Grand Theft Auto 6 is one of the most anticipated video games in recent memory! Rockstar Games’ GTA 6 is expected to earn over $1 billion and sell 25 million copies at launch, with its release date projected to be between the holiday of 2024 and early 2025, according to an industry analyst.
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GTA 6, in development at Rockstar Games, suffered a huge leak of in-development assets and content last year. But what have we learnt from the biggest leak in gaming history? And what do we now know about Grand Theft Auto 6?
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) has been a success among gamers since its debut back in 1997. Still, it became a true fan-favourite after the release of Grand Theft Auto 3 back in 2001, which introduced 3D elements to the game franchise for the first time and has only increased in popularity since then. The franchise now has 7 standalone games as well as four expansion packs, plenty of content for the biggest GTA fans to enjoy.
The game has an open-world concept and allows you to play as a criminal in whatever city the game is based in (the original being Liberty City). You can complete missions, steal cars and just cause all-around havoc as you play through the world. Its popularity is very telling of people’s enjoyment of causing chaos and mayhem.
Over the years, Rockstar Games have done all they can to improve and better develop their games so that they can give their players the best possible experience when causing havoc in a digital city. The improvements have not only led to the overall success of the company but also to the development of the next instalment in the franchise: Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA 6), rumoured to have the first playable female protagonist.
All was going well for the company until disaster struck in the form of a hacker, and the worst thing that could ever happen to a gaming company happened to Rockstar Games. Their internal servers were infiltrated, and years’ worth of development on the game was leaked onto the internet in what has been dubbed the biggest leak in gaming history.
The hacker who is responsible for the leaks goes by the name “teapotuberhacker” and stole 3GB worth of footage, photos and code on the incomplete game and didn’t hesitate to give the internet access to it. They have stated that they have access to even more stolen data and what is possibly Rockstar Games’ most valuable asset: the source code for Grand Theft Auto V.
This is every gaming company’s worst nightmare, and the people at Rockstar Games are reportedly (and understandably) devasted and demoralized by what has happened. Years’ worth of their work has been stolen and left available for anyone to critique before the game was even given a chance.
The gaming company has taken the time to respond to the GTA 6 leak and explain what it will mean for them moving forward. While fans watch everything unfold with curiosity, many developers and others in the gaming community have offered their support to Rockstar Games.
Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of the game, has also commented on how the leak affected them. When asked about how the leak might impact the business by IGN, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick shared that they aren’t too concerned about how the leaks for the new GTA might impact the business but rather focused on how it impacted the developers working on the game, including the emotional impact and disruption felt by the Rockstar employees and Take-Two employees alike. “We take leaks very seriously indeed and they disappoint all of us, it’s really frustrating and upsetting to the team. However, as a business matter we’re not affected. But as a personal matter and an emotional matter, our teams are affected.”
Although they are adamant that the leaks haven’t affected business, it seems that their earnings are falling short this year, and the company is planning many cost reductions, which might include layoffs. When asked about it, Zelnick shared, “We don’t expect some kind of broad based reduction in force or anything of the sort, but that said it’s not as through we guarantee lifetime employment sadly. So, there will be certain instances where jobs will be lost, but I think that will be pretty modest.”
Let’s take a look at how devasting the GTA 6 leak has been, shall we?
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Sympathy Offered to Rockstar
Having your work leak onto the internet before anything is completed is not an easy thing to handle, especially for a company like Rockstar Games, which likes to take their time with the games they create and put years’ worth of work into them so that when the games do eventually become available to the public, they are at the best possible point they could be.
On Monday, the gaming company officially confirmed that the GTA 6 leak came from an outside source, stating that while they are “extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you in this way”, they don’t intend to halt any work on the upcoming game, nor do they anticipate this leak having a “long-term effect on the development of our ongoing projects.”
Fortunately for fans, Rockstar Games will continue on as planned, and they plan to make sure that when Grand Theft Auto 6 does eventually come out, it will far exceed their expectations. They have been handling the intrusion really well, and support has been coming in from different corners of the gaming community, from the fans to lawyers to different developers. Everyone has their own little bit to say on the matter.
While a number of fans have been quite loud about the quality of the incomplete game and making memes about the whole situation (as is the way of the internet), most of them were actually impressed with what Rockstar Games had done so far, especially considering that they were looking at the work-in-progress version of GTA 6.
