Rockstar Games’s Grand Theft Auto franchise is one of the most successful video games in the industry. The last Grand Theft Auto title came out in 2013, selling millions of copies and crashing online game stores. Earlier this year, Rockstar Games shared the news that their highly-anticipated sequel Grand Theft Auto 6 was in development after years of speculation. But unfortunately, the company suffered a major breach as a result of the announcement.
On September 18, 2022, Rockstar Games systems were hacked, which included leaks of over 90 videos and screenshots online along with source code from the game itself. The leak revealed contents of GTA 6’s gameplay footage containing weapons, characters and environments.
Take-Two Interactive (Rockstar Games’s parent company) issued copyright claims to remove the footage from various websites, but this was not in time as footage of the leak circulated too quickly.
One detail from the footage includes a female protagonist – the first ever for the franchise.
On September 19, 2022, Rockstar Games issued a statement via Twitter confirming the attack. “We recently suffered 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…We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way. Our work on the next Grand Theft Auto game will continue as planned and we remain as committed as ever to delivering an experience to you, our players, that truely exceeds your expectations” Rockstar Games wrote.
In 2003, another commercially successful game, Half-Life 2, also experienced this invasion. After a controversial delay, the unfinished version of the game was leaked online, enabling players to actually play it on their own using the source code, leading to even slower development.
In 2020, after similar repeated delays, the critically acclaimed game The Last of Us 2 dealt with massive story details and gameplay leaks.
Now the question becomes, does anyone really get to benefit from this?
Corporations lose out on using the element of surprise marketing, the developers and publishers who’ve put in years of work have more doubt and video game companies will become less open and refrain from announcing what is in development. Yet, perhaps all this will create even more traffic for these games.
As the gaming industry booms, more games are susceptible to leaks. Players create assumptions about a game without its final context that is needed to fully appreciate it, and of course, knowing too much too early is not always a good thing. Some fans also get unintentionally roped into seeing these spoilers, in turn, ruining their own surprise and player experiences.
There are forums dedicated to spoilers and leaks. This is inevitable, but at least it is contained within these forums.
Products are prepared and packaged in a certain way to appease fans. Grand Theft Auto 6 has no release date yet. Overall, this is all bad for Rockstar Games. What gets leaked is harshly unfinished, rough looking content that is clearly not ready. It is bad publicity and only adds delays for everybody involved, fans most of all.
Bolu Adeniran is a senior Cinematic Arts major working as a staff reporter for Arts&Culture. Contact Bolu at firstname.lastname@example.org.