Grand Theft Auto 6 Leaks: Everything That's Happened So Far - IGN (2024)

On Sunday, September 18, a massive and unprecedented leak hit one of the most anticipated games of the decade. Dozens of video files related to Grand Theft Auto 6 began appearing on fan forum GTAForums, giving the world a first — extremely unintended — look at Rockstar’s next AAA game.

The leak has caused a massive fallout, kickstarting a discussion about leaks within the video game industry and how they affect every level of game development. While the story of the GTA 6 leaks will continue, here’s everything you need to know about the saga so far.

We'll update this story with new developments.

Every IGN Grand Theft Auto Review

GTA 6 Confirmed, But Never Shown

Rockstar officially announced the next Grand Theft Auto game on February 4, 2022, in a press release. “[W]e are pleased to confirm that active development for the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series is well underway,” Rockstar wrote earlier this year. “We look forward to sharing more as soon as we are ready, so please stay tuned to the Rockstar Newswire for official details.”

Before the announcement, Rockstar mainly discussed the ongoing success of Grand Theft Auto 5 and GTA Online, both of which were receiving next-gen updates. While undoubtedly still popular, continuing to hype a decade-old game was wearing thin for some fans and the announcement of the next GTA game felt long overdue.

However, with the announcement coming from a press release with no additional materials, it seemed that GTA 6 was still early in development. Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive and its CEO Strauss Zelnick followed up by saying more of GTA 6 would be shared on “Rockstar’s schedule.”

This did not happen.

The Leaks Begin: ‘Here are 90 Footage/clips From GTA 6’

GTAForums is one of the most popular online discussion boards to talk about all things Grand Theft Auto. On September 18, it became an unexpected home to leaked assets from the still-in-development Grand Theft Auto 6. The leaks quickly spread to other social media sites like Twitter and YouTube.

Various clips, with unfinished assets, showed off several elements of the game in development including parts of the world, gunplay, and NPC AI. The clips also seemingly confirmed some rumors about GTA 6 that were already spreading online, such as the existence of male and female protagonists.

The leak was from a user named “teapotuberhacker” who also claimed to be the same person who hacked the ride-hailing app Uber earlier this month.

“Here are 90 footage/clips from GTA 6,” they wrote. The hacker also shared what looks to be various GTA 6 assets, and code from the game.

The Takedowns Begin

Later that same day, leaked videos on multiple platforms were removed at the request of Take-Two Interactive. As reported by VGC, takedown requests appeared to come from individuals with Rockstar email addresses, all but confirming that the leaks were legitimate.

The next day, both GTAForums and the GTA 6 subreddit removed threads featuring the leaked content. Messages on both sites explained that they were complying with requests from Take-Two to remove any and all copyrighted material. The original GTAForums thread was later reinstated, albeit locked for new comments, and with all links to stolen material removed.

Rockstar Officially Confirms the Hack

In a surprising move, Rockstar confirmed the veracity of the hack, which until then was still being touted by some as a very elaborate hoax.

“We recently suffered a network intrusion in which an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems, including early development footage for the next Grand Theft Auto.”

A Message from Rockstar Games pic.twitter.com/T4Wztu8RW8

— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) September 19, 2022

Rockstar also reassured fans that despite the extensive leaks the studio did not anticipate any disruption or “long-term effect on the development” of its ongoing projects. Work on the next Grand Theft Auto game would also “continue as planned.”

The FBI Are Involved

Given the extensive nature of the hacks and also that the reported victims aren’t one but two major companies, the FBI has gotten involved in an investigation over the hacks.

Uber released a blog that revealed it was working with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the recent data breaches, and mentioned that their hacker was suspected to be involved in the Rockstar hack too. Uber revealed that it believes the hacker or hackers to be associated with a group known as Lapsus$ which has carried out similar attacks on companies like Nvidia, Microsoft, and Samsung.

“We believe this attacker (or attackers) are affiliated with a hacking group called Lapsus$, which has been increasingly active over the last year or so.” Uber cites similar techniques used by the hacking group on major tech companies as reasons for their suspicion.

“There are also reports over the weekend that this same actor breached video game maker Rockstar Games,” Uber writes. “We are in close coordination with the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice on this matter and will continue to support their efforts.”

The Fallout of the GTA 6 Leaks

While we’re only a few days removed from the leaks, the episode has generated much discussion within the video game industry.

One such discussion is the harm of sharing such early footage of a game, and how that might affect the perception of the final product. While the next Grand Theft Auto game is still early in development, popular understanding of game development is still lacking and this could have negative consequences on the game’s final version.

“My thoughts are with the team at [Rockstar Games],” wrote Xbox’s Sarah Bond. “It can be disheartening to have a project you’ve worked hard on to delight fans revealed and critiqued before it’s ready.”

To my fellow devs out there affected by the latest leak, know that while it feels overwhelming right now, it’ll pass. One day we’ll be playing your game, appreciating your craft, and the leaks will be relegated to a footnote on a Wikipedia page. Keep pushing. Keep making art. ♥️

— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) September 18, 2022

Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier noted the possible effects the leak might have on employees, and how it might “limit work-from-home flexibility.”

As far as the early footage is concerned, there’s been pushback against any early judgment on a work still in progress.

“Anyone judging the leaked footage of [GTA 6] like an idiot clearly hasn’t worked in game development,” writes game developer Cliff Bleszinski. “The amount of hours/people/dollars that goes into these games [equals] insane.”

One way game developers have begun to combat and educate what an in-development version of a game looks like is to share footage from their games early in the development cycle. Developers from Insomniac, Remedy, and more shared early footage of games like Control, Spider-Man, and more to illustrate what early game development looks like, even for AAA projects.