Unfortunately, fans can be quite harsh (and in some cases even violent) when they are given new information about their favourite games, which completely discourages developers from revealing anything about their work, as was made clear when Rami Ismail (an indie game developer) responded to the news of the leak with a tweet that reads as follows:
“The reason developers aren’t more transparent is because it tends to end up with a significant amount of death threats & harassment devs don’t have an obsession with secrecy, we just prefer our job without being told we suck at it & should be maimed because of some placeholder.”
He has suggested that negative reactions to GTA 6 might be combatted better if developers start releasing work-in-progress footage of their games after they have been launched successfully. It might give fans a bit of insight into what exactly goes into the games they love so much and why they take so long to create.
Support from Developers
While fans have been very loud about their opinions on the matter and have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms so that they could say their piece, many Developers have come out of the woodwork to offer their support, imploring fans not to look at any of the leaked GTA 6 footage and encouraging the disheartened folks at the gaming company to keep going.
Among those offering encouragement to Rockstar Games and their employees are Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann (the co-president of the company who has unfortunately experienced his games being leaked in the past), Cyberpunk 2077’s Pawel Sasko (the quest director), and Rami Ismail (an indie game developer).
A couple of others have taken a more… unconventional route and are offering support by insulting (some more politely than others) fans who are complaining about the quality of the incomplete game or saying that Rockstar Games deserves this GTA 6 leak.
A few people, including a lawyer for Bungie, Don McGowan, have even shown support for the lawyers who will be tasked with tracking down the hacker and bringing him to justice. McGowan (who has recently taken legal action against cheaters on Destiny) went on to comment about how the leaking of the source code will make it a lot easier for people to develop cheats for the game, stating that it was “exactly why international criminal syndicates are paying for this.”
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What We Did and Didn’t Learn From the GTA 6 Leak
For those interested in what exactly was leaked but not wanting to go on a deep delve, here’s everything you need to know about it.
GTA 6 Characters
As far as we know, there are going to be two playable characters in Grand Theft Auto 6, namely Jason, a possibly Caucasian male, and Lucia, the first playable female in the Grand Theft Auto series, who is rumoured to be Latina. While it’s difficult to try and figure out their ages, fans are guessing that both characters are younger and somewhere in their 20s.
Besides that, we really don’t know anything more about the characters. All we have seen is the characters moving through the world with a couple of fighting mechanics. We have no backstory to the characters, nor do we know what their motive is just yet. There may potentially be a Bonnie and Clyde-type romance between the two characters, based on the footage seen, that is reminiscent of scenes from Pulp Fiction.
If Grand Theft Auto V’s playable character list is anything to go by, Jason and Lucia might not even be the only playable characters in GTA 6.
GTA 6 Setting
It seems that players may be returning to a modern-day Vice City. In one of the leaked clips, we watch as Jason enters and then exits a train that has the words “Vice City Metro” painted on the side. The Grand Theft Auto games have reused locations in the past, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise to anyone that we’re revisiting the game series’ fictional version of Miami after 20 years.
There is nothing else in the leaked footage that shows us much of the city. At most, we’ve got a look at a couple of potential interior designs along with a couple of generic-looking buildings and city streets. We do briefly see a map, but it does nothing to tell us how far outside the city we’ll actually be able to go.
We are also given a look at a couple of rural-looking locations and what looks like a potential airboat.
Based on the sighting of smartphones in the leaked GTA 6 footage, players can assume that the era of the game is sitting somewhere around the late 2000s. That and the inclusion of a couple of in-game apps mentioned, like LifeInvader (GTA’s version of Facebook from the 5th game) and WhazUp (which seems to be GTA’s version of WhatsApp).
We haven’t seen what the interface of the smartphone looks like in-game, and there have been some rumours about an in-game cryptocurrency, but as it currently stands, there is nothing to confirm those rumours.
If we go based on Grand Theft Auto V’s gameplay, more specifically, players’ ability to buy houses and cars from their smartphones, we can probably speculate that the 6th game’s smartphone interactions will have similar mechanics, but with a couple of new additions and activities.
New Stealth Mechanics?
There is a short clip, in which we see a character lying in the prone position begin to crawl, pushing small objects out of their way as they move through the world. This could bring an entirely new stealth dynamic to the game, though it might be a little bit lost on players who like to run into a mission guns-a-blazing.
