In a week filled with fantastic live speedruns at Summer games over quickly 2022one hour reading Metal Gear Rising: Revenge still turns heads. Even more remarkable was the booster, unlocked through community donations: a frantic race through the game Wolf Blade Campaign DLC that ended up setting a whole new world record. Or at least he would have been, if he had been real. Instead, a few days later, the speedrunner behind him confessed to faking it using a pre-recorded video compiling his best times from previous races.
Speedrunning Culture is incredibly online, with players swapping strategies on forums, live streaming their training and world record attempts from around the world, and later uploading best times to recording sites like Speedrun.com. One of the things that makes events like SGDQ annual is that some of the most talented players behind all kinds of different games come together in person and showcase their art live to fans and casual viewers. In this context breaking records is rare, and all the more special because of it. Substituting pre-recorded footage for live attempts, on the other hand, is sacrilege. But that’s exactly what a speedrunner who goes by Mekarazium admits to doing last week.
“The Blade Wolf DLC the incentive race that people have paid for is a pre-recorded segmented race,” the speedrunner told a representative of the SGDQ on Discord during the weekend. “I didn’t mention it anywhere, neither during the submission process nor in the email I sent to the committee. It was supposed to be a real-time race, but I changed my mind at the last second after changing the saves.
Mekarazium, which was streaming remotely for the June 30 event, pointed out some of the differences between its NG+Hard playout, which was live, and the bonus series which edited several perfect parts of the DLC together. On the one hand, the Wolf Blade the campaign game had no sound from its keyboard and mouse. The control points were also not quite aligned, and as PCGamesN reportedsome viewers also noticed after the fact that the game’s camera was still moving at one point, even after Mekarazium removed his right hand from his mouse.
“I did a bad thing and I shouldn’t have done that at the event,” he told GDQ.
But why he did it remains much more difficult to understand. His SGDQ race ended with a rambling speech condemning the leaderboards for monopolizing the status and attention of speedrun communities too much. He also seemed to want to argue that more players should focus on exploring and crafting unique approaches to speedrunning rather than chasing new world records.
“I feel empty and deranged, deprived of a final epiphany and taken offstage,” Mekarazium said toward the end of his SGDQ appearance, quoting ’90s heavy metal band Nevermore’s “This Godless Endeavour.”
Following the stunt, GDQ removed Mekarazium’s run from its YouTube channel and said Kotaku he was banned from performing at the event in the future.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and attempts to undermine the integrity of the speedrunning community that we love and support,” a GDQ spokesperson wrote in an email. “It was not clear from the document what exact outcome they wanted, but it is clear that they thought we would not be willing to talk about their behavior. However, we believe it is in the interest of the community to know why this race was removed by GDQ.
In his initial post to GDQ, and in a follow-up reply to Kotaku, Mekarazium said he made the decision to switch to pre-recorded segmented racing in part because his NG+ speedrun from the base game went so well and he wanted to top it off with an even more impressive show. . “The next race was to be of even higher quality, which would become a grand finale,” he said on Discord.
To unlock the Wolf Blade DLC run, SGDQ viewers had to collectively donate $25,000 to Doctors Without Borders during the base game’s speedrun, and they did, with hundreds of contributions. What they got in return was impressive in theory – the run came in at 6:55.7, a whopping 25 seconds below the previous world record put on by Mekarazium – but it wasn’t the live performance they had paid for, unbeknownst to anyone in the audience at the time. They clapped. Mekarazium feigned surprise by saying “Holy shit” when his time was announced.
“Truth be told, it was a nasty thing to do,” Mekarazium now says of deceiving people who donated. But he doesn’t seem to feel the same way about the rest of the stunt, instead saying its deeper meaning is something of a “puzzle to solve.”
“It’s a taunt,” said Mekarazium Kotaku. “[A] taunting every single person watching speedrun events who didn’t ask themselves questions. “one of the top rated races which was well received by everyone.
“People will focus on ‘omg he cheated’, not the amount of preparations made to make sure [the] the race will go well and the segmented race will go unnoticed.
Mekarazium’s explanation only got more enigmatic from there. “If you want to see certain things change, there is always [a] price to pay,” he said. “I pay with my reputation as a marathoner, a speedrunner, a commentator and a very passionate person to make others think about the things that one is ready to do in the name of said passion. For others to change their minds about speedrunning as a whole. He declined to give further details.
The speedrunner admitted that he was also sleep deprived at the time of his performance, due to schedule delays. Whatever his true motives, he seemed to know that his antics would eventually come to light and get him banned during last week’s credits. “We won’t see each other again I think, some people just want to watch this world burn,” Mekarazium said at the end of his SGDQ appearance. “Good night, there will be more nights without God.”