Several Steam games changed names to Helldivers 2 and Palworld to scam players

Man screaming in Helldivers 2 intro cinematic
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Early this morning, the busy Helldivers 2 Discord sent out a warning from the team. Imposters were threatening the integrity of Super Earth. Developers of several games on Steam had changed the name of their games to Helldivers 2, completely altering their Steam pages, including the developer and publisher tags. And Helldivers 2 was not alone in being targeted by this scam. 

Palworld, Last Epoch and Escape from Tarkov were also impersonated, with the same strategy employed, and each Steam page for the fakes looking largely legit to a casual observer. At a glance, only the tiny number of reviews suggested something was not quite right. 

While games from different studios were altered, it seems likely this scam is being perpetrated by a single organisation, as the changes happened around the same time and the method was identical. The other games in these developers' catalogues also share a lot of similarities: they look like cheaply-made asset flips, and all of them are currently £39 or £49. 

The developers in question have used several different names. For instance, the developer behind Do Not Smile, which briefly masqueraded as Helldivers 2, was known as Whitehole Games until November, where it changed to Glamurny, and then became Fest Studios earlier this month. Whitehole/Glamurny/Fest was also behind the fake Last Epoch.

Fest also created a fake Escape from Tarkov page, which isn't even on Steam. So the first result on Google for "Escape from Tarkov Steam" is a scam. 

SoleOnBoard Studio, meanwhile, has gone by albobs and Bside Studio, and was responsible for Palworld and Helldivers 2 fakes. While these fakes have all been taken off sale, the rest of these developers' games are still for sale. Hopefully these developers, and I hate to call them that, will be banned from Steam, but it's wild that even after this they are still able to do business on the platform. 

Once upon a time Valve was heavily criticised for its draconian approach to letting games appear on Steam. It was extremely picky. Steam Greenlight, which was a kind of precursor to early access, opened the doors a bit back in 2012, but now they're fully open, transforming Steam into the Wild West. The vast number of games available make discoverability a nightmare, and there's no real quality control. Asset flips, games that simply do not function—they're all given a home on Steam. 

What's especially troubling is how simple it was for these phoney studios to masquerade as legitimate ones like Arrowhead. Some quick edits, some links, some official screenshots, and voila, a page that looks pretty dang real unless you actually scrutinise it. It's no wonder that some customers fell for the scam. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.