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Epic Explains Gears of War PC Shutdown Snafu

Following an expired digital certificate that rendered the PC release of Gears of War unplayable after January 28, developer Epic has explained exactly what happened.

"The online cheat detection features in Gears of War for Windows are based on digital signatures. Well, we made an embarrassing mistake: we signed the executable with a certificate that expired in a way that broke the game," Epic VP Mark Rein told IGN.

"We know how much this situation sucks, and we apologize for the inconvenience," he added, vowing that Epic is working on the issue and hopes to have it fixed "very soon."

In the meantime, those hoping to play are advised to set their computer's system clock back to some time before January 28, which will circumvent the so-called Y2K9 bug.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 2, 2009 10:24 AM

    Since this has to go through the GFW approval process and they just axed most of those people in the approval testing (or so i've read) this might be awhile. :\

    • reply
      February 2, 2009 10:36 AM

      Should be as simple as:

      1) obtaining an updated certificate from the certificate authority
      2) updating the executable with the new certificate
      3) distributing the updated executable as a patch.

      I've never done that with a game, but plenty of times with business software. I'm surprised they don't have a fix out yet. They're probably fighting over who needs to cough up the money for the cert.

      • reply
        February 2, 2009 11:09 AM

        It's not that simple. GoW PC is Games for Windows compliant, which mandates a whole mess of hoops to jump through -- Microsoft has a certification process and if they don't go through it the game's updated executable might not be able to log into Live.

        • reply
          February 2, 2009 11:29 AM

          With both this and some of their OS/app bug fixes, Microsoft really need to realise that NOT releasing a fix can cause more harm than releasing a fix that hasn't been tested forever and a day and may cause an issue.

          I'm not saying they should bash out fixes and release them without testing at all but, as a company, they really seem to go too far in the direction of caution with patch releases.

          Plus, despite sometimes taking months to test & release fixes, their fixes still sometimes cause problems. In those cases you then have to wait months (sometimes) for a fix for the fix. So their lengthy test cycles actually make things worse, not better.

          You can't get away from the risk that any fix could, if you're unlucky, make things worse... But on average, so long as you don't do anything really stupid and do test stuff a reasonable amount, it would be so much better to take that risk sooner rather than later, and be ready for a follow-up fix if the worst happens (which it rarely does, in my experience).

          Or, you know, release a "beta" version of the fix that people can try in the knowledge that it may have unfound issues but may also solve the problem and be fine.

          I'm not just talking about their length certification process and the way nobody can play GoW on the PC for several days (WTF) but things like the Windows Home Server file corruption bug -- known about before the thing went to retail and not fixed for 6 or 9 months as I remember -- or the bugs they introduced in the June/July Vista Media Center update (e.g. reverting back to the bug in XP where the screensaver would unpause videos) which they took months to fix...

          If every fix was perfect I might forgive the length test times, except in cases like GoW where a fix couldn't make the thing more broken than it currently is, but their fixes aren't perfect so WTF is the advantage of the lengthy tests?

          • reply
            February 2, 2009 2:51 PM

            Yay for Valve and quick patches & fixes!

      • reply
        February 2, 2009 11:10 AM

        ^^^ I guarantee that money is the problem here. Verisign certs are extremely expensive.

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