Disaster strikes for Rockstar Games after devastating ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ hack
(Photo courtesy of Polygon) “Grand Theft Auto V” is Rockstar’s 2013 blockbuster and the second best-selling video game of all time.
The gaming industry was stunned on Sunday when a hacker named Teapotuberhacker accessed the private files of game developer Rockstar Games and released over an hour of confidential footage from test builds of the unannounced upcoming “Grand Theft Auto VI.”.“
For many years now, players have speculated whether a sequel to “Grand Theft Auto V”, 2013’s smash hit and the second best-selling game of all time, is in development at Rockstar. While Rockstar did indeed confirm that work on a new entry in their critically acclaimed franchise was in production earlier this year, nothing had been heard about the sequel beyond that, leaving fans in the dark as to how far progress is on the long-awaited title.
On Sunday, September 18, the first concrete answers to this question were given – although not from Rockstar itself. When the hacker using the alias Teapotuberhacker infiltrated a Rockstar Games Slack channel, they were able to capture messages containing over 90 videos of test footage from the game’s development. The files were from various stages of development, with dates indicating that some footage was from as long ago as 2017, while other clips were from as recently as 2021. While the internet was wary of the legitimacy of this footage, Rockstar Games confirmed in a statement on September 19 that the recordings were legitimate.
“We are extremely disappointed to have any details about our next game shared with all of you in this way,” the statement read. “Our work on the next Grand Theft Auto game will continue as planned, and we remain equally committed to delivering an experience to you, the player, that truly exceeds your expectations.” While many were concerned that these leaks would be a hindrance to the development cycle, Rockstar also confirmed in this statement that no such delay would be necessary. “We’ll update everyone again soon, and of course we’ll properly introduce you to this next game when it’s ready,” they continued.
Although leaks of such a massive scale have never been seen before by the gaming industry, the hacker wasn’t ready to stop by simply releasing the footage. Claiming to have gained access to the source code for both “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Grand Theft Auto VI,” Teapotuberhacker said they wanted to negotiate a deal with Rockstar, hinting at their desire for a sum of money in exchange.
Since the big hack happened, a link was made by the FBI between Teapotuberhacker and a British based hacker group known as Laspus$. This group has been linked to a recent major hack involving transportation company Uber, as well as a history of breaches involving Cisco, Microsoft, Nvidia, Okta, and Samsung, all dating back to this year. On the evening of September 22, after some manhunting, British police arrested a 17-year-old man believed to be connected to these attacks.
While many people across the internet have declared that they are happy to know that the next big installment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise is coming, many have also reached out to support the developers at Rockstar Games, who have had their hard work put on display for the public before they felt it was ready for a reveal. Neil Druckmann, co-president of fellow game developer Naughty Dog, showed his support for Rockstar Games on Twitter. Naughty Dog also experienced a smaller but still unwanted hack in recent years, regarding footage from their game “The Last of Us: Part II”, which had not yet been released at the time. Many other prominent voices in the industry also expressed their support and gave good words of encouragement to Rockstar.
While this incident is certainly one that has affected morale at Rockstar Games, the developers certainly felt the support of the industry behind them, and gamers should take comfort in knowing that development on the next installment of this beloved franchise is on the way. How this situation will play out overall is anyone’s guess, but the ongoing investigation into the matter by the authorities, as well as the identification and arrest of those connected to the attacks will hopefully ensure that such things are prevented from happening again in the future.