How do game developers punish cheaters?

logo  29 June 2022

In previous articles, we examined the types of existing anti-cheat software, how they are coded, and which are more relevant today. Now we shall take a look at how some game developers punish rule violators and freebie lovers!

Stanley Parable

You might ask, “what is this game doing on this list? Does it even have any cheats?” The fact is that it was created on the Source engine, like, for example, CS: GO, which means that you can use a common exploit to see through walls. While this will not amount to much in terms of gameplay, the game will immediately respond to cheating attempts by placing you in an empty room with nothing but a simple table. The familiar commentator’s voice will then declare that you have “a thousand billion trillion years” to think about your behavior, and if you cheat a second time, the term of punishment will be prolonged to “infinity.”

Slender: The Arrival

You are mistaken if you think that Slenderman will not find you outside the map. Even if you try and find a spot that lets you go out of bounds, Slender will still locate the player and immediately kill them. Before this happens, however, an inscription will appear, saying: “Even a bug in this game will not save you from me.” Creepy.

Ultima VII: The Black Gate

Ready to go retro? Ultima is an old-school alternate universe MMORPG, created by Richard “Lord British” Garriott. If you try to use teleportation (which is considered a cheat) in the seventh chapter, then the Lord British himself will meet you in a strange place in the midst of burning lights. He will chastise the player for foul play before incinerating them into ashes. At this point, not even god mode will save you from visiting the game over screen.


Many simulators allow correcting your mistakes with cheat codes for easy money, quick construction, or something of this nature. SimCity is no exception — by entering the “FUND” code, you can receive extra money, but the developers included a cruel punishment for excessive greed. After the player enters the code 8 times in a row, meteorites will begin to fall on the city, destroying it altogether. Well, you did kind of admit to not being able to run it properly anyway, so… fair is fair.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

At the beginning of the game, Geralt can easily die to a small crowd of drowners or a pack of wolves. Players must find better equipment to survive, but it is expensive as heck, so the more creative of them devised a way to farm gold right after arriving at the starting location.

Cows are not much of a challenger, so gamers farmed them in a couple of clicks, then sold the skins for gold. Meditation quickly respawned the unfortunate animals, so the process could continue ad infinitum… That was until CD Projekt Red added a defender — an imp that would crawl out after a few minutes of farming.

Defeating this opponent at low levels is infeasible, so players would be forced to leave the poor cows alone. A pity that this Easter egg/punishment was later removed from the game.


The developers do not shy away from putting cheeky players in their place without outright restricting access to their game, thus providing rule breakers with a second chance at playing the game the intended way.