A hacker has accessed the source code and posted footage of upcoming video game Grand Theft Auto VI in what’s been pegged as the ‘biggest leak’ in video game history.
It hasn’t escaped people’s notice that this is ironic given the fact Grand Theft Auto is all about robbery and illegal activities. Dr Davide Orazi from the Department of Marketing at Monash University in Melbourne said: “On a personal note, I find it poetic that a game that is based on robbery and violence gets hacked.”
Many have speculated on who the hacker is and a person from the popular hacking forum – Breached – who goes by the username pompompurin, has alleged the hacker could be a 16-year-old male based in the UK. Pompompurin alleges the hacker has ties with the hacker group Lapsus$ which claimed responsibility for both the recent Uber hack and the latest hack on the graphics-card manufacturer, Nvidia.
The hacker has been reported as saying the footage was obtained by breaking into Rockstar Game’s Slack channel – the communication platform used for internal collaboration. The 90 videos were posted there, he apparently said, and were easily downloaded.
The hacker published the authentic, pre-release footage from development of Grand Theft Auto VI, the most anticipated video game in many years. The cache of videos offers an extensive and unauthorised look at the making of one of biggest games in the industry.
A leak of this scale is so rare that some people cast doubt on its authenticity when it emerged over the weekend, but people familiar with the game’s development have confirmed the videos are real. The footage provides an early and unpolished view of plans for Grand Theft Auto VI.
The last Grand Theft Auto came out in 2013 and became the most valuable entertainment property, built on the sustained popularity of its companion online game. The upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI has been in development in some form since 2014. It will feature a female protagonist for the first time in the series and will be primarily set in a fictional version of Miami.
Dr Orazi from Monash University added: “From a marketing perspective, leaks are problematic for video game developers for many reasons. This leak threatens the technology and aesthetic elements of GTA VI. If the hacker has access to the source code (technology), it can be exploited after release. If the leak shows unfinished animation tests and renders (aesthetics), it threatens the brand image of the game, which has enjoyed a rich history since its first title release in 1997.”
“The fact that the underlying code of the game could be shared and exploited, and exposure of unfinished materials, such animation tests etc., undermines future marketing efforts. It increases perceived risk, and damages the brand image of GTA,” he said.
Teaching Fellow, Josh Olsen, Department of Human Centred Computing at Monash University in Melbourne said of the leak: “The news of the GTA VI leak is disappointing and I feel for the developers working on the project over at Rockstar Games. Developers put a lot of themselves into these projects which can take years to develop, and there is a lot of excitement and build-up that goes into announcements and teasers for games.
“In addition to leaking of actual code and gameplay footage, the hacker in this case has taken that experience away from the developers and that is not something that can be returned or fixed up,” Josh added.
“While Rockstar Games has said this will not delay the game’s release, I do have concerns that this may end up being unavoidable depending on what code and how much was taken by the hackers.
“Leaked code has the potential to cause future exploits within the game as it provides a more indepth look at game code than is normally available. Depending on how much code and what parts of the code base were leaked it might be unavoidable that sections may need to be re-developed,” he said.
“From the information that Rockstar Games has provided about the leak it would appear that their other services such as GTA Online are not affected though so it should not be an immediate cause for concern based on the available information.”
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