Since graphics are the first thing finished in a video game, and CONTROL won multiple awards for excellence in graphics, here is footage from the beginning of development :)

Full video here: https://t.co/l2g7oPhtk7
🔻 pic.twitter.com/cGnmJZXF5E

— Paul Ehreth 🔻 (@bacon_sanwich) September 20, 2022

The caveat here is that the leaked GTA 6 footage looks pretty good considering how early game the game is in development. And some developers are broadening the scope of how early a game can be shown such as EA Motive which has been sharing very early looks at the upcoming Dead Space remake, while heavily emphasizing that everything they’re sharing is still quite early.

But if more gamers gain deeper insight and context into game development, even for AAA games, then perhaps there’s at least one benefit from this episode.

We won’t know the full effects of the leak on the development of Grand Theft Auto 6 or Rockstar Games for some time. While any possible consequences might not reveal themselves for years, this will still go down as one of the biggest leaks in video game history, and possibly the entertainment industry as a whole.

Matt T.M. Kim is IGN's News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.

Grand Theft Auto 6 Leaks: Everything That's Happened So Far - IGN (2024)

FAQs

What did the GTA 6 leak reveal? ›

GTA 6 leaks suggest a vast world by Rockstar Games, featuring a fictional Vice City in Florida with over 100 locations to explore. Anticipation is high despite the lack of an official release date.

What happened to the kid who leaked GTA 6? ›

A British judge has sentenced the 18-year-old hacker who leaked footage of the unreleased video game Grand Theft Auto VI to indefinite detention in a secure hospital, according to a BBC report.

Is GTA 6 map leak real? ›

Although the map is yet to be confirmed or fully shown by Rockstar, the facts are adding up and with the game expected to be its biggest so far, we can expect it to blow the previous Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption entries out of the crocodile-filled water.

Where is the GTA 6 Leaker now? ›

He will remain at a secure hospital for life unless doctors deem him no longer a danger. The court heard that Kurtaj had been violent while in custody with dozens of reports of injury or property damage.

What did the GTA hacker leak? ›

The leaked footage comprised around 90 video clips showing robberies, car chases and gun battles – typical scenes of the action and adventure game series. The videos were posted to an online message board, GTAForums, but were later removed by the forum on the request of Rockstar Games.

Will GTA 6 be the last GTA? ›

GTA isn't going anywhere. “We're going to see people in retirement homes playing 'GTA 7' and beyond,” De Schutter says.

Who is the 18-year-old autistic hacker? ›

Kurtaj, who is 18 and has severe autism, was deemed unfit to stand trial by psychiatrists. In August, a jury found that he had committed the hacks. Due to his condition, jurors were only asked to find whether he had committed them rather than was guilty of them.

Who killed Devin in GTA 5? ›

Devin Weston - Killed by Michael, Trevor, and Franklin for attempting to have Michael and his family killed, as well as betraying Trevor, Franklin, and Lamar by cheating them out of a payday for the car thefts.

Are there no kids in GTA 5? ›

Pedestrians roam GTA 5's Los Santos' streets, but all of them are adults, making for a jarring distinction between Grand Theft Auto 5 and the real world. Rockstar's reasons for not including kids seem self-evident, but fans have come up with a few in-universe explanations for why there are no kids in GTA 5.

Will the GTA 6 map evolve? ›

In terms of future expansions, the GTA 6 map may evolve through time through downloadable content (DLC). Rumors suggest that DLC could introduce changes to the campaign map, such as the addition of new areas or updates to existing ones to align with thematic content.

Who leaked GTA 6 footage? ›

Kurtaj was out on bail for hacking Nvidia and BT / EE, a British telecom company, when he leaked 90 GTA 6 gameplay footage in September.

Will GTA 6 have a map? ›

The GTA 6 map will therefore likely feature Vice Dale County (and Vice City within it) in the south east, the Everglades containing Kelly County in the south west, and scattered small towns and the prison in north western Leonard County. Together they form Leonida, Rockstar's fictional take on Florida.

Why is the GTA 6 hacker in the hospital? ›

An 18-year-old hacker who stole and leaked several video clips of the highly anticipated “Grand Theft Auto VI” game will be sent to a secure hospital in the U.K. for life until he's no longer deemed a danger to the public, a sentencing that comes a few months after the hacker was found guilty of hacking multiple tech ...

Who is the hacker in GTA 6 jail for life? ›

The 18-year-old Lapsus$ hacker who played a critical role in leaking Grand Theft Auto VI footage has been sentenced to life inside a hospital prison, according to a report from the BBC. A British judge ruled on Thursday that Arion Kurtaj is a high risk to the public because he still wants to commit cybercrimes.

Who is Aaron Garbut? ›

Aaron Garbut is an artist and lead world builder of Rockstar's impressive, immersive games that make entire worlds part of the story. For the last 22 years, he's worked at Rockstar North on the Grand Theft Auto series, Max Payne, and Red Dead.

How did Rockstar Games respond to the GTA 6 leaks? ›

After unreleased footage of Grand Theft Auto VI was leaked, Rockstar Games confirmed that their network was hacked. Rockstar Games is reckoning with a leak from their unreleased Grand Theft Auto VI.

How did the GTA leak happen? ›

Highlights. A teenage hacker named Arion Kurtaj used an Amazon Fire Stick to breach Rockstar Games and leak over 90 early development videos of GTA 6 online. Kurtaj was caught in a hotel room in England and used the hotel room's Amazon Fire Stick to gain online access and carry out the attack.

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