The GTA 6 Leak Should Not Be Applauded

Last week, history was made. Grand Theft Auto 6’s leak was one of the biggest in history with an hour of footage released into the wild and the claim that the hacker acquired the source code. A feat like this hasn’t occurred since Half-Life 2’s source code was stolen in 2003, allowing players to play the game a year early. The Half-Life 2 and GTA 6 leak are unprecedented in that actual development footage was released. A carefully constructed trailer wasn’t leaked early, instead, we saw raw, unedited gameplay.

Considering the long stretch of silence about GTA 6, and Rockstar’s history of crunch and mistreatment, some see this as a victory for gamers. A damaging blow against a corrupt developer and the deserved repercussions for staying silent for one of the most anticipated games in the world. I understand, the excitement of revolutionary justice, however, the leak, and leaks in general, are unfortunate for gamers and developers alike. It should not be applauded.

“The unfinished gameplay looks unfinished,” the internet people scream into the void. Yes, people are complaining about the visuals of Grand Theft Auto 6 after seeing a leak of unpolished, unfinished gameplay. I don’t understand why people air on the side of negativity, instead of looking at a situation logically and making a sound judgment. One argument is that GTA 6 should be further along than it is since the game has been in development since 2013. People are experts in game development all of a sudden, and they know everything about Rockstar’s development history. Who’s to say development was in full swing in 2013? Maybe, there were just some ideas thrown on a whiteboard. Also, development could have hit a snag, and the team had to start over on a massive portion of the game. We just don’t know.

One of the few good things that came from the leak was the response from other developers. They started posting early footage of their games to prove, shocker, those games don’t look good in the development stage. These posts quoted “graphics are the first thing finished in a video game” as a rebuttal to the claim made as a critique of GTA 6, basically saying that Rockstar already finished the graphics and what we see in the leaks will be the final product. We saw early builds from Control, Horizon Zero Dawn, and other prominent titles. All of the footage looked horrible, arguably worse than GTA 6.

You may be saying these false conclusions are the fault of loud voices on the internet, not the leak itself. That’s right, but false news spreads across the internet like wildfire. Soon, uninformed fans or casual gamers may catch wind that GTA 6 is bad, and we get a landslide of false information, ultimately hurting the game’s perception and a majority of attitudes about the game. The damage will also go the other way. We may see something in the leak that’s exciting, increasing our hype, even more, only to be disappointed when that feature is cut from the final product. The danger of seeing footage before you are supposed to is that features get cut all the time during the development process. There is no insurance that what you see will be in the final build. Instead of enjoying the game for what it is, gamers will put on their investigative cap and criticize it for missing features, features they shouldn’t have known about in the first place.


We also have to consider the personal feelings of the developers at Rockstar. They have spent long workdays for years on end to make, not only, a product for us but a game they are passionate about themselves. The traditional marketing structure is designed so the game can put its best foot forward when it’s ready to be shown. The developers should be proud of their work and excited to show the fruit of their labor. They were robbed of that, instead revealing a product in a less than desirable state. Consider spending months working on a painting, excited to show everyone your work in its most prestigious state, only to have that painting stolen and revealed while it was still in the sketching phase. What was going to be a beautiful painting of a lush sunset is now known publicly as of haphazard splodge of scribbles.

When The Last of Us Part 1’s trailer was leaked before the official announcement, Neil Druckmann, the game’s creative director, was visibly disheartened when he went on stage to reveal the trailer with an air of sadness in his tone. A big moment was undermined by an obtrusive leak. That was only a trailer. I couldn’t imagine the frustrating and melancholy atmosphere of RockStar when the leaks surfaced. It must have been demoralizing, to say the least.

The idea that Rockstar deserved the leak due to its unhealthy work culture and its silence about GTA 6 is ridiculous. Anyone that harasses their subordinates or coworkers needs to be fired and go to prison. Bottom line. However, how will a leak fix the problem? It may even cause more problems as stress skyrockets and developers crunch to put out fires. It doesn’t fix the problem, it causes more.

As for the argument that the leak is what RockStar gets for being silent, well, it’s controversial, but Rockstar can reveal what they want when they want. They are the ones making the game and they know when the game is ready to be shown. We are so entitled and impatient, ready to snap when a developer doesn’t cater to our every whim. Maybe, just maybe, we can trust that RockStar will reveal gameplay when they’re ready not when we’re ready, gameplay that represents the final game. What a concept.

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