December 8, 2022

On Sunday, September 18th, a massive and unprecedented leak hit one of the most awaited games of the decade. Dozens of videos related to Grand Theft Auto 6 have started popping up on the GTAForums fan forum, giving the world a first – and very unintended – look at Rockstar’s next AAA game.

The leak has caused massive repercussions, leading to a discussion about leaks within the video game industry and how they affect every level of game development. While the story of GTA 6 leaks will continue, here’s everything you need to know about the saga so far.

We will update this story with new developments.

GTA 6 confirmed, but never appeared

Rockstar officially announced the next Grand Theft Auto game on February 4, 2022 in a press release. “[W]We are pleased to confirm that active development for the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series is in full swing,” Rockstar wrote earlier this year. “We look forward to sharing more once we are ready, so please follow Rockstar Newswire for official details.”

Prior to the announcement, Rockstar primarily discussed the continued success of Grand Theft Auto 5 and GTA Online, both of which were receiving next-generation updates. Despite its undoubted continued popularity, the continued promotion of the ten-year-old game has been poor for some fans, and the announcement of the next GTA game was long overdue.

However, with the announcement from a press release without additional materials, it appears that GTA 6 is still in an early stage of development. Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive has followed up and CEO Strauss Zelnick by saying that more GTA 6 will be on the “Rockstar schedule.”

This did not happen.

The beginning of the leaks: “Here are 90 trailers / clips from GTA 6”

GTAForums is one of the most popular online discussion boards to talk about all things Grand Theft Auto. On September 18, it became the unexpected home of the leaked originals of Grand Theft Auto 6. which is still in development, and the leaks quickly spread to other social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube.

Various clips, with unfinished assets, showed many elements of the game in development including parts of the world, fireworks, and NPC AI. The clips also apparently confirmed some rumors about GTA 6 that were already circulating on the internet, such as the presence of both male and female heroes.

The leak was from a user called “teapotuberhacker” who also claimed to be the same person who hacked the Uber app earlier this month.

They wrote “Here are 90 screenshots / clips from GTA 6”. The hacker also shared what appear to be different origins from GTA 6 and code from the game.

Start removals

Later the same day, the leaked videos on multiple platforms were removed at the request of Take-Two Interactive. As I mentioned VGCThe removal requests appear to come from individuals with Rockstar email addresses, all of which confirm that the leaks were legitimate.

The next day, both the GTAForums and GTA 6 subreddit removed the threads showing the leaked content. Messages on both sites indicated that they were complying with requests from Take-Two to remove any and all copyrighted material. The Original GTAForums Theme It was later brought back, albeit locked due to new comments, and all links to the stolen material removed.

Rockstar officially confirms the hack

In a surprising move, Rockstar confirmed the authenticity of the hack, which until then had been touted by some as a very sophisticated hoax.

“We recently experienced a network intrusion in which an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems, including early development footage for the next Grand Theft Auto.”

Rockstar also reassured fans that despite extensive leaks, the studio did not expect any disruption or “long-term impact on the development” of its ongoing projects. Work on the next Grand Theft Auto game “will continue as planned”.

The FBI is involved

Due to the broad nature of the hacks and also that the reported victims are not one but two major companies, the FBI has been involved in an investigation into the hacks.

Uber released a blog revealing that it was working with the FBI and the US Department of Justice to investigate recent data breaches, and stated that the hacker was suspected of hacking Rockstar as well. Uber has revealed that it believes the hacker or hackers are linked to a group known as $Lapsus that has carried out similar attacks on companies such as Nvidia, Microsoft and Samsung.

“We believe that this attacker (or attackers) belonged to a hacking group called $Lapsus, which has been increasingly active over the past year or so.” Uber cites similar techniques used by its hacking group on major tech companies as reasons for their suspicion.

“There are also reports over the weekend that this same actor hacked video game maker Rockstar Games,” Uber wrote. “We are in close coordination with the FBI and the US Department of Justice on this matter and will continue to support their efforts.”

GTA 6 Leaks Fallout

While we only have a few days of leaks left, the episode has sparked a lot of debate within the video game industry.

One such discussion is the harm caused by sharing such early gameplay footage, and how this might affect perception of the end product. While the next Grand Theft Auto game is still in an early stage of development, the common understanding of game development is still lacking and this could have negative consequences for the final version of the game.

“My thoughts are with the team at [Rockstar Games]Xbox Books Sarah Bond. “It can be frustrating to have a project you’ve worked so hard on to please fans that gets revealed and critiqued before it’s ready.”

Jason Schreyer from Bloomberg pointed The potential effects that a dropout might have on employees, and how it could “limit the flexibility of working from home”.

As far as the early shots are concerned, there has been a backsliding against any early judgment on a work still in progress.

“Anyone who judges the leaked footage of [GTA 6] Like an idiot who obviously didn’t work in game development,” the game developer wrote Cliff Plezinski. How many hours/people/dollars go into these games [equals] crazy.”

One of the ways in which game developers have started fighting and teaching what the version of a game in development looks like is by sharing screenshots of their games early in the development cycle. Developers from Insomniac, Remedy, and more have shared early snapshots of games like Control, Spider-Man, and more to show what early game development looks like, even for AAA projects.

The caveat here is that the leaked GTA 6 footage looks pretty good considering how early the game developed. And some developers are scaling up how early a game was presented like EA Motive which shared a very early look at the new Dead Space remake, while firmly emphasizing that everything they share is still early days.

But if more players gain deeper insight and context into game development, even for AAA games, there might be at least one benefit from this episode.

We won’t know the full implications of the leak on the development of Grand Theft Auto 6 or Rockstar Games for some time. While any potential consequences may not reveal themselves for years, this will remain one of the biggest leaks in video game history, and possibly the entertainment industry as a whole.

Matt TM Kim is the IGN News Editor. You can reach it Tweet embed.

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