“GTA”, or “Grand theft auto” as it stands for, is a video and computer game series developed by Rockstar.
The first “GTA” game came in 1997 and has been followed by “2” (1999), “III” (2001), “Vice city” (2002), “San Andreas” (2004), “IV” (2008) and “V” (2013). For the latter game, the online variant “GTA Online” has also been released.
Despite “GTA V” turning nine years old on September 17, it remains a blockbuster, with five million copies sold in a single quarter this year. In total, around 170 million copies of the game have been sold.
In the series, the player takes control of one or more petty gangsters who must rise in the criminal world by carrying out various missions in the underworld.
The games have often been criticized for being extremely violent and sexist, as well as accused of inspiring young people to commit crimes and acts of violence.
+ What is it about?
Over the weekend, a user on the site GTA Forums posted videos and images that he claimed were from the next game in the “GTA” game series. At first, many were skeptical that it was authentic material, but soon most were convinced that it was probably a real leak anyway. Late on Monday confirmed developer Rockstar Games that it is “early development material from the next ‘Grand theft auto'”.
+ What kind of material was leaked?
It is about an hour of moving image, divided into 90 clips. A few are a bit longer, for example one where a woman is seen robbing a waffle restaurant with police sirens sounding outside. Most of it is more rudimentary and shows, for example, animations of figures walking. Even part of the game’s so-called source code has been released.
+ What does the material show?
The leak appears to confirm information that had already been leaked – that the game is set in a fictional version of Miami, called “Vice City” and that, for the first time in the game series, there is a woman in one of the main roles. A lot of the material doesn’t look like much to the world, which can be explained by the fact that it’s early in development and a game gets its final look and polish late in the process.
+ How was the material leaked?
The person who leaked the material on the GTA Forums claims to have accessed it through a Rockstar employee’s account on the Slack chat program. Rockstar describes it as the company suffering “a network breach where an unauthorized third party illegally gained access and downloaded confidential information from our systems”. The hacker has previously entered the taxi giant Uber’s system in a similar way.
+ Why is the leak getting so much attention?
The leak has been described as one of the biggest in the gaming world since the source code of “Half-life 2” was stolen and released in 2003. It also concerns the sequel to the world’s highest-grossing entertainment product “GTA V”, which was released in 2013. Since then, fans have been thirsting for news about the sequel (the only thing known officially is that it is in development) and financially billions of dollars are at stake.
+ How have Rockstar and publisher Take-Two acted?
Take-Two Interactive, the game’s publisher, has requested that videos on YouTube be removed, and also that links to the leaked material on GTA Forums and Reddit be removed. For a long time it was silent from the official side, but on Monday night Rockstar confirmed and apologized for the leak in a Twitter post. According to Uber, the work is coordinated with the US Department of Justice and the FBI.
+ How has the gaming world reacted?
Industry colleagues regret and show sympathy. Game developer Josh Sawyer at Obsidian (“The outer worlds”) writes on Twitter that leaks suck, and that it’s incredibly demoralizing and disruptive for employees. “Cyberpunk 2077″‘s Pawel Sasko writes that years of work are misunderstood and taken out of context, calling it a destructive cycle. Xbox Vice President Sarah Bond writes that “It can be disappointing when a project you’ve worked hard on to please fans is exposed and criticized before it’s finished”. Shila Vikström, executive producer of “Metal: Hellsinger” urges people not to spread the material. “Making games is hard. Be kind to developers. Choose kindness and respect.”
+ What are the consequences of the leak?
It is somewhat unclear. Gaming journalist and author Jason Schreier writes that it will disrupt development, and that it may limit the ability to work from home for Rockstar employees. Others say that some affected parts may be scrapped or forced to be redone.
“We currently do not anticipate any disruptions to our live services or any long-term effects on the development of our ongoing projects,” Rockstar writes, elaborating:
“Our work on the next ‘Grand theft auto’ game will continue as planned”.