Update #1 09/19/22 12:20pm EST: Take Two, Rockstar's parent company, has issued an official statement to investors regarding the matter. Take Two saw a $510 million loss in stock value this morning.
Update #2 09/19/22 1:25pm EST: The hacker has been revealed to be allegedly located in the UK. They have ceased all posting and communications.
Update #3 09/19/22 3:30pm EST: Uber, along with Rockstar Games, are in contact with the FBI and DOJ regarding the recent hacks/leaks. A group known as "Lapsus" is allegedly behind the leaks and has targeted other companies such as Microsoft and Nvidia just earlier this year. In addition, Rockstar has assured fans that this leak will not hinder development for GTA6.
Update #4 09/19/22 8:50pm EST: Looks like Take Two is copyrighting any videos discussing the leaks.
Update #5 09/19/22 10:30pm EST: Take Two is mass flagging videos on YouTube that include GTA6 in the titles. Claims are being withdrawn after review.
Update #6 09/20/22 10:00am EST: Despite being debunked by the creator of the images, the fake RDR1 remaster images have been striked by Take Two.
Update #7 09/20/22 10:30am EST: Rockstar's statement addressing the hack has surpassed 1 million likes on Twitter and Instagram, making it the most liked gaming post on both platforms.
Disclaimer: This article will not be linking any of the leaked content and will focus on what happened, what new information we can learn about the upcoming game, and ongoing developments.
GTA fans witnessed an absolute wild ride this weekend when in the wee hours of Sunday September 18, a massive GTA6 leak made its way onto the internet. Coincidentally following the 9th anniversary of GTA5 - which as of today has sold approximately 150 million copies and is the second bestselling video game of all time (just behind Minecraft) - the internet saw 3GB containing over 90 clips of early development footage leaked by an anonymous hacker going by the pseudo-name "Tea Pot".
These clips contained snippets of basically every element you could think of in the highly anticipated sequel: strip clubs, car chases, gun fights, and interesting NPC interactions. We even have the names of our protagonists: Lucia and Jason. This tidbit alone is pretty insane as Rockstar has an infamous habit of having their voice actors keep their VA work under complete wraps until a game launches and that includes character names (ex. Red Dead Redemption 2). We also know for sure that the game will be taking place in modern day Vice City and have other nearby settlements to visit (looks like we can expect a much bigger map compared to GTA5).
A notable clip from the leaked footage includes our 2 protagonists, committing a robbery is a Pulp Fiction-esque diner and then running crowd control as the police arrive. It's very Bonnie and Clyde inspired. Another clip shows dynamic NPC reactions, leading many, including myself, to believe that the series is taking notes from RDR2.
For those unfamiliar, RDR2 NPCs had multiple reactions captured for the game all based on what you decided to do, and you could additionally select chat options. It created a very immersive and sometimes entertaining environment. To add more credence to this belief, another clip shows one of the protagonists carrying 2 weapons on their person, another feature that was included in both Red Dead Redemption games. In addition, we also have RPG elements, like fatigue and hunger. One of the funnier leaked animations was the overdose reactions, another thing available in RDR2 when your character ingests certain ingredients.
Along with these clips and images, Rockstar unfortunately had over 10,000 lines of code revealed by this hacker as well. This is perhaps the most devastating of the leak as such a reveal will now undo what was months, possibly years, of work for developers. Now granted, we don't even have a soft release window for it, but I imagine this will now impact whatever release window Rockstar had in mind.
The supposed hacker had created a Telegram account in wake of this, where he both advertised selling the code for upwards of $100,000 USD (Someone was unfortunately duped into this by a different scammer. RIP.) He also released statements asking Rockstar to contact him directly regarding the leak and that they can be taken down at a price. It is rumored that this hacker was the same that infiltrated Uber's systems just last week and the company saw a very deep breach of user data, employee information, and even financials. As of publishing this article, I haven't seen any confirmation they are the same person. As of 6pm EST, this Telegram counted was deleted.
Much like the aforementioned scammer, others were quick to hop on this train for a bit of clout. One user on Twitter was circulating images from the Red Dead Redemption 1 remaster. These were quickly confirmed as a hoax. Unfortunately, we did have credible images leak for the now canceled (or shelved?) Bully 2 remaster. This was a punch in the gut as now knowing this project was in development when it was canned is heartbreaking to myself and Bully fans alike.
Take Two, Rockstar's parent company, responded incredibly quick to these leaks. By 10am EST, forums and YouTubers alike were receiving DMCA strikes and legal notices. r/GTA6leaks, which popped up amidst all this on Reddit, was immediately suspended, citing "legal reasons". This should come as no surprise as not only was this a hack revealing essentially Rockstar's only project in development, but Take Two is also no stranger to issuing DMCA strikes for basically anything. Heck, they even went after one of the co-founders of the GTA franchise for showcasing prototype footage on his YouTube channel. Channels that just discussed the leaks or blurred out the images are getting notices too. I personally recommend that if you choose to look up the leaks, that you do not share it on any platforms as we know Take Two will do every thing they can to scrub this.
On the morning of Monday September 19, Rockstar issued the following statement on Twitter:
I believe it should reiterated that the footage leaked is not necessarily reflective of the absolute current state of the game. Despite the outpouring of sympathy online, an equal amount was quick to call the footage poor and looking like a GTA5 copy. When early development footage has leaked in the past, the early and final version have always differed. Rockstar's previous RDR2 leaks are proof of that. While not confirmed, many are claiming this leaked footage is from as far back as 2018.
It's exciting when leaks happen. I openly admit when it's for a game I anticipate, I'm eager to peek at them. But this was more than a leak. This was a disheveled outpouring of the hard work many developers had committed to over the last few years. Despite all the wrong calls Rockstar has made in the last year alone, we know those choices are not necessarily reflective of the will of the devs. For the sake of GTA6 fans, I hope we don't see any further pushback on the title.
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