Apex Legends hackers interrupt games with messages about Titanfall hacking

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Respawn Entertainment’s battle royale shooter Apex Legends has proven to be a hit, with over 100 million unique players, and counted over 300,000 people playing on Steam at one time in May. But an issue bubbling over from its earlier Titanfall games is now having an impact on Apex, as reports across social media show players running into messages from people hacking the game with a “Save Titanfall” message.

Respawn acknowledged the issues on Twitter, saying “We are aware of and actively investigating issues impacting @PlayApex playlists that are preventing players from getting into matches.” In a follow-up tweet at 7PM, the developer said these attacks don’t put the personal information of players at risk, and that the team is testing a fix. As of 10:15PM, the developer appeared confident that problems for Apex Legends are resolved

We’re testing a fix now and will update when we have more confidence. Additional updates may be required.

In the meantime, we’ve determined that this attack—while disruptive—has not put players’ personal information or accounts at risk. More updates to come as we make progress.

— Respawn (@Respawn) July 4, 2021

We’ve confirmed that matchmaking has been restored. We’re keeping an eye on things but believe the issue to be resolved.

Thanks for your patience, Legends.

— Respawn (@Respawn) July 5, 2021

The issue went on for hours, and when players were affected, they couldn’t queue for new games. All of this happened at the same time that Apex is hosting a special event drawing players back to the original versions of its first two maps (including divisive areas like Skulltown, pictured above). As PC Gamer and Kotaku report, the messages have been appearing for players on PC, Xbox One and PS4. I joined a game on PC and when the match was over, I was greeted with the following message pointing to a “Save Titanfall” website. After Respawn indicated the problems were over, I managed to play a few matches without any odd messages or matchmaking problems beyond the usual ones, like not getting paired with enough/any teammates.

It appears that whoever is behind this attack is doing it because of similar issues that have affected the Titanfall games going back years. A problem attributed to a single person kicked players out of Titanfall 1 sessions on PC and inundated them with racist messages, making the multiplayer-only title largely unplayable, in an issue dating back to 2019.

In recent months Respawn has tweeted that “help is coming ASAP” and “the team is investigating” problems like DDOS attacks on the Titanfall series, but the issues continue. With hacking becoming a game-stopping problem for a franchise that EA is counting on to provide over $750 million in net bookings during its 2022 financial year, solutions can’t wait much longer.

Apex Legends is one of the most successful games in the market today. We now have more than 100 million unique players in the game on console and PC, with player engagement growing globally at incredible levels throughout the last year — and we are forecasting continued growth…We are forecasting close to 20% year-over-year growth to $750 million in net bookings for Apex Legends in FY22, with significant potential for upside this year and beyond as we launch the mobile game. — Andrew Wilson, EA CEO (PDF)

Update July 4th, 7:38PM ET: Added 7PM update from Respawn.

Update July 4th, 10:38PM ET: Added note from Respawn that the issues appear to be resolved.