Grand Theft Auto and Diablo 3 Hack Consequences
ON SEPTEMBER 17, a member with the alias teapot tuber hacker took to a Grand Theft Auto site with what they said were 90 clips from Rockstar Games’ next game, Grand Theft Auto VI, which is expected to be a major blockbuster. They stated, “[It’s] possible that I will release more information soon, including the source code and assets for GTA 5 and 6, as well as a test build for GTA 6.”
The hack was indeed successful. The next day, Rockstar said it had “suffered a network intrusion” in which “an unauthorized third party unlawfully took private information from our system.” This material was obtained by downloading it illegally. It includes early footage from the future game, which resulted in parent company Take-Two rushing to get footage uploaded to platforms like YouTube and Twitter deleted as quickly as possible.
Basically trying to blackmail Rockstar with GTA 5 source code and even GTA 6 source code for the test build
Terrible, just terrible. If the source code were to leak for these it would be an unimaginable disaster and potentially further delay Grand Theft Auto 6 from release
— Benji-Sales (@BenjiSales) 18 September 2022
The breach involving Grand Theft Auto is among the most significant leaks to have occurred in the video game industry, if not the most significant leak overall. It’s amazing how much information the hacker was able to obtain, including movies and even the source code for Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto VI.
The source code is the building block that enables game creators to design their games individually. However, Rockstar Games is not the only company to have suffered a major security compromise. This week, a user on Reddit uploaded 43 minutes of gameplay footage of the upcoming Diablo IV from developer Blizzard.
Earlier this month, information about Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed game, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, was leaked online ahead of the company’s flashy announcement. Since then, a YouTuber has come forward to admit responsibility for the leak after he broke an embargo. Hackers have already attacked renowned game studios in the past, such as Naughty Dog, and posted previously unpublished material about The Last of Us Part II.
Take-stock Two’s fell immediately after the leak of Grand Theft Auto VI, and the firm assured investors that it had “taken efforts to isolate and contain this incident.” However, the full effect of this may not be seen for some time. Content leakage is a headache for developers. Video game developers WIRED spoke to found the event discouraging and even demotivating.
Alex Hutchinson, a veteran creative director whose work includes Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 4, has said that “you work for years on a project and suddenly a half-finished version of it appears online.” “And you get endless terrible remarks about it, which you can’t defend because you’re just giving oxygen to a terrible situation.” “And you get endless negative comments about it.” And the consequences that flow from it can be far more devastating.
Players have already voiced their disapproval of the leaked build of Grand Theft Auto VI as well as the overall aesthetics of the game, which is still in development. A significant part of this is due to a misunderstanding of how game development takes place and what games will look like after they are completed.
Take for example the game Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. An early build of a car chase showing Nathan Drake driving a Jeep down what appears to be a 3D graph, with the road neatly routed, was shared on Twitter by Naughty Dog developer Kurt Margenau.
The hunt takes place in front of buildings that look like they could be built from children’s building blocks. According to a tweet he released, “Its purpose is to mimic the gaming experience as accurately as possible.” Then repeat the process. The film ends with a look at the finished product, which is a shiny metropolis full of color.
The makers claim that leaks distort the public’s perspective on the game, leaving consumers with the impression that the version of the game they want to buy will be, well, rubbish. “If you saw a Marvel film that was filled with green screens and had no special effects, you would have a completely tarnished impression of the final quality, and if you never saw the final film, this would be your permanent impression,” says Hutchinson. “If you saw a Marvel movie that was filled with green screens and had no special effects, you’d have a completely flat impression of the final quality.”
The consequences go deeper than what is visible on the surface. It has the potential to build walls between developers and the communities they serve, as well as improve the level of security and secrecy surrounding projects. These ramifications have secondary effects, one of which is the erosion of faith in the department or departments suspected of being the source of the leak. It is possible that this could result in an excessive amount of crunch.
According to Jessica Gonzalez, a former developer at Activision Blizzard, leaks “often create delays” if companies divert resources to investigating and preventing further leaks. (According to a statement from Rockstar, the company currently does not expect “any long-term impact on the development of our existing projects.”)
The fact that the code “shows how we develop the game,” as Gonzalez puts it, means that if a hacker does get hold of GTA VI’s source code, Rockstar’s problems could become much more serious. Another game developer, this one with over 20 years of experience with AAA products, who spoke freely to WIRED on condition of anonymity, described the situation as “very difficult, but also very terrible.”
According to him, leaks do real damage in this situation. “The source code is fluid,” he explains, “so it’s a snapshot of a given place and time.” “So it’s not really set up to be crossed without a lot of time and effort,” he continues, “but it could still be hugely damaging to a team if they had proprietary or licensed code in there.”
In video games, developers are sometimes seen as being unduly secretive about their work, and there is often a request that developers reveal more of their process to promote development expertise and demystify the amount of work that goes into making a video game. Some programmers, such as those who worked on Quake, choose to make the source code publicly available so that users can experiment with it and build their own custom features. However, there is a distinction between authors voluntarily releasing their code and having their code stolen.
“Leakage, more than anything else, makes companies less eager to participate,” says the AAA developer. This applies even if the information that was leaked had nothing to do with society as a whole. If someone breaks into your home, you can become more suspicious of your neighbors and start installing security measures like locks, bars and cameras. This is a bad situation for everyone involved.
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