Leaked! : Is the GTA6 the Greatest Leak in Video Game History?


Angelina Perez, Editorial Board

Minor spoilers for GTA6

On September 18th, a user by the name of “teapotuberhacker” posted 90 videos of leaked footage on the most popular fan forum, GTAForums, from the upcoming and heavily anticipated game Grand Theft Auto 6. At first glance, users thought it was illegitimate and had their doubts but the hacker responded by providing screenshots of code blocks. The videos spread like wildfire, being posted to Youtube, Twitter and Reddit in a matter of minutes.

Video game leaks are not as uncommon as you may think. Last of Us II had important gameplay footage uploaded months before it’s release. Although harmless at first, the most shocking leak was the reveal of Joel’s (a LOU protagonist) deadly fate. Along with LOU2, Pokémon has had their games leaked for what seems like every year they plan to release one. Leaking is a stressful thing for developers and causes anxiety for fans. Some leaks have stopped game production altogether.

GTA6 has been in development for about seven years, leaving fans on the edge of their seats waiting for any amount of information they could get their hands on. To fans’ dismay, Rockstar Games has been tight-lipped about GTA6’s development for years. The leaks, containing about an hour of footage, showcased a new playable female character (Lucia), the return of Vice City locations, and revamped mechanics for weapons. Some gamers had claimed that the game had looked graphically bad, but many developers were quick to respond, showing their support for GTA6. They had stated how different games look before the initial release. Most developers focus on the game mechanics before designers can go in and make it visually appealing. Cian Maher, a game journalist, took to Twitter and showcased an early build Horizon: Zero Dawn before it’s initial release. The graphics were low poly with very few lighting or textures. Other companies like Insomniac Games, who made the critically acclaimed Marvel’s Spider Man, released their own early screenshots from their game.

Although great for the fans to see the progress of the game, it has been a total nightmare for Rockstar Games. They were left in shambles from this massive leak and has been quoted to be the worst game leak in history. They responded hours later on Twitter stating, “We recently suffered a network intrusion in which an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems… we are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way.” Rockstar Games’ response confirmed the legitimacy of the breach and confirmed our suspicions. The biggest problem about this leak is not that the game has been revealed but that the source code for GTA online has been divulged and stolen. A source code is the building block of the game engine. It’s the raw version of a game. Having a source code out to the general public, could let people see how the game works in a sense. Meaning, people could copy it for their own personal benefit. Upon further investigation, the FBI has been contacted and are now apart of the high-profile investigation of who is behind this disaster. The NCA (National Crime Agency) and the UK police, just a few days later, apprehended and arrested a seventeen year old. He is charged with multiple counts of computer misuse and breaches. This could result in up to ten years in federal prison if found guilty. He remains in custody under suspicion of the breach and in connection to the investigation. The hacker was apart of group called Lapsus$ who is responsible for the recent cyber attack on Uber forcing them to close their internal tools. Not only did they hack Uber and Rockstar Games, but they are also blamed for breaches on Okta, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Samsung earlier this year.

What can we take from this? Hacking is not the way to go. Maybe you’ll rise in fame in the hacking world, but ten years in federal prison is not worth it. If you have an ounce of respect for game developers, don’t reveal games when they are working so hard to make them.