'Guilty Gear Strive' Streamers Can't Play The Game Without Getting Hacked

Streamers are an essential part of any fighting game community, and 'Strive' streamers falling victim to a game-crashing exp
Ramlethal Valentine, a young woman with brown skin wearing a white military uniform, slams her massive swords down on the enemy.
Screenshot by ArcSystemworks

Guilty Gear Strive has become one of the most popular fighting games in recent memory. It has also become completely unplayable for streamers, because of a recently discovered exploit that allows hackers to remotely crash the games of other players, among other things.

This is especially problematic given the game’s importance to the modern Fighting Game Community (FGC), evidenced by the fact that the game had more than 2,000 entrants at EVO, the world’s biggest fighting game tournament, almost doubling the next most popular game, Street Fighter V. This popularity has emerged from the game’s best-in-class visuals, accessibility to fighting game newcomers, and the legacy of the Guilty Gear franchise. It was my personal gateway into fighting games, for example.


An essential part of that introduction to the genre, and to any given game, is watching the streams and videos of professional players, who can explain game mechanics, character strategies, and provide communities which new players can go to for advice or coaching. Strive was popularized, in no small part, by Twitch, with its EVO final reaching more than 100,000 concurrent viewers on the platform.

The exploit, which became a serious problem around Christmas 2022 when it was used to target streamers, allows hackers to remotely change the names of other players in the middle of a match, causing their games to crash. There are dozens of clips of streamers being knocked out of a match, only to have to close their game from the task manager. Hackers can also force streamers to send chat messages in-game, and, according to Strive pro Hotashi, create memory leaks that can affect performance in training, arcade, and Dojo modes, until the game becomes unplayable.

Hackers appear to be utilizing “R-Codes,” which are unique codes that contain information about a given player including their name, match history, and stats. At first, streamers took to hiding their R-Codes while on stream, hoping to prevent the hackers from targeting them. But Guilty Gear Strive allows you to follow other players, informing you of when they’re online and what they’re doing—meaning that once you’ve been followed by a hacker, there isn’t much you can do other than boot up a second account or play the game offline.

This exploit is particularly frustrating on account of its timing. ArcSystemworks, the game’s developer, is hosting a $200,000 prize-pool Strive tournament later this year, which top players must qualify for by performing well at other events, the last of which, Frosty Faustings, is next month. This means that streamers are having their practice time demolished by hackers in the most important period before a major tournament, risking their chances at qualifying for ArcSystemworks’ tournament, and the chance at $200,000.

At time of publication, ArcSystemworks hasn’t released a patch for the game to resolve this issue, two weeks after its discovery. This, in addition to stability issues resulting from the recent addition of crossplay to Strive, puts the game, its community, and its developers, in an awkward position at the worst possible time.