"Problematic" Modder Removed From Project Reportedly Behind Valve Code Leak

Tyler McVicker denies any involvement with the leak that caused TF2 and CS:GO players to avoid the game. Says the person responsible always seemed like they were "going to snap".

Earlier this week concerns were raised regarding the safety of Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 titles after outdated source code for the two titles were posted online. These leaks led to reports of RCEs (Remote Code Executions) being present within the games and so players were advised against playing online. Valve had investigated the leaks and had determined that there was no threat to the games and players were safe to continue playing as normal. However, in light of the leak, there is blame being pointed at someone and the reasoning behind why this source code was leaked in the first place.

Valve mentioned that this leak had previously been leaked back in 2018 after the limited CS:GO engine code depot was released to partners in 2017. In addition to that, a Twitter user @TailorTF had a rummage around the files (Thanks, VG247) and discovered some comments tucked away by the developers conversing with one another. “This shit doesn’t work! Why? Has I ever?,” read one, with another reading, “Make the unbumped version not so fucking stupid and not need tangentSpaceTranspose you knob.”

Among the files were also snippets of a private conversation between Tyler McVicker and an anonymous source. McVicker is the creator of the Valve News Network, part of Lever Softworks, and also part of various modding projects. He took to Twitter to address the leaks and distance himself after people reading the leaked conversations started to target him as the leak.

“I did not leak anything.” he states at the start of a Twitter thread shown embedded above, in which he also states he will be “submitting all the evidence I have on the SrcCode leak to Valves legal department.” McVicker acknowledges the chat logs which he dates from October of 2016 between himself and an unverified source which was as he says, “likely done to make it seem like the two are related.” McVicker reiterates that he did not provide any of the code materials to the person who leaked them and that he never had access to the leaked code.

Backing up McVicker is Twitter user @JaycieErysdren who explains that the reason this leak happened was that a long-time associate was recently removed from Lever Softworks. The reason they were removed was due to “problematic behavior including racism, homophobia and transphobia.” They also state that the leaker was a regular at “Valve Cut Content” which is a Discord that is “notoriously toxic”.

It’s said that this entire situation is retaliation from the leaker, known as Maxx according to Erysdren who spoke to Newsweek, due to being removed from Lever Softworks on April 21, 2020. The project Lever Softworks was working on was a recreation of Valve’s canceled F-Stop concept. It’s stated that the project is very unfinished and that none of it is official of from Valve. And because the leaker was only just removed from Lever Softworks, their username and work are “all over the build”.

Regarding the chat logs, they’re said to be unrelated to the leak, “In late 2016 Tyler was contacted by an unconfirmed source calling themself “Cephalon””. This conversation between McVicker and Cephalon was shared with “close friends, including the one who is responsible for this leak.” It seems that in 2018 the original leaker sent copies of the code to members of the modding community, including McVicker and others. According to Newsweek, Erysdren states that Maxx has “threatened to leak stuff before when he was previously in danger of being removed from the team.”

On April 22, McVicker took to Twitch to speak about the situation with viewers in a live AMA. “Unfortunately the person who, this is all being caused by, and is anonymous in this situation,” he says in one saved clip from the stream, “It always seemed like this person was going to snap, and do something like this.” In another clip, he claims, “This is all being done to make my life miserable,” but he states his life has always been miserable, basically saying that Maxx isn’t succeeding.

He also talks about the problematic behavior, saying one of the major developers on the team was transgender and that the behavior from Maxx “was used against the team member too many times” which led to this member leaving. Speaking to Eurogamer, McVicker said that Maxx’s behavior was “widely known” and that “the full picture had been made clear to Valve today.”

We’ll have to see if any action from Valve will take place, but hopefully, at some point, we should get a clearer picture of what’s happening surrounding all of this.

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Ben Bayliss

Based in the UK and adores venturing through FPS horrors and taking photos in pretty much anything with a functioning photo mode. Also likes car games.

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