There is a chance that this feature could be changed or even completely excluded from GTA 6, there’s no real telling until the official release, but the potential for more stealth could bring a very interesting dynamic to both the characters and the game series.
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Game Mechanics and Other Details that Players Might Have Missed
With everyone so focused on the gameplay of the leaked GTA 6 clips, a lot of people missed a couple of smaller details that were revealed to us in the Rockstar Games leak.
While we aren’t certain that everything shown will be kept in the original version of the game, we can get excited about what each of these details will mean for the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto 6 and the future of the game series.
Info Leaked from GTA 6 Footage:
- The Malibu Club is making a return
- There is a new area being added to the map called Port Gellhorn
- Guns can now be picked up from the ground and switched between hands
- The gameplay that was shown was recorded on a PS4 and a PC
- The amount of stars for Wanted levels have gone down to 5 rather than the original 6
- Police will remember the car you are in
- Players will be able to carry people on their shoulders
A dead dive into the source code also informs us about the transportation options of jetpacks and horses, which could be very interesting mechanics to use in-game.
Listed World Events:
- Abandoned Hovercraft
- Bonnie and Clyde Mystery – this is a “Barn Find” and could be a potential hint at the relationship between the two protagonists.
- Lucia’s Friends
- Swole Couple Workout Challenge – I suppose couples that work out together, rob places and cause immense amounts of chaos together.
- Warehouse Torture
Listed GTA 6 Weapons:
- Ammo – Heavy, Shotgun, Spear
- Assault Rifle
- Baseball Bat – because it’s always fun to bash someone over the head when they least expect it.
- Compact SMG
- Fire Bottle
- Gold Putter
- Golf Iron
- Heavy Machine Gun
- Micro SMG
- Pool Cue
- Pump Action Shotgun
- Smoke Grenade
- Sniper – Regular, Hunter, Bolt Action
Other Included Items:
- Auto dialer
- Cut-off tool
- Golf ball
- Golf Wedge
- Immobilizer bypass
- Lock pick
- Loot bag – placed in the “duffel bag” slot
- Slim Jim
- Torch (flashlight)
- Tracker Jammer
- USB drive
- “Police cruiser”
- “Sanchez” dirt bike
- 1950s car
- 4-door Sedan (BMW, Honda)
- Aston Martin
- Boat trailer with boat
- Crown Vic
- El Camino
- F250 pickup with trailer
- Fan boat
- Ford bronco
- Ford Explorer
- Lifted pickup
- Range Rover
- Saturn 2door
- Station wagon
- Truck (Box, Delivery)
- Van (Cargo, Travel)
- Fishing boat – not currently drivable, so it can’t technically be counted as a vehicle.
- Gas station
- Gun store – assuming the location has an “indoors” in the completed version of the game.
- Living room
- Night clubs – would it really be GTA without them?
- Tram station
Potential Activities based on Seen Locations:
- Drinking – because what is GTA without the characters getting drunk at some point in the story?
Potential GTA 6 Gameplay Features:
It is expected to be mostly the same as Grand Theft Auto V, though there are potentially a few additions that will make the game its own unique thing in the series.
- You have “your car”
- There is a day-night cycle that can be seen through moving shadows.
- Car cockpits have a tilting steering wheel, moving visors, and adjustable seating, all of which will provide a more accurate first-person perspective.
- Enemies have a cone of view, so you will know where to stand in order to avoid them spotting you.
- When you are shot, blood will show up on the screen in the direction you were shot from.
- Mountain bikes – “MTB ramps” have been mentioned in the test levels.
- Tram travel – with the trams being enterable, it would make sense for players to be able to use them for travelling purposes.
- Working Security cameras – if stealth becomes a more focused dynamic of the game, this will add an aspect of difficulty to more new missions.
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The Unofficial Map
Rockstar knows better than to test their fans at this point, as GTA players will do almost anything to figure out information and Easter eggs in the game and the recent leak of info on GTA 6 is no different.
Fans have been piecing together a rudimentary map of GTA 6’s locations based on clues from the leaked footage. It seems no task is too big for Grand Theft Auto fans, as they have gotten extremely creative to pull this off. They have managed to create a bare-bones map using in-game coordinates that were displayed in the leaked footage, using them to figure out where each location sits in relation to the rest of them.
