Digital Rights Management schemes generally don’t last for very long because there are always ways around them. Solutions like
Version 5.x of Denuvo is considered a significant step up from versions 4.x because there are additional protections that make cracking games more complex. For example, stripping out the protection is no longer a viable option for scene groups because it’s more deeply embedded into the game files. Since 5.x launched, popular games that use it now take an average of 15 days to get cracked, and many of these are cracked sooner than other titles because of a shortage of developers working on the crack. Some games like Hitman 2 and Just Cause 4 are done rather quickly because they aren’t adding in other DRM schemes, while games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey layers several protection schemes on top of one another to make it more difficult.
Metro Exodus was in the news recently for its move to the Epic Game Store as part of an exclusivity deal between Deep Silver and Epic Games, and today it was cracked just 5 days after release. It’s the first time the series has used Denuvo as Metro 2033, Last Light, and the Redux versions all used Steam’s DRM instead. Denuvo 5.6 is also the very latest version, and this means that the methods used to bypass the protection here can be applied to other games that ship with 5.6, which includes Far Cry: New Dawn and potentially Devil May Cry 5.
What makes the Metro Exodus bypass interesting, as well as the rest of the games that shipped with Denuvo 5.x, is that once the bypass is released the games continued to ship with Denuvo protection. Denuvo once made public a promise that if their protection was broken that the publishers would be refunded their money and the game would have Denuvo stripped from it. Notable examples of this include DOOM, Homefront: The Revolution, Titanfall 2, Hitman, Mass Effect Andromeda, Mad Max, Resident Evil 7, and more recently Hitman 2 and Mega Man 11.
However, thanks to Games as a Service (GaaS), new patches and DLC for titles that launch with Denuvo protection mean that the bypass needs to be updated each time, and thus the game effectively continues to be protected even though a crack may have been released when the game launched. Developers may even intentionally begin to leave in bugs that fundamentally break the game without the latest patches as an incentive to keep gamers buying the legitimate copy. Some studios still opt for full removal of the DRM to save money, but others maintain that protection with updates, especially if there’s an online multiplayer component.
So yes, if you’re a pirate it’s perfectly possible to get Metro Exodus for free today. But any DLC or bugs in the game will require a paid copy to fully enjoy it, and that applies to updates to new Nvidia RTX features like DLSS and the ray-traced lighting engine.
Last Updated: February 22, 2019