Square Enix has the demo version of . deleted Trials of Mana from Steam after hackers found a solution that used the demo to access the full version of the game.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have to temporarily Trials of Mana Demo on Steam offline, we hope to have it available again soon,” Square Enix wrote on the game’s Steam Community. “Rest assured, all progress made by those who have downloaded and played the demo will be retained and carried over when it’s back online.”
The workaround, as described in message board posts on the Internet, required downloading a copy of the Steam files distributed with a legitimate copy of Trials of Mana† Those files usually wouldn’t work if loaded on a Steam account that didn’t purchase the game. But by copying a few files into the “Paks” folder, users were essentially able to trick Steam into loading the full game via the free demo version associated with their account (although some users reported problems loading the “extra” chapter at the end of the game when using this method).
This particular workaround closely resembles a method first discovered in 2016 when it was used to unlock that year’s version disaster† The method was notable at the time as the first case of crackers bypassing Denuvo’s DRM protection, which was largely considered “tear-resistant” at the time.
Since then, crackers have started cracking Denuvo-protected games, almost as a matter of routine, sometimes even before the games are fully released. But despite the now-defunct solution, Denuvo’s core protections are enabled Trials of Mana are still unbreakable, according to numerous trackers online. So with plugging in this Steam-related “demo hole” in protection, would-be pirates will now have to buy the full game if they want to play it.