In response to the awful human behavior that Rockstar Games’ online components have a way of bringing out, the Red Dead Online developer is now cracking down on hateful hackers that were spawning KKK members to ruin other players’ multiplayer experience. Typically, Rockstar may not doing much to actually punish those edgy individuals for abusing the game’s code (nor has it probably taken action against those players for their rampant in-game hate speech and harassment), but something is certainly better than nothing.
While Rockstar’s sandboxes of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto V have high praise heaped upon them for their willingness to probe the furthest cinematic and thematic reaches of the gaming medium, their online components are notorious havens for unsupervised children, hackers, and embittered players that spout hate speech like it’s going out of style. Sometimes those unsavory demographics intersect to varying degrees, resulting in the kind of Red Dead Online moments in which very basic cheats are used to to spawn the campaign’s tiki torch-carrying, bedsheet-clad KKK member NPCs into the game, who are sicced on players as a tasteless and insensitive form of griefing.
As confirmed by Polygon, Rockstar has put an end to cheaters’ ability to spawn this particularly charged NPC into Red Dead Online. The issue became more widely known after Red Dead Online Community tweeted at Rockstar on June 13, including images of hackers’ in-game racist behavior, which included (but certainly wasn’t limited to) having KKK NPCs hunt down players in droves and abusing the “‘Rockstar Message’ text” function to share server-wide hate speech. Regarding the spawn hack, Tez2 corroborates Rockstar’s claim that “the game no longer allows for this racist cheat,” so it’s entirely possible that the ability for hackers to hijack the Red Dead Online server notification system remains a viable exploit for bad actors, though no official confirmation is available at the time of writing.
The main story of Red Dead Redemption 2, where the despicable klansmen make their digital home, is one that grasps and strives to recreate the depressing accuracies of American frontier life history. Clearly, the sad Red Dead Online hackers who run around shouting slurs and crudely weaponizing the KKK as a joke clearly didn’t play through the campaign or simply failed or refused to comprehend it. Rockstar’s controversial decision to include secret KKK meetings that protagonist Arthur Morgan can stumble upon can be summarized in tone and intent by the fact that killing those particular NPCs raises Morgan’s Honor regardless of pretense or context.
No matter how many gruesome serial killers, twisted sideshow abominations, or racial extremist terrorist groups Rockstar puts into their single-player campaigns, their nastiness will never quite broach the levels of gag-inducing toxicity that a tiny minority of players motivated only by hate and bitterness consistently bring to its multiplayer modes. If Rockstar ever chooses to give its players better than the cesspits of negativity that can be found in GTA Online and Red Dead Online in future online components, the studio would do well to start by reigning in cheaters and hackers before they pull abhorrent crap like this.
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Source: Polygon, Red Dead Online Community, Tez2