March 24, 2023

On Sunday, September 18, an unprecedented massive leak hit one of the most anticipated games of the decade. Dozens of video files related to Grand Theft Auto 6 started appearing on the fan forum GTAForums, giving the world its first look at Rockstar’s next AAA game.

The leaks have had a huge impact, sparking discussions about leaks within the video game industry and how they affect every level of game development. While the GTA 6 leak story continues, 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 in a press release on February 4, 2022. “[W]We’re excited to confirm that active development on the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto franchise is underway,” Rockstar wrote earlier this year. “We look forward to sharing more information as soon as it’s ready, so stay tuned to the Rockstar Newswire for more Official details. “

Ahead of the announcement, Rockstar primarily discussed the continued success of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online, both of which are receiving next-gen updates. While undoubtedly still popular, continuing to hype the decade-old game has become lackluster for some fans, and the announcement of the next GTA game feels long overdue.

However, as the announcement comes from a press release with no additional material, GTA 6 appears to be still in the early stages of development. Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive and its CEO Strauss Zelnick later said that more GTA 6 will be shared in “Rockstar’s schedule.”

This didn’t happen.

Leak Begins: “Here’s 90 Shots/Clips From GTA 6”

GTAForums is one of the most popular online discussion boards for discussing all things Grand Theft Auto. On September 18, it unexpectedly became the site of leaked assets in the still-in-development Grand Theft Auto 6. The leak quickly spread to other social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube.

Various clips with unfinished assets showcase several elements of the game in development, including parts of the world, gunplay, and NPC AI. The clips also seem to confirm some rumors about GTA 6 that have been circulating online, such as the existence of male and female protagonists.

The leak came from a user named “teapotuberhacker” who also claimed to be the same person who hacked ride-hailing app Uber earlier this month.

“Here are 90 shots/cuts from GTA 6,” they wrote. The hackers also shared what appeared to be various GTA 6 assets and game code.

The ban begins

Later that day, the leaked video on multiple platforms was removed at the request of Take-Two Interactive.According to reports VGCthe removal request appears to have come from an individual with a Rockstar email address, all but confirming that the leak is legitimate.

The next day, both GTAForums and the GTA 6 subreddit took down the topic of the leaked content. Messages on both sites explain that they are complying with Take-Two’s request to remove any and all copyrighted material.This GTAForums Original post It was later reinstated, albeit locked for new comments, and all links to the stolen material removed.

Rockstar officially confirms hacking

Rockstar surprisingly confirmed the authenticity of the hack, which was still touted by some as a very elaborate scam.

“We recently suffered a cyber intrusion, where unauthorized third parties illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems, including early development footage of the next generation of Grand Theft Auto.”

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

The FBI is involved

Given the breadth of the hack and the fact that the reported victims were not one but two large companies, the FBI has been involved in the investigation of the hack.

Uber posted a blog revealing that it was working with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the recent data breach, noting that their hackers were also suspected of being involved in the Rockstar hack. Uber revealed that it believes the hackers are linked to a group called Lapsus$, which has carried out similar attacks on companies including Nvidia, Microsoft and Samsung.

“We believe this attacker (or attackers) is affiliated with a hacking group called Lapsus$, which has become increasingly active over the past year or so.” Similar technology used by companies as a reason for their suspicion.

“There were also reports over the weekend that the same actor violated video game maker Rockstar Games,” Uber wrote. “We are coordinating closely with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice on this matter and will continue to support their efforts.”

The aftermath of the GTA 6 leak

While we’re only days away from the leak, the episode sparked a lot of discussion in the video game industry.

One such discussion was sharing the dangers of early gameplay footage, and how this might affect perceptions of the final product. While the next Grand Theft Auto game is still in the early stages of development, there is still a lack of general understanding of game development, which could negatively impact the final version of the game.

“My thoughts are with the team [Rockstar Games],” wrote Xbox’s Sarah Bond. “It can be frustrating to have a project that you work so hard on making fans happy by being revealed and criticized before it’s ready.”

Bloomberg’s Jason Shreier famous The impact the leak could have on employees and how it could “limit flexibility to work from home”.

As far as the early footage goes, any early judgment on the work still in progress has been objected to.

“Anyone judging leaked footage [GTA 6] Clearly not working in game development like an idiot,” the game developer wrote Cliff Blasinski. “The time/person/dollar invested in these games [equals] crazy. “

One way game developers have started to confront and educate the development version of their games is to share footage of their games early in the development cycle. Developers from Insomniac, Remedy, and more shared early footage from games like Control, Spider-Man, and more, to illustrate what early game development looked like, even for AAA projects.

It’s important to note here that the leaked GTA 6 footage looks pretty good considering how early in the game’s development. Some developers are expanding the scope of what games can be shown early, with EA Motive, for example, sharing the upcoming Dead Space remake early on, while emphasizing that everything they’re sharing is still early.

But if more gamers have a deeper understanding and background in game development, even AAA games, then maybe this episode has at least one benefit.

We won’t know the full impact of the leak on the development of Grand Theft Auto 6 or Rockstar Games for some time. While any possible consequences may not be apparent for years, this would still be one of the biggest leaks in video game history, and possibly the entertainment industry as a whole.

Matt TM Kim is IGN’s news can contact him @lawoftd.

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