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Recap: Capcom has quietly stripped controversial digital rights management (DRM) system Denuvo from one of its most popular titles. The PC version of Resident Evil Village debuted in May 2021 with Denuvo protection in place, and it was a disaster from the get go. The survival horror game was plagued with performance issues and it didn't take long for Internet sleuths to determine Denuvo was likely the root cause.
To prove their point, one cracking team removed the DRM from Village and found that suddenly, the game ran flawlessly without any stuttering issues. Subsequent testing from Rich Leadbetter with Digital Foundry came to the same conclusion – the cracked version without the anti-piracy DRM exhibited far superior performance.
Capcom in the summer of 2021 rolled out an update to optimize the anti-piracy tech used in Village, but didn't outline exactly what changes were made. Now, Denuvo has been removed from the game entirely. A change log entry on SteamDB notes the removal of third-party DRM Denuvo.
While it's great that Capcom finally came around to their senses, it is also disappointing that it took nearly two years to right a wrong. Previous titles that shipped with the anti-tamper tech including the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes, Devil May Cry 5, and Monster Hunter: World all had the DRM later removed.
In some instances, the timed removal of Denuvo is part of the overall launch strategy. The tech is often used to protect AAA games from piracy at launch but once the newness has worn off, companies will strip the DRM to appease the anti-Denuvo crowd and generate some positive PR.
The Denuvo fiasco did little to hurt Village sales. Capcom shipped more than three million units in the first four days after launch. By January 2023, sales of Village had hit 7.4 million units. The game picked up several accolades during awards season including game of the year honors from the Steam Awards. Maggie Robertson, who portrayed Lady Dimitrescu, also picked up a couple of awards including one for best performance courtesy of The Game Awards.