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The GTA 6 Leak Isn’t a Big Deal, and You Probably Shouldn’t Care

(Credit: Rockstar Games)

The existence of Grand Theft Auto 6 isn’t surprising, and the leak doesn’t merit much outrage.

By Will Greenwald

The Grand Theft Auto 6 leak is real. A hacker apparently infiltrated Rockstar Games’ internal network and downloaded information on the next GTA game, presumably called Grand Theft Auto 6. And, predictably, a lot of gamers are up in arms about it.

My own reaction is a resounding “meh,” because a lot of the reasons for any outrage are pretty terrible. Allow me to explain, after a few caveats.

Caveat 1: I’m Not a Huge Fan Right Now

I get that Red Dead Redemption 2 was amazing. I just didn’t love it. (Credit: Rockstar Games)

Okay, let’s get this one out of the way. I didn’t really like Grand Theft Auto V after a point and Red Dead Redemption 2 was of no interest to me. Neither game is bad; I recognize the incredible craft and skill of their developers and how much work went into both games. They’re long, detailed experiences that engage many, many gamers. I just didn’t enjoy them.

Caveat 2: The Hacker Is an Indefensible Criminal

Even if you think the leak is great, the hacker isn’t a hero. Most leaks like these come from pretty gray areas, like information accidentally being left out in the open or trickled out by someone in the company. That isn’t the case with this leak. The hacker actively broke into a network and stole information, and any opinions you might have about that being morally gray go out the window when they’re allegedly ransoming the information for money. This isn’t about getting game details out. This is a data thief motivated by profit.

Rockstar Games is the victim here, more than most publishers with most leaks. (Credit: Rockstar Games)

Meanwhile, if this leak is indeed the entire build, that’s far more serious than the unauthorized release of a few gameplay clips or screenshots. Putting the incomplete game out while it’s still in development goes past leaking and into pure piracy, especially since the leaker is rumored to be ransoming the data. It doesn’t even have the communal moral defense of zero-day warez releases (remember those?) because the hacker is actively doing it for pay.

Now that those two points are clear, here’s why the leak as it is doesn’t matter.

Of Course Rockstar Is Working on GTA 6

Playing coy about it is silly. Just say it’s GTA 6 already. (Credit: Rockstar Games)

The existence of the game itself isn’t a revelation. Of course Rockstar is working on it. Grand Theft Auto V came out nine years ago on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and made over $1 billion in a matter of weeks, even before the trailing profits of ports for later systems and Grand Theft Auto Online. Grand Theft Auto IV came out only four years before that. The only reason to think Rockstar wasn’t developing a new GTA is to not have actually heard of the series before.

Also, Rockstar basically announced the game’s existence in February.

Any Spoilers Are Easy to Avoid

Like GTA 5 (pictured), GTA 6 will have crime and guns. So far nothing else has been revealed. (Credit: Rockstar Games)

I understand spoiler fears. I try to stay away from them myself for anything I’m interested in because I think witnessing the plot unfolding as intended is the best way to experience a narrative. People who intentionally spoil things are jerks, and it’s reasonable to not want to be aware of anything regarding the story of GTA 6.

That said, there’s no big risk there with this leak (unless the hacker actively spreads the game’s story; see Caveat 2). The release has largely comprised videos of an early build, and they aren’t things that will jump out on social media. The headlines, tweets, and even the post itself don’t reveal anything significant about the game besides its existence. If you don’t want to see more, you can simply scroll past. If that changes, it’s a different story, but for now you don’t need to worry about getting spoiled.

Do You Care About Rockstar’s Marketing Schedule?

To be fair, the pop-off when it was announced that Yoko Taro was making a new Nier game was pretty huge for a subset of gamers with particularly good taste. (Credit: Square-Enix)

Being outraged over GTA 6 being revealed ahead of when Rockstar planned to announce it is silly, because those plans don’t benefit you. Game announcements and marketing calendars are solely for the benefit of the publisher, so they can maintain control over the news and get the most bang for their buck in share prices and/or media attention.

That said, it’s reasonable to be annoyed if leaks spoil surprising announcements at major events; it’s fun to get hyped over big news (like Sony’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Nier: Automata announcements at E3 2015), but again it’s obvious that Rockstar has been working on GTA 6 for a while. What else would it be doing? Being coy about the “next GTA experience” rings hollow.

You’re Missing News on Other Games

Dot’s Home is one of the games that caught our eye at the Game Devs of Color Expo. (Credit: Rise-Home Stories Project)

The time you spend being angry about and fixated on the GTA 6 leak is time that could be spent watching out for more interesting gaming news (or playing games, but one thing at a time).

Did you know the PSVR 2 won’t play PSVR games? Or that Suikoden I and II are getting HD remasters? Tekken 8 and Yakuza/Like A Dragon 8 are coming out? The director of La Mulana is going to remake The Maze of Galious (or what that previously Japan-only game is)?

There’s the indie scene as well, and that always deserves more attention, especially when it’s so hard to separate the signal of amazing indie games from the noise of Steam shovelware ( Vampire Survivors has only gotten better, by the way). The Game Devs of Color Expo just wrapped up; we’ll have a roundup soon.

The GTA 6 leak happened. It’ll be a very different story if source code or full builds are released, but until then, there really isn’t much reason to care too much.

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.

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