboard represents the pinnacle of Splatoon 2 skill, at least in theory. In practice, as this stunt aimed to show, it's all too easy for cheaters to use hacks to get to the top.
"I figured that someone needs to deliver a message to Nintendo," wrote the hacker on the Splatoon 2 subreddit. They also made it a point to say that they did not hack in the way actual cheaters do–by making powerful weapons and gear. Instead, they only gave their accounts enough points to temporarily reach the top of the leaderboard.
They go on to mention that the first Splatoon was also plagued by cheaters. Indeed, a poll on a dedicated discussion board for Splatoon on Wii U revealed that over 30% of its users employed hacks. The discussion around hacks was even causal, with many posters justifying their use because they didn't want to deal with randomly unlocking gear abilities.
With Splatoon 2 being on a new console, players hoped Nintendo would fix things.
"I, at first, was relieved that the Switch had a decently strong system security. Perhaps that's what the development team thought as well. Yet it doesn't justify removing all the security measures from the first game, and leaving the game and its players completely defenseless to ill-purposed griefers who mod their game to victory," the hacker continued.
The fact that cheaters still run rampant in Splatoon 2 makes the game's developers, and Nintendo as a whole, look especially tone deaf in today's online gaming environment. Star Wars Battlefront 2 saw a controversy of its own resolved within a week when developers removed a bugged character entirely. And Blizzard is very public about its ongoing campaign against Overwatch hackers. Meanwhile, Nintendo hasn't even offered so much as a statement condemning cheaters.
That, and some form of action, is all the hacker was asking for. They were even willing to sacrifice their account to get it. "Nintendo, you're welcome to ban my console any time. My purpose was to call attention to the current issue that plagues the game, and I've done that. But my message is, please make protecting your players the top priority."
Nintendo did just that. The banning, that is, not the protecting of players. All the hacker's accounts were removed, and the leaderboard is restored. So clearly the message was seen. And what does Nintendo have to say about the incident? Nothing. Always nothing.