Recently, source code for both Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 was sold on the dark web. And one lucky buyer walked away with the game and engine code for CD Projekt Red’s biggest titles.
In retrospect, this development feels a lot like a plot development in Cyberpunk 2077. Enterprising hackers managed to steal the code out from under the noses of the developers. Next, they leaked the source code for the Witcher strategy card game Gwent.
The primary reason they released the Gwent code is to prove to the world they had the goods. Their next step was to hold an auction on a popular dark web forum. And the hackers weren’t playing around: bidding on their purloined code started at a cool one million dollars.
While that was the starting bid, there was also an option for someone to buy the code outright for seven million dollars. A buyer ended up winning the auction, but it was not immediately clear how much they paid.
Why not? According to research by KELA, the reason that the final sum is unknown is that the hackers received an offer from outside the dark web forum. Interestingly, the buyer promised the hackers that the source code would not be released or resold, but only time will tell if they keep their word.
Presumably, the buyer paid at least a million dollars. What did they get for all that cash? The primary goods included the source code for Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3. But it also included code for Thronebreaker, code for a raytracing version of Witcher 3, and even the studio’s proprietary RedEngine as well as assorted sensitive company documents.
Strictly speaking, the developer had a chance to prevent this from happening. The hackers originally tried to ransom CD Projekt Red, but the developer decided against paying the ransom and opted for warning their partners, the authorities, and the gaming community at large about what happened.