Tequila Works, the developer behind the stunning puzzle game Rime, has promised to remove Denuvo, the anti-tampering digital rights management system, from the game's PC version if pirates manage to crack it.
In a post on Rime's Steam forums, a Tequila Works staff member said the studio had internal discussion over whether or not to include Denuvo. However, they eventually decided to do so because "we want to ensure the best gaming experience for Rime players."
"I have seen some conversations about our use of Denuvo anti-tamper, and I wanted to take a moment to address it," Rime community manager Dariuas wrote. "Rime is a very personal experience told through both sight and sound.
"When a game is cracked, it runs the risk of creating issues with both of those items, and we want to do everything we can to preserve this quality in Rime.
"We are very committed to this, but also to the simple fact that nothing is infallible," he continued. "That being said, if Rime is cracked we will release a Denuvo free version of Rime and update existing platforms."
The announcement, however, came across as bizarre and counter-intuitive to gamers given that most developers still strive to defend their Denuvo protection technology, even after they have been cracked.
"So legit buyers will get the better version when the game is cracked? That sounds like a really scummy business practice," one commenter wrote.
Another questioned the point of using Denuvo in the first place if it eventually plans to remove it should it fail. He also questioned the studio's claim that cracking the game will cause performance issues.
"So wait, let me get this straight, you put Denuvo onto your game to make the game better?" the user wrote. "How exactly does not having it ruin the experience? And you plan to remove it after it gets cracked? And what the hell is the point in that?"
"You pay for a piece of anti-tamper to stop piracy knowing it will stop working with the plan to remove. You spend money you could have easily put into making the game better or increasing marketing onto something you know anticipate not working."
Pirates managed to crack the PC version of BioWare's Mass Effect Andromeda within 10 days of release. However, Andromeda's anti-piracy code was later updated, preventing pirates from getting the game's numerous, much-needed subsequent fixes. Capcom's Resident Evil 7 was cracked within a month as well.
"The performance issues that players are facing is not related to Denuvo, and I am sorry if it came across that I implied that," Dariuas later clarified. "We are investigating what is causing that..If you modify a games files to circumvent anti-tamper software, or to pirate a game, you also run the risk of having adverse effects on the way the game will play.
"All things being equal, the only thing that I will continue to say is, we don't have to agree with each other, and probably won't, and that is okay. The reality of the situation is as I mentioned above."
IBTimes UK praised the game as a "beautiful ode to life, loss and childhood that's as much a pleasure to behold as it is to play."
Rime is out now for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.