PlayStation 3 dev: ‘We will combat cheaters with patches’

Shortly after the PlayStation 3 was opened up by George Hotz et al, a marked increase in the use of online game hacks cropped up – most noticeably within matches of immensely popular shooter, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.” Similar hacks were employed pre-jailbreaking. The Xbox 360 version had suffered from hacked lobbies, too. It was a niggling issue before it ballooned into a grave one. Blame George Hotz. Blame Sony. Blame developer Infinity Ward for its lax in-game security and flaccid response.

Guerrilla Games released its blockbuster shooter “Killzone 3” yesterday. The game’s already on its third patch.

PlayStation 3 dev: 'We will combat cheaters with patches'

“We’re looking at people misbehaving, being able to follow reports against those so that’s all been taken care of,” producer Steven Ter Heide told video game site CVG. “And we’re working with Sony to see, even more aggressively, what kind of things are happening.”

Welcome news for legit gamers rightfully concerned over a possible repeat of the “Modern Warfare 2” debacle, which found developer Infinity Ward pinning the blame on the PlayStation 3 console’s compromised security for its game’s newfound woes (it later changed its tune) and innocent players earning nothing but stat wipes from their more unscrupulous kin.

However, it’s still unclear exactly how Guerrilla Games plans to prevent those issues from affecting its game, or if hackers will be able to break “Killzone 3” to begin with.

Heide mentioned in the interview that his team would monitor online leaderboards, keeping an eye out for fishy statistics. That’s certainly part of the problem facing online games and one way to weed out cheaters – if the developers actually move on the information. Despite the public nature of leaderboards and possible illicit activity they hint at, online games are typically chock full of ridiculously inflated numbers.

For example, the top player right now on the Team Deathmatch leaderboard for the Xbox360 “Call of Duty: Black Ops” somehow scored over 253,000 points per minute. It is physically impossible to score that much. That player’s account is still active, their last log-on hours ago. “Black Ops” developer Treyarch said it would hunt down cheaters, and it did – banning many PS3 cheaters last month.

Hey Treyarch, you may have missed a few. Here’s a hint: check the leaderboards.

Will Killzone 3 suffer from similar hacks? Possibly. Will the developers take action based on those fallacious figures? They say they will. But who knows?

Heide explained patching the game as if it were a game of cat and mouse: hackers might find an exploit and use it to ruin other people’s enjoyment, then Guerilla would patch the game in response. A virtual tug-of-war; a game within a game. Hopefully legit players come out on top and cheaters who abuse hacks in public matches are dealt with decidedly.

We have a feeling Heide and his team might have their work cut out for them.