Because of the copyright restrictions and the rules of the GTA forum, they have had to get creative on how to display the map, with much of the current discussion revolving around how to most accurately map out the leaked content without including copyrighted images they can’t post in the community.
There are projects hosted outside of the forums that have had a lot more luck with a much more elaborate map in the works, including mini-map segments taken from the leaked footage to bring the segments of the leaked map to life. There was a map posted by the Church of GTA which has speculative roads and borders, including more concrete details from the leaks.
So it won’t be long until we can see what the new world of GTA 6 looks like, at least in the form of a basic map.
This whole project is very reminiscent of a fan-made map that was created for GTA 5 by the players on the GTA forum, pieced together using only the promotional footage and screenshots so that they could get an early view of Los Santos.
Intriguing whispers surrounding the GTA 6 storyline have emerged, aligning with various rumours presented in Tom Henderson’s video from July 2021. Henderson posits the theory that GTA 6 will unfold in a contemporary rendition of Vice City, as opposed to the previously speculated 1980s setting. The authenticity of this claim gains credibility from leaked footage showcasing Jason’s entrance into a Vice City Metro train.
WhatsApp-Inspired Messaging System
After the massive leak on the 18th of September, which shared over 90 developer clips, it looks like there is a new in-game messaging system in the upcoming GTA VI game that looks a lot like Whatsapp, which is currently one of the most popular messaging apps in the world.
In previous GTA games, there have been rudimentary communication systems, and players are able to access Rockstar’s own version of the internet, where they can manage their assets and buy property in the game. It looks like they have taken this one step further with the new entry and implemented an in-game social media app called “WhatUp!”
During a leaked GTA 6 video featuring some NPCs and a playable character in a strip club, characters can be seen messaging each other using WhatUp!, making new connections with each other and even what looked like a group chat. In the leaked gameplay footage, the notification appears in the bottom right of the player’s screen, and alerts seem to pop up at random to inform players when they’ve received messages.
It would be interesting to see if this is mostly for story purposes, like the texting system in Cyberpunk 2077, or if the game eventually makes it online like its predecessor did, if players will be able to use this to communicate with one another as well.
The fun parody of WhatsApp isn’t too much of a shock as Rockstar is famously known for having made a parody of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, having him offed in a very public and televised event in one of their games. The developers have proven many times that they like to poke fun at things that exist in real life and permeate the culture in their games, and it also just serves to make the experience of playing their games that much more real and immersive.
Although it might seem insignificant in the grander scheme of things with the amount of detail that was leaked with all those videos, it is a fun little detail to pick out, and nice to see that Rockstar is staying Rockstar. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that all these things could change as the game is still in active development. That said, the early development footage already looks great.
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What Does The GTA 6 Leak Mean for the Future of Rockstar Games?
Back in July, there were already reports that the remastering of both Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto IV was halted by Rockstar Games, who had planned to instead turn all their focus to Grand Theft Auto 6. This was done as a response to negative reactions fans gave Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition.
While Rockstar Games has assured fans that they will continue to work and develop GTA 6, despite the major disappointment of certain game features being introduced to them earlier than anticipated, there is still some worry among fans.
It has been pointed out by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier that this leak will probably have an incredibly negative impact on the gaming company for a number of reasons, the most notable being that “it’ll disrupt work for a while”, which will put them behind schedule and it “may lead management to limit work-from-home flexibility” which will majorly impact the lives of a lot of employees currently working at the gaming company.
An Ambitiously Expensive Game
After the leak of Grand Theft Auto 6, it was claimed that Rockstar Games had already invested $2 billion into the game since it had started production back in 2014. However, that seems to have been a mistake made by the hacker that was corrected by vx-underground on Twitter. They clarified that the $2 billion was actually the total allocated budget for the game.
That said, it’s still an insanely massive budget for the game and could mean that GTA 6 is going to be the most ambitious game in the series to date.
Let’s take a look at how this is probably being allocated.
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Where is All the Money Going?
In the years leading up to its release and now with the leak, fans’ expectation for the next GTA game has grown more and more. Rockstar Games plans to exceed every expectation, so the budget is not that out of this world.
