Dozens of never-before-seen footage from GTA VI have been made public in what appears to be one of the biggest leaks in video game history. The consequences of this hack are yet to be seen, but many developers have already stood for Rockstar.

What happened?

  • On September 18, a GTAForums user nicknamed Teapotuberhacker posted a link to dozens of videos from what appears to be an early build of GTA VI.
  • The leak also contained around 10,000 lines of the project’s source code. Jason Schreier called it “one of the biggest leaks in video game history and a nightmare for Rockstar Games.”
  • The user then threatened to reveal more data, including assets, a test build for GTA VI, and the source code for GTA V.
  • It is hard to say when this footage was recorded, but some clips were taken between 2021 and early September 2022.
  • These videos show gameplay footage for both male and female protagonists, who are walking in the Vice City-like modern environment. This is in line with a Bloomberg report, which previously described the setting of the next GTA.
  • It is worth noting that the early-build footage is far from what players will see in the final game, as GTA VI is still in development and has no release date.
  • As one source told Axios, Rockstar, like many other game developers, put all the pieces of the game together only in the months leading to launch. And the next GTA is no exception.
  • Teapotuberhacker later updated the post, saying that they didn’t expect it to go viral. The leaker asked Rockstar or Take-Two to contact them, so they could “negotiate the deal.”
  • Neither Rockstar, nor Take-Two have commented on the matter. However, the publisher made YouTube delete most videos with the leaked footage.

Update: Rockstar publicly confirmed the GTA VI leak today, saying that it won’t have a long-term effect on the development.

  • The GTAForums administration eventually removed all links and other sensitive information related to the leak from the original post and made it public again.

How might this leak affect Rockstar?

  • Schreier named two ways this leak could affect the studio and the development of GTA VI. It will disrupt work for a while and may lead management to limit remote work flexibility.

  • As sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, Rockstar employees were “stunned by the leak,” with many now wondering how the studio’s management would respond to it.
  • It is also worth noting that gamers were not supposed to see this early footage at all. As a result, people have already started to analyze these clips and criticize Rockstar for how “bad” GTA VI looked despite it being a couple of years from launch.

  • On top of that, the leak of the source code could lead to delays. Grunkle Grok made a good explanation on Twitter, adding that gamers who say Rockstar somehow deserves it are just “cheering on the possible destruction of the game you profess to enjoy, because you think it’s funny.”

  • VGC editor Andy Robinson made some remarks about game leaks in general, saying that they will happen more often in the age of remote work and large teams. He also thinks that the games industry will eventually switch to a movie-style model.

How did other devs react to the GTA VI leak?

  • Cyberpunk 2077 quest director Paweł Sasko said that “years of work are now being shredded, torn apart, analized, misunderstood, taken out of context, and memed.”

  • “Game leaks suck,” Obsidian design director Josh Sawyer wrote, adding that things like this are “incredibly demoralizing and disruptive for the team.” He also pointed out how the studio is still trying to undo the damage done by the early Pentiment leak, and the GTA VI case is much bigger.

  • Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann also supported fellow devs at Rockstar, urging developers to keep pushing and making art. “One day we’ll be playing your game, appreciating your craft, and the leaks will be relegated to a footnote on a Wikipedia page,” he noted.

  • Other game developers who commented on the GTA VI leak included Cory Barlog (creative director at Santa Monica Studio), Tim Soret (founder of Odd Tales, a studio behind The Last Night), John Epler (creative director of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf), and more.