Bad day for Rockstar. The studio behind the iconic GTA franchise was hacked on Sunday, September 18. On a colossal scale, this leak materialized by the provision of very many videos of development of GTA VIthe next installment in the studio’s star saga that isn’t expected to be released for a few years.
(Very early) game images
On a forum specializing in news about GTA, a user took the liberty of posting a simple link to a file of more than 3 GB containing dozens of development videos of the highly anticipated title. These files, which mainly present only elements of gameplay within a test environment, allow to see the two main protagonists of the highly anticipated title. If the authenticity of these images could be debated, Jason Schreier, an American journalist specializing in video games, confirmed that the videos had indeed been stolen from Rockstar.
To make matters worse, it even seems that the pirate has also managed to recover at least part of the game’s source code, as well as that of its predecessor, GTA V. Pieces of the latter were also posted on the web, before being quickly deleted, suggesting in passing that it is therefore indeed “authentic” data stolen from Rockstar.
A disastrous hack for Rockstar
The shock is colossal for the studio which sees there the secrets of one of these most awaited games distributed everywhere on the web. Whether some files have already disappeared, the videos were cloned and uploaded to the 4 corners of the web within hours. In a message posted a few hours after the videos were published, the author of the leak even explained that he was ready to “make a deal“with Rockstar and Take-Two (the studio’s parent company).
If the videos only show game mechanics and images from a fairly early development branch of GTA VI – the game is not supposed to be released for several years -, we can still recognize the fictional town of Vice Cuty where the action of the next game is supposed to take place, elements of gameplay largely borrowed from GTA V and even the characters of Lucia and Jason, a priori both playable. On Reddit, some threads are already overflowing with posts analyzing all the detail points visible in the videos.
Beyond the size of this leak, which represents perhaps one of the largest in the history of video games, this hack could well have disastrous consequences for Rockstar. Firstly because it risks considerably slowing down the development of the game, with development teams who will be scrutinized very closely. Second, because the data stolen from the company is very sensitive. Impossible for the firm to escape an extremely severe audit of its cybersecurity practices. If the source code of the game has indeed been copied, then the whole “recipe” of the game could end up in the wild. Something to delight the competition, which could largely be inspired by it.