Hey, how was your 2022? Most likely higher than Rockstar’s. The studio grew to become the topic of one of many largest leaks in videogame historical past in September, setting the web ablaze and giving us all our first, unauthorised glimpse of Grand Theft Auto 6. Then once more, the corporate additionally continued to tug in a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from GTA On-line alone, in order that most likely cushioned the blow a bit.

It was a wild trip. After Rockstar spoke GTA 6 into existence in a February weblog publish confirming “that energetic improvement for the subsequent entry within the Grand Theft Auto collection is effectively underway,” the studio returned to its attribute silence concerning its future tasks. That’s, till a brisk day in mid-September noticed a load of movies and screenshots of the subsequent game splayed throughout GTAForums as if the GTA 6 information truck had overturned on the freeway. 

Since then, it is solely gotten weirder and larger. We’re speaking about worldwide black-hat hacking networks, a prison investigation by UK police and the FBI, and the eventual arrest of an alleged teen hacker.

Wait, what occurred?

First, let’s lay down the groundwork of what truly happened and what we discovered from it. On September 19, a consumer by the title of teapotuberhacker dumped a treasure trove of GTA 6 supplies on the GTAForums fansite. Totalling 90 movies—some lasting seconds, some occurring for minutes—the leak appeared irrefutably legit to anybody who received a take a look at it, and any lingering doubts have been put to relaxation when Rockstar got here out and confirmed it had suffered a “community intrusion”.

An image of Lester from GTA 5, surrounded by computer hardware.

(Picture credit score: Rockstar)

Teapotuberhacker additionally claimed to be the offender behind the September 15 hack of Uber, through which an attacker gained administrative entry to Uber’s whole community. Uber stated it suspected it had been attacked by somebody affiliated with the hacking group Lapsus$, a global hacking group that had beforehand focused the likes of Nvidia and Microsoft. Lapsus$ had already been within the information as soon as earlier than in 2022, when a 16 year-old within the UK was accused of being one in every of its leaders.

Thus far, so Zero Cool. However slightly than a cinematic, Holmes-and-Moriarty-style struggle of intellects between cops and crooks, the story arrived at an anticlimax just a few days later. The FBI received concerned and, in an investigation carried out alongside the Metropolis of London police, a 17 year-old in Oxfordshire within the UK was arrested mere days after the leak happened. He denied one cost of pc misuse however pleaded responsible to violating a previous set of bail situations. It is all been fairly quiet since then.

And that is… just about where we’re on the finish of the 12 months: A teen in a youth detention centre, myriad movies of a game that will not see the sunshine of day for years floating across the web, and the gnawing risk that somebody, someplace on the market, might need entry to GTA 5 and 6 source code, which has most likely generated no finish of sleepless nights for Rockstar technicians.

Dumping a wealth of contextless early construct footage out on the web is complicated and dispiriting, not instructional, and it’ll solely make Rockstar guard its secrets and techniques extra jealously.

What did we be taught? That GTA 6 will look lots like GTA 5 (which appeared lots like GTA 4, which… you get the thought). It will most likely be set in Vice Metropolis. There can be crimes, cops can be dispatched to cease the crimes, the motion will happen from a third-person perspective, and within the background of all of it, NPCs will say zany and outrageous issues a lot as they have been doing in GTA video games for the final 20 or so years.

Most likely the one new factor we did be taught is that GTA 6 will possible function at the very least two protagonists, one in every of whom—a Latina girl known as Lucia—can be the singleplayer video games’ first playable feminine protagonist since GTA 2 on the Game Boy Color. 

That is fairly neat, however I am unsure it is go-to-prison neat.

No one wins (hello, I am no person)

When you’re attempting to work out who comes out forward in all this, which I’m for some purpose, it is tempting to level to the followers. In any case, the folks most enthusiastic about GTA 6 received a quick, tantalising take a look at the game effectively upfront. What’s to not like?

Properly, the truth that it is an early and ramshackle mess, largely. No matter GTA 6 finally ends up being, it would solely vaguely resemble the unusual movies—awash in placeholder textual content and recycled property—that we noticed in September. I am all for tearing up the absurd obfuscation that surrounds game improvement: by all means, let followers see what it is wish to make a game from day one, however not like this. Dumping a wealth of contextless early construct footage out on the web is complicated and dispiriting, not instructional, and it’ll solely make Rockstar guard its secrets and techniques extra jealously.

An image of Franklin and his dog Chop, from GTA 5.

(Picture credit score: Rockstar)

Nor did the hacker(s) win. If the true offender is not the teenager picked up by UK police, then it is most likely solely a matter of time earlier than they’re caught, and portray a goal in your again for worldwide legislation enforcement with the intention to divulge to the world that GTA is gonna have a girl in it doesn’t, to me, really feel like a very wonderful act of martyrdom.

However there’s the sensation I am unable to shake. you realize who received lots out of this? Me. And videogame information writers all over the place, to be actual. We received gaming historical past in movement: a quickly creating and complicated story to essentially sink our tooth into. It grew to become, for every week or two, very simple certainly to decide on what story to concentrate on once I got here into work: The one with its personal Wikipedia web page.

That is the horrible reality, I am afraid. Followers did not profit, hackers did not profit, and Rockstar actually did not profit. However me? I may fling a dart and hit one thing price writing about. I despatched emails, pored over PDFs, and stuffed sufficient Google Docs to represent a novella. All through all of this nonsense, I am fairly certain that is the closest anybody got here to getting something optimistic out of it. So thanks, hackers, I condemn you within the strongest potential phrases.