In what’s being described as the biggest game leak of all time, stolen pre-alpha footage of Grand Theft Auto VI totalling 50 minutes was posted online over the weekend. Will this prompt game developers and publishers to finally improve their security measures?
Considering Grand Theft Auto VI realistically won’t be in stores for at least another three years, waking up on Sunday (September 18) to see the title trending online was a surprise. For Rockstar Games, it certainly was not part of the plan.
Scrabbling around on Twitter to see exactly what was going on, it quickly became apparent that content from an early build of the game had been leaked.
Over 90 separate videos totalling 50 minutes appeared on GTA forums, and seemingly in the blink of an eye spread throughout all social media platforms. I’d like to say that I didn’t indulge, but I’d be lying.
The leak originated from a user called ‘teapotuberhacker,’ who attempted to barter with the publisher for the return of further unreleased data, including the supposed source code for Grand Theft Auto V, the second biggest selling game of all time and most profitable piece of media ever made.
While some were initially dubious as to whether the videos were legitimate, their authenticity was confirmed when Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive appeared in several copyright strikes across YouTube.
A Message from Rockstar Games pic.twitter.com/T4Wztu8RW8
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) September 19, 2022
Details of the leak
A day after the footage emerged, Rockstar released a statement on Twitter clarifying that an intruder had illegally downloaded assets from the development of Grand Theft Auto VI.
The unknown perpetrator, who also claimed to be behind the recent hack into Uber’s ridesharing app, said they grifted Rockstar’s material from a company Slack channel. If you listen carefully, the platform’s message notification can actually be heard sporadically throughout many of the clips.
In terms of what the footage actually entrails, it’s predominantly pre-alpha footage where specific mechanics or animations are being tested – during which visual development tools keep appearing, including character pathing.
One video shows a figure shooting out the passenger window of a car, another contains a female protagonist walking and running, and a more detailed scene features a semi-rendered mission where a couple hold up a diner and make a getaway.
The voice acting and characters are fluidly animated, but many of the NPCs resemble monochrome dummies. The environment is also relatively sparse and unpopulated, suggesting the build is at a very early stage.
An ongoing joke from gamers on Twitter is that Grand Theft Auto VI in its current state would probably qualify as a AAA Ubisoft shooter. I’m keeping out of it.
With the game being prematurely revealed to the masses at such a tentative stage, you have to wonder just how damaging this leak could be. After such a high profile incident, will companies now begin to take stricter precautionary measures during development?
The Wanted Level of the guy who leaked GTA 6. pic.twitter.com/whxhuHLOpc
— Okami Games (@Okami13_) September 18, 2022