Ubisoft issues takedown request of 'speculative' Nvidia database leak

(Image credit: CLEMENT SABOURIN (Getty Images))

Nvidia set gamer hopes alight earlier this month when a leaked GeForce Now database "revealed" games including Titanfall 3, a Half-Life 2 remaster, and a PC version of God of War. Nvidia quickly shot it all down, though, saying that the titles in question were speculative, for "internal tracking and testing." In all likelihood, in other words, developers needed placeholders to test various functionality and decided to have a little bit of fun with them.

Using inside jokes for internal testing purposes is a risky business—there's a famous story about a local newspaper that was published with one of the filthiest "joke" paragraphs you can imagine that serves as an object lesson about the dangers of such things—but in this case, it all seemed relatively harmless: Nvidia explained the situation, 343 Industries told us (again) that Halo 5 is not coming to PC, and that was the end of it.

But now the interest is picking up again thanks to Ubisoft, which issued a DMCA takedown notice to SteamDB operator Pavel Djundik, who had a copy of the list on Github. Djundik removed the list as requested, but of course multiple copies of the list were posted elsewhere on the site, with links quickly shared following Djundik's deletion.

Because Ubisoft is the only publisher making a fuss, attention immediately turned to the Ubisoft titles on the list. Most of them are released games, but a few are more mysterious:

  • Project Meteor
  • Project Q
  • Project Over
  • Project Orlando

These are far from the only "Project" codenames in the list—in fact, it appears over 300 times, although many of the entries are duplicates. 505 Games has something called Project Pugwash, for instance, while Bohemia Interactive has a Project PadThai and Microsoft has Projects Holland, Typhoon, and Woodstock.

But it's the effort to have the list taken down that's really interesting, because it's led some to wonder why Ubisoft is so eager to make it go away. It's a near-perfect example of the Streisand Effect—the more you try to hide something, the more that people become aware of it—and of course people are now talking about it. Projects Over and Q remain mysteries, but according to Reddit (via Eurogamer), Project Orlando is most likely DLC for The Crew 2, while Meteor appears to be Assassin's Creed Valhalla DLC.

More broadly, the takedown notice could be seen as legitimizing at least some of the titles in the leaked database: Why worry about invoking the DMCA against an entirely fictional list? Furthermore, it also seems reasonable (to me, at least) to wonder why the list would have codenames in the first place. After all, if I'm having fun with a "speculative" list of games that nobody's ever going to see, I'm swinging for the fences: Half-Life 3, Left 4 Dead 3, Portal 3, Team Fortress 3—well, you get the idea. 

I've reached out to Ubisoft to ask about the DMCA takedown notice, and will update if I receive a reply.

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.