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Rockstar Games confirmed today that it has been hacked by an outside source, which over the weekend revealed footage of Grand Theft Auto VI in development. Someone uploaded dozens of videos online showing off the in-progress title, revealing previously reported details as well as completely new stuff.
Allegedly the hacker who pulled off this theft did so by accessing the company’s Slack. They also claim they have the GTA VI source code and will upload it. Rockstar has since responded, saying it suffered “a network intrusion” and that it is “extremely disappointed.”
This is far from the first time a major leak has exposed and potentially derailed a major game launch. The games industry has seen several incidents in which hackers steal and/or expose details about an upcoming game.
Half-Life 2 hack
One of the most infamous instances of this happening the Half-Life 2 leak in 2003. A German hacker leaked an early version of the game more than a year before it officially launched. The hacker, Axel Gembe, claimed he did it out of frustration at a lack of new information. He also inadvertently (again, so he claims) leaked the source code, giving it to someone who uploaded it to the internet. He told Eurogamer, “There was, of course, an element of bragging going on. But the person I shared the source with assured me he would keep it to himself. He didn’t.”
You can still find footage of the unfinished version of Half-Life 2 online. While it resembles the final product, it’s clearly still in development. Valve’s Gabe Newell pleaded for the Half-Life community’s help following the leak, and Gembe eventually confessed to the crime. Half-Life 2, when it eventually released in November 2004, would go on to sell at least 12 million copies worldwide. If nothing else, we can take from that leak the lesson that such a setback doesn’t have to color the game’s life.
Nintendo data leak
Another victim of a major leak — probably the biggest in recent memory until the GTA VI hack — was Nintendo. More specifically, it was the victim of multiple leaks in 2020, which included the source code of several of its games and consoles. The leak spanned multiple generations of consoles and games, including the Wii, Gamecube, several Pokémon games and Mario titles. The amount of information dropped in the “Gigaleak” was almost unheard of.
This particular leak was not as damaging to the company in question as others on this list, if only because the games and consoles in question had long since been released. It does give an unvarnished look at some classic games before they launched, including unused content. However, while monetary damage might have been minimal, its still information and images that weren’t intended to be seen by Nintendo’s audience.
EA, Capcom and CD Projekt RED
Incidents such as this appear to be more common — or at least, more public — these days. EA reported that it’d been hacked in 2020, with the thieves taking the source code for the Frostbite engine, FIFA 21 and other tools. The hackers attempted to extort EA for the information, and leaked it online after EA refused.
EA is just one of many companies that reported such skullduggery in 2020. Capcom and CD Projekt RED were both targeted the same year. Those who took Capcom’s information revealed several in-development games that have since been officially revealed, including Street Fighter 6 and Dragon’s Dogma 2. CD Projekt RED’s hack included employee information as well as details about Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3. The hackers claimed to have sold some of that information after failing to extort CDPR over it.