According to famous gaming reporter Derek Strickland (who took to Twitter to share what he thought on the news), the developers at Rockstar Games will use the money in 4 major aspects of GTA 6. These four major aspects were listed by him as follows:
- The multi-year development of the base game – the story that will bring the characters to life and give gamers more incentive to play their game.
- Marketing, publishing, and distribution – they need to make sure that they do all they can to make sure their new game gets seen by as many people as possible. This is usually done through trailers, and I suppose now they could use the leak to their advantage.
- New content will be introduced through updates after the game has officially been released.
- GTA 6 Online mode.
Strickland went on to say that if Rockstar Games decides to try and bridge Grand Theft Auto 5 and Grand Theft Auto 6 through GTA Online, it was probably going to be the most expensive of the four. If that does turn out to be something the developers are trying to do, it’ll be very interesting to see how they get it to work.
It’s comforting to fans that Rockstar Games has such confidence in their upcoming game, despite the setback, that they’re willing to give it the budget they have.
When Can We Expect to See GTA 6 Officially?
Jason Schreier, the reporter from Bloomberg who updated players on what he believed would be the way Rockstar Games would be handling the map of the upcoming game, expects that GTA 6 will be released anywhere between April 2023 and March 2024.
According to Adrien Perea, however (an incredibly reliable source on game releases and postponement, who had accurately predicted that Forspoken and Hogwarts Legacy would be postponed ), we shouldn’t expect Grand Theft Auto 6 until at least 2025.
Of course, this is all speculation. Nothing has been confirmed by Rockstar Games or the developers yet, but there is an update expected from them concerning the next entry in the GTA franchise very soon. Perhaps we’ll get an official release date and official details from the studio or the game’s publisher Take-Two then.
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Hacker Update: Were They Caught?
It has been announced by the City of London Police that they had arrested a 17-year-old from Oxfordshire on Thursday evening (22 September). They have yet to confirm why but given the proximity the arrest had to the leaks of Grand Theft Auto 6, it is highly likely that the teen was responsible for the hack, as well as the recent Uber leaks.
Michael O’Sullivan, Detective Inspector from London City Police, has stated that the teen has been arrested for suspicion of hacking as part of the investigation currently being done by their National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU). We haven’t been given any specifics about the investigation, but we have heard that the London City Police and the FBI will be working together on this case. It has been reported that the FBI will make a statement about this case later today, so we should be getting further details on this case in the next couple of hours
Matthew Keys, a journalist from The Desk, was the one who originally reported that he suspected the arrested was done in relation to the hacks and took to Twitter to voice his suspicions, citing sources to back up his claims. He suspected that the 17-year-old is connected to a group that refers to themselves as “Lapsus$” and that organises themselves primarily through the use of Telegram channels.
What is “Lapsus$”?
“Lapsus$” is a group of hackers whose attack vector is done through social engineering tactics, one of which is known as “multi-factor authentication fatigue”.
They use the credentials of a high-ranking employee in their target organisation to collect data and information through various means. They are responsible for a number of high-profile digital intrusions at a couple of major corporations. These included Cisco, Nvidia, Microsoft, Okta, Samsung, and Uber.
The group first made its presence known back in 2021 by hacking Brazil’s Ministry of Health. This attack resulted in a postponement of plans to implement new health requirements for people travelling in Brazil.
It was believed that the group had gone inactive in April 2022 after there were several arrests made by the City of London Police, but this is clearly not the case with the group’s sudden re-emergence this September. Activities by the groups have been ramped up, and this time their targets were Rockstar Games and Uber.
What’s Going to Happen to the Arrested Teenager?
The teenager suspected to be involved with the hacks has been charged with two counts of computer misuse as well as two counts of breach of bail conditions. He is reported to appear in court on Saturday, 20 September 2022, at the Highbury Corner Youth Court.
Fans of Rockstar Games’ GTA 6 are curious to see what’ll happen with this investigation and whether the arrested suspect is really the one responsible for the leak.
It looks like the estimated release date of 2024 for GTA 6 is still holding strong, although with how the events of the leak have affected the developers, this might be extended. I mean, we don’t even have an official trailer yet, and all we know about the game’s world is what we have learned from the leak. We will have to wait and see what Rockstar’s plan for the next Grand Theft Auto game is, but until then, we hope that the leak doesn’t affect them further.
What are your thoughts on the Rockstar Games GTA 6 leak?