Escape From Tarkov studio Battlestate Games has put a bounty on cheaters

Escape From Tarkov screenshot
(Image credit: Battlestate Games)

Escape From Tarkov has had problems with cheaters pretty much from the start, but despite being vocal about its efforts to rid the game of their influence—and occasionally referring to cheaters as "scum of the Earth"—some players aren't convinced that developer Battlestate Games is all that serious about dealing with the problem. A new anti-cheat effort rolled out in the latest patch might change some minds on that front: The studio is now offering "compensation for reporting players who violated game rules"—in other words, a bounty on cheaters.

"Players will receive in-game currency compensation after the report that led to the blocking of the violator," the patch notes say (via GamesRadar). "Compensation comes with an in-game message informing of a successful report. Compensation for several successful reports will be combined."

It's light on detail—there's no word as to how much players will be paid for a successful report, whether any kind of threshold has to be met before payout occurs, or how reports from multiple people about the same cheater will be handled—and of course the value of an uptick in cheater reports is dependent entirely on what Battlestate does with them. Still, it seems like a step in the right direction, although whether the program has any long-term impact on cheating remains to be seen.

This isn't exactly an original idea. At least one Redditor suggested Battlestate implement a bounty program like this more than a year ago, noting that Yager offered a very similar program in The Cycle: Frontier. The reaction to that suggestion was mixed, as they say; the general consensus seemed to be that even if the plan was workable, Battlestate was either incapable or unwilling to make it happen. Now that it's embraced the bounty scheme, we can only hope it works out better than it did for Yager. The Cycle: Frontier was shuttered in September 2023, in part because of the negative impact of cheaters. 

Despite widespread frustration with cheaters, it's changes to NPC AI that's attracting the most attention from players right now. Simply put, AI-controlled PMCs will be more aggressive, reactive, and communicative following this patch; they can now travel anywhere in a location, will sprint when moving across open terrain, and will respond when other nearby bots spot the player. 

Most players seem to think these are positive changes (although there's some concern that the AI enemies may be a little too good now), but redditor Thatguydrew7 captured a slightly different mood being felt by some: "Excited for this but PMCs wandering around with aimbot on scares the shit outta me."

The patch also finally enables offline play for the controversial PvE mode Battlestate unveiled, to widespread outrage, in April; the studio said on Twitter that the mode will be made available for purchase for all Escape From Tarkov owners "within 1-2 weeks after the game's infrastructure is stabilized and proven ready."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.