November 28, 2022

After the massive leak of GTA 6 last weekend, several developers have come forward in solidarity with Rockstar against false claims that graphics are among the first aspects of the game ending during game development. How did they do that? By posting photos and screenshots of their early designs, basic and often hilariously corrected early originals.

The source of all this, the aforementioned GTA 6 leak, has been confirmed to be real. With video of an early version of the highly anticipated Open World Championships in the wild, anyone and everyone has been able to see the leak if they so desire. Some, including one account (now closed) posted “If you know how the game is being developed, you will know that the visuals are one of the first things to be done. The game takes 4 years to plan and develop. What you see is exactly what you get.”

Next, take a look at this Uncharted trailer and try to imagine what it looked like in blockmesh.

This is clearly a huge mistake. In response to this viral nonsense, several developers from a variety of independent and large developers took to the Internet and displayed unfinished images in early builds. Kurt Margenau – co-leader of Uncharted 4 – retweeted a previously posted clip of the ramp car chase with blockmesh environments. This same video transitions between three distinct stages of completion and comes along with the phrase “there are a million stages in between,” further emphasizing the amount of work that takes place before the visuals are finished.

Freelance journalist Cian Maher posted a screenshot of Horizon: Zero Dawn, specifically of Thunderjaw made up of blocks and nets fired from a Killzone assault rifle. Again, a great example of how much of an experience in a video game can be built and locked before applying the visuals we eventually see.

Far from Western headlines, user Farrens pulled a screenshot from an old GDC demo showing an early version of Splatoon in the “Tofu Prototype” stage. Do not loom bright colors, babies or squids. Just big clumps and gray spots of paint.

This whole moment of support has also prompted a variety of indie developers to flaunt early versions of their own projects. This includes the team behind Ara Red, who posted side-by-side from their current project and an unfinished and barely-colored build. The Rift of the Necrodancer Twitter account also posted a clip of a yoga scene, in which one of the developers put screenshots of themselves and their voice in a primitive version.

At the end of the day, it’s good to see an outpouring of support and some laughs coming from a disastrous period for the Rockstar staff. GTA 6 leaks are fertile ground for some hilarious opinions, and it’s great to see other developers posting their unfinished work to shed light on how game development really works.

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