Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

So the Grand Theft Auto 6 leak is authentic. A hacker apparently infiltrated Rockstar Games’ internal network and downloaded data on the next Grand Theft Auto game, presumably Grand Theft Auto 6. And, predictably, a large number of gamers are outraged.

My personal reaction is a resounding “meh,” because many of the reasons for any outrage are horrifying. After a few caveats, allow me to explain.

First and foremost: I’m not a huge fan right now

Red Dead Redemption 2
I understand that Red Dead Redemption 2 was fantastic. I just didn’t care for it. (Photo courtesy of Rockstar Games)

Let’s get this one out of the way first. After a while, I didn’t care for Grand Theft Auto V, and Red Dead Redemption 2 piqued my interest. Neither game is bad; I recognise the incredible craft and skill of their developers, as well as the amount of work that went into both. They’re long, detailed experiences that captivate a large number of players. They simply did not appeal to me.

Caution 2: The Hacker Is an Indefensible Criminal

Even if you believe the leak is fantastic, the hacker is not a hero. The majority of these leaks occur in fairly grey areas, such as information being accidentally left out in the open or being trickled out by someone within the company. That is not the case in this case. Any moral concerns about the hacker actively breaking into a network and stealing information are thrown out the window when they’re allegedly ransoming the information for money. This isn’t about divulging game information. This is a profit-driven data thief.

Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games has been the victim of more leaks than any other publisher. (Photo courtesy of Rockstar Games)

Meanwhile, if this is the entire build that was leaked, it is far more serious than the unauthorised release of a few gameplay clips or screenshots. Putting the incomplete game out while it’s still in development is piracy, especially since the leaker is rumoured to be ransoming the data. Because the hacker is actively doing it for pay, it lacks even the communal moral defence of 0-day warez releases (remember those?).

Now that those two points are established, consider why the leak as it currently exists is irrelevant.

Rockstar is, of course, working on GTA 6.

rockstar games
It’s pointless to be coy about it. Just pretend it’s GTA 6. (Photo courtesy of Rockstar Games)

The existence of the game is not a surprise. Rockstar is, of course, working on it. Grand Theft Auto V was released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 nine years ago, and it made over $1 billion in a matter of weeks, even before the profits from ports for later systems and Grand Theft Auto Online. Only four years prior, Grand Theft Auto IV was released. The only reason you might think Rockstar wasn’t working on a new GTA is because you’ve never heard of the series.

Furthermore, Rockstar essentially announced the game’s existence in February.

Any spoilers are simple to avoid.

GTA 6 will have crime and guns, just like GTA 5. Nothing else has been revealed thus far. (Photo courtesy of Rockstar Games)

I understand the concern about spoilers. I try to avoid them for anything I’m interested in because I believe that seeing the plot unfold as intended is the best way to experience a narrative. People who intentionally ruin things are jerks, and it’s understandable not to want to know anything about GTA 6.

However, there is no significant risk associated with this leak (unless the hacker actively spreads the game’s story; see Caveat 2). The release has mostly consisted of videos of an early build, none of which will stand out on social media. Apart from the game’s existence, the headlines, tweets, and even the post itself reveal nothing significant about it. You can simply scroll past if you don’t want to see any more. If that changes, it’ll be a different story, but for the time being, you don’t have to worry about being spoiled.

Do You Mind Rockstar’s Marketing Schedule?

Nier game
To be fair, the announcement that Yoko Taro was working on a new Nier game caused quite a stir among a select group of gamers. (Image courtesy of Square-Enix)

Being outraged that GTA 6 was revealed before Rockstar planned to announce it is pointless because those plans do not benefit you. The purpose of game announcements and marketing calendars is for the publisher to maintain control over the news and get the most bang for their buck in terms of share prices and/or media attention.

Although it’s wonderful to get excited about significant news (like Sony’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Nier: Automata announcements at E3 2015), it’s also clear that Rockstar has been working on GTA 6 for a long, so it’s understandable to get irritated if leaks ruin unexpected revelations at large events. What else might it be achieving? It is hollow to be vague about the “next GTA experience.”

You are Deficient in Other Game News

Gta 6 game
One of the games at the Game Devs of Color Expo that drew our attention was Dot’s Home. Rise-Home Stories Project, credit

You could spend the time you spend being upset and transfixed on the GTA 6 leak looking for more intriguing gaming news (or playing games, but one thing at a time).

Are you aware that PSVR 2 cannot run PSVR games? or that HD remasters of Suikoden I and II are forthcoming? Are Yakuza/Like A Dragon 8 and Tekken 8 forthcoming video games? The Maze of Galious (or whatever that formerly Japan-exclusive game is) will be remade by the La Mulana director, right?

There’s also the independent gaming scene, which is always deserving of more attention, especially given how difficult it is to distinguish the signal of incredible independent games from the noise of Steam shovelware (Vampire Survivors has only gotten better, by the way). We’ll have a recap of the Game Devs of Color Expo(Opens in a new window) soon.

There was a GTA 6 leak. If source code or complete builds are made available, the situation will be significantly different, but up until that point, there isn’t much of a reason to worry.

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