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Rockstar Games today confirmed that it was hacked by an outside source who revealed footage of Grand Theft Auto VI in development this weekend. Someone has uploaded dozens of videos online showing the ongoing title, revealing previously reported details and completely new stuff.
It is alleged that the hacker who committed this theft did so by accessing the company’s Slack. They also claim that they have the GTA VI source code and will upload it. Rockstar has since repliedand said it had suffered “a network intrusion” and was “extremely disappointed”.
This is far from the first time a major leak has exposed and potentially derailed a major game launch. The gaming industry has seen several incidents where hackers steal and/or reveal details about an upcoming game.
Half-Life 2 hack
One of the most infamous examples of this is the Half-Life 2 leak in 2003. A German hacker leaked an early version of the game over a year before it was officially launched. The hacker, Axel Gembe, claimed he did it out of frustration at a lack of new information. He also inadvertently (again, he claims) leaked the source code and gave it to someone who uploaded it to the internet. He told Eurogamer“There was, of course, an element of bragging. But the person I shared the source with assured me that he would keep it to himself. He didn’t.”
You can still find footage of the unfinished version of Half-Life 2 online. Although it looks similar to the final product, it is clearly still in development. Valve’s Gabe Newell begged the Half-Life community for help after the leak, and Gembe eventually confessed to the crime. Half-Life 2, when it was finally released in November 2004, would sell at least 12 million copies worldwide. If nothing else, we can learn from that leak that such a setback doesn’t have to color the game’s life.
Nintendo data breach
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, including the source code of several of its games and consoles. The leak covered multiple generations of consoles and games, including the Wii, Gamecube, several Pokémon games, and Mario titles. The amount of information fell into the “Gigaleak‘ was almost unheard of.
This particular leak wasn’t as damaging to the company in question as others on this list, if only because the games and consoles in question were released a long time ago. It gives an unvarnished view of some classic games before they launched, including unused content. While the monetary damage may have been minimal, it still involves information and images that were not intended to be seen by Nintendo’s public.
EA, Capcom and CD Project RED
Incidents like this seem to be more common these days — or at least more publicly available. EA reported that it was hacked in 2020, with the thieves stealing the source code for the Frostbite engine, FIFA 21, and other tools. The hackers tried to extort EA for the information and leaked it online after EA refused.
EA is just one of the many companies that reported such laxity in 2020. Capcom and CD Projekt RED were both targeted the same year. Those who took the information from Capcom revealed several games in development that have since been officially revealed, including Street Fighter 6 and Dragon’s Dogma 2. The CD Projekt RED hack contained employee information as well as details about Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3. The hackers claimed sold some of that information after failing to extort CDPR about it.
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