While playing Bloodborne last night, the game booted me to the title screen, citing server maintenance. It was annoying, but fortunately, I wasn’t in the middle of a battle. You can play offline, but From Software’s announced online modes will be down for “a few days.” There may be a very good reason for that.

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This maintenance wasn’t announced, so people couldn’t prepare their playing sessions around it. Sony hasn’t said much through its official channels, but a Twitter account for Bloodborne in Japan pointed to a page with a statement:

We are currently conducting emergency maintenance on the game servers. The maintenance should be complete within a few days. We will update you again once the maintenance ends.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for playing Bloodborne.

A few days is no joke, especially since the game’s one and only DLC add-on, The Old Hunters, was released last week. (I hope to have a proper review soon.)

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Sony has not yet responded to my request for comment, but after digging around, there’s a compelling theory about why this might be happening.

One of the few Bloodborne developers hanging in the game’s subreddit is Tim Wernicke, the game’s lead hosting engineer. It’s not a surprise he’d be looking for comments and feedback about the game’s multiplayer in a place like reddit.

Wernicke posted this brief comment about the server maintenance:

Here is the key phrase: exploit.

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Now, while Bloodborne has player-vs-player mechanics that are crucial to the game’s longevity, it’s hard to imagine anything being so game breaking that it’d require the game’s online modes being brought down entirely for several days.

However, a few days ago, a user posted a thread on the subreddit titled “Old Hunter free DLC glitch.” The post has since been removed, but several users claimed whatever trick had been originally listed did give free access.

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I’ve since discovered the supposed steps, but in the event it’s not fixed when the severs come back online, I’m not willing to outline them in this post. Since the game’s offline, I also haven’t been able to test whether it works myself.

Again, I’ve asked Sony about this, but haven’t heard back.

Being able to gain access to a $20 set of DLC without paying for it would definitely constitute an “exploit” that would require “emergency maintenance.”

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It might also explain why Wernicke refuses to say what’s actually going on:

It’s still a theory, but it makes some sense, no?

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It wouldn’t be shocking if Bloodborne’s online servers come back sooner rather than later, but it wouldn’t be shocking if the opposite happened, either. And if this exploit was the reason for pushing the big red button, you can’t blame them. But in the meantime, you’ll have to hunt through Yharnam on your own.

You can reach the author of this post at patrick.klepek@kotaku.com or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.