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Hackers targeted Titanfall and Apex Legends in a scheme to revive a cancelled free-to-play spin-off

Splash art for Titanfall Online
(Image credit: Nexon)
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The Titanfall community may have finally uncovered the hackers behind both last month's massive Apex Legends hack (opens in new tab) and server-breaking bot attacks that have been hitting Titanfall 1 for years.

Earlier this week, SaveTitanfall.com—a site mentioned in the Apex Legends attack that otherwise insists it was not involved in the hack itself—released a hefty, 40 page PDF regarding Operation RedTape (opens in new tab). In it, the document (and an associated folder full of further evidence) collates discussions from Discord servers, private messages, emails, twitter threads and more implicating a number of hackers in the July 4 Apex Hack, Titanfall's ongoing bot shutdown, and recent DDoS attacks against Titanfall 2 streamers.

This evidence is put into context by YouTuber Upper Echelon Gamers, who had previously covered the Titanfall 2 attacks. The video alleges that p0358, a Titanfall fan who grew famous for a Medium article (opens in new tab) that supposedly tells Respawn "how to fix Titanfall", in fact collaborated with owners, admins and associated hackers on the Remnant Fleet discord server (a server closely associated with SaveTitanfall.com) to plan the Apex Legends attack.

Screenshots show members of the discord boasting about how they'd managed to alter the Apex client and instigated attacks against certain TF2 streamers, planning the operation to crash Apex at the same time public Discord channels disavowed any association with the attack.

"Originally, savetitanfall.com was a partnership between different Titanfall communities united to bring attention to the state of the game(s) and give accurate information about the problems," the report writes. "Unfortunately, [Remnant Fleet] decided to put their personal goal—promoting their server and personal Titanfall community project—above the good of the game and instead took advantage of the hard work of others when it was convenient for them."

Why go to all the trouble of shutting down Respawn's shooters, though? The report alleges that these hacks are all a part of some elaborate scheme to resurrect Titanfall Online, a cancelled F2P spin-off by Nexon aimed at porting Titanfall for Asian markets. p0358 and co are supposedly working on a community revival of TFO, but have hit snags in dealing with accessing the game's source code.

Titanfall 2 error message

The report comes with screenshots of hackers successfully shutting down both Titanfall games and Apex. (Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

Additionally, p0358 has also been very public in his desire to be hired by Respawn. Upper Echelon speculates that getting hired would get him access to Titanfall's source code, which would then help efforts in getting a TFO revival off the ground. All the while, p0358 has been repeatedly screenshotted as appearing thrilled at Titanfall's demise, as he hopes it'll bring attention to the TFO project.

"This makes no sense", said YouTuber MoDen31 in a condensed YouTube summary of the report (opens in new tab). "They hacked Titanfall, to fix Titanfall, to get hired by Respawn, to revive a free-to-play Titanfall port made for the Asian market by Nexon."

Following the report, Remnant Fleet owner and implicated hacker RedShield (via the Titanfall subreddit (opens in new tab)) disavowed the server's involvement, saying "I'd like everyone to know we're not behind the Titanfall 1 attacks, Titanfall 2 attacks, Apex Legends attacks". He has reportedly been in contact with Upper Echelon to give them a "tour" of the secret channels where the alleged plotting took place.

A discord screenshot of Remnant Fleet owner RedShield

(Image credit: Discord)

Titanfall, for its part, has been playable online once more since an update in late-July, and the attacks against Titanfall 2 and Apex appear to have stopped (or at least slowed down). The Titanfall subreddit, however, has exploded at the revelation that they've been subject to an absolutely buck-wild conspiracy to take down the game they love.

I've reached out to Respawn to verify the reports and comment on the studio's position on these developments.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.