When fighting game fan "Dan Hibiki" got a strange message while playing Skullgirls, he did what anyone with a Twitter account might do: he contacted the game developers to ask what was going on. Little did he know that the message, pictured below, was something that only those who pirated the game could see.
The conversation that followed, which was shared by Giant Bomb, is kind of amazing:
@SaikyoChamp Oh that? It means you should probably buy the game instead of pirate it. o:)— Skullgirls (@Skullgirls) July 8, 2014
Busted! Still, it says a lot the developers behind Skullgirls, Lab Zero Games, didn't lash out at Hibiki or anything like that. Instead, they kindly continued to chat—and even answered some of Hibiki's questions:
//@Skullgirls ... I'm sorry. I kinda did a trybeforeyoubuy thing. I already bought it on PS3 and I'm planning on buying it for Steam, soon.— Dan Hibiki (@SaikyoChamp) July 8, 2014
//@Skullgirls I was about to buy it this morning BUT GAMESTOP DOESN'T SELL IT DIRECTLY ONLINE AND I DON'T WANNA LEAVE MY HOUSE!!!— Dan Hibiki (@SaikyoChamp) July 8, 2014
//Holy shit I just accidently told Lab Zero that I pirated Skullgirls...— Dan Hibiki (@SaikyoChamp) July 8, 2014
@SaikyoChamp It’s all good, man. Well... I mean, it isn’t really, but I get it. Just try to do the right thing eventually.— Skullgirls (@Skullgirls) July 8, 2014
//@Skullgirls Thanks for not flipping the fuck out. Quick question, though. Any plans to add 1PvCPU or CPUvCPU into the game?— Dan Hibiki (@SaikyoChamp) July 8, 2014
@SaikyoChamp I’ll have to ask Mike. Don’t think there are any plans for that now, though.— Skullgirls (@Skullgirls) July 8, 2014
@SaikyoChamp Nothing is ever cheap or free, because it still has to be implemented, UI updated, strings localized, QA tested, etc.
— Skullgirls (@Skullgirls) July 8, 2014
It's the sort of interaction that made Hibiki pause and reconsider—which makes sense, because he was reminded that the developers behind Skullgirls are real people.
"Skullgirls is such a great game," Hibiki reflected on Twitter. "It practically lives off of fan support and I'm kinda fucking them over...I'm still going to buy the game eventually! HOPEFULLY EVEN THIS WEEKEND!"
This weekend, for those of you that don't know, is EVO—the biggest fighting game tournament of the year.
Having pirate-specific "features" or messages isn't new—last year, Game Dev Tycoon made headlines after it forced players that pirated the game to experience the woes of piracy inside the game's simulation of game development. Still, it's kind of hard not to laugh at this incident with Skullgirls—and appreciate developers who deal with piracy in surprising ways.