Call of Duty: Vanguard has added a new tool to its arsenal of methods for trying to humiliate cheaters. The online shooter’s anti-cheat tech now includes a new “mitigation technique” called Cloaking that will make everyone but the cheater invisible, a punishment worthy of Black Mirror.
Basically, once Call of Duty’s RICOCHET anti-cheat security detects someone is cheating through the use of aimbots or other illicit means, everyone else in the game will be rendered as invisible to them. Even bullets will be hidden, and all sounds of gunfire muted.
“Legitimate players, however, can see cheaters impacted by cloaking (generally, they’ll be the players you see spinning in circles hollering, ‘Who is shooting me?!’) and can dole out in-game punishment,” Vanguard’s development team wrote in a blog post Thursday. Brutal.
This latest attempt to discourage cheaters with extreme prejudice comes on the back of similar mechanisms. One called Damage Shield prevents those caught tampering with the game from dealing critical damage. Activision has also threatened to ban cheaters indefinitely from every future Call of Duty ever made.
Developers have tried to get creative in fighting the scourge of online cheating. When their software isn’t asking for controversial kernel-level access to players’ PCs, they’re playing around with ideas like trapping cheaters in separate matchmaking islands.
For its part, Activision routinely bans tens of thousands of cheaters from Vanguard, Warzone, and other recent Call of Duty games. Along with companies like Bungie and Riot Games, it’s also gone on the legal warpath, trying to sue cheat makers into oblivion.
Rampant cheating is often blamed for why live service games bleed players. One of the most recent examples of that is Halo Infinite. But Vanguard has struggled for a range of other reasons as well, generally failing to attract the mega popularity of Call of Duty spin-offs like Modern Warfare and Black Ops. A new Modern Warfare 2 is heavily rumored to be the newest game in the series, with a possible reveal in May and likely release in holiday 2022.
Update: 4/28/22, 3:16 p.m. ET: And it’s been confirmed.