The GTA VI leak: Discussing the positive and negative impacts


Daniel Cabral

Many people have been peeking at the “GTA VI” leaks,

If you have been waiting for the next installment in the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise, a series of video games known for its depiction of criminal activity, as I have, you probably have been peeking at the recent “GTA VI” leaks.

Leaks are a fact of life in the video game industry, and due to the massive attention “GTA VI” is currently getting, we should begin to question the impact this leak will have on the prosperity of “GTA VI”. Many fans have laid their eyes on the footage and some have formed their stance on the game. Video games companies want to raise awareness for their game and leaks have been shown to get attention, but what kind of effects can an unwanted leak have on a game?

On Sept 18, a hacker based in the United Kingdom who goes under the name “teapotuberhacker,” posted 100 videos of “GTA VI” totaling 50 minutes of footage. The hacker, a 17-year-old boy who lives in Oxfordshire, was able to obtain the footage by gaining access to a Rockstar employee’s Slack account. 

What we learned from the leaked footage

What was revealed in the leak was a first for a mainline “GTA” game. There will be a playable female protagonist whose name is Lucia. It previewed that the story will also include another playable character named Jason. The story will follow a Bonnie and Clyde-type story. Like in the previous game, “GTA V,” players can switch between characters.

In this game, we will return to the already established Vice City which is the same location as one of my all-time favorite “GTA” games, “GTA: Vice City.” The location of Vice City is mainly based on Miami, Florida. The first time we saw Vice City, it was 1986 and Hall and Oates’s “Out of Touch,” was always blasting on the radio. Now we return to the same location except in a modern setting.  

Rockstar has taken a page out of “Red Dead Redemption 2” and implemented greater interaction with the world and its inhabitants. It now has more intractability with NPCs (Non-Playable characters). There will be new stealth mechanics like laying prone, crawling, and carrying bodies; Rockstar has yet to reveal the full depth of these mechanics. 


The reactions to these leaks have been received with mixed emotions. Not accounting for the morality of leaking an unfinished product, many people had the opportunity to form an opinion on the up-and-coming game on an unofficial early build of the game.

Some fans were fuming over the game because it has been in development for a long time and the footage looks like an alpha build (first working version). People were expecting that it would be closer to a finished product, but the fact remains that in this stage of development, the developers were not ready to reveal what they had. 

While the recurring and new features gave fans something to talk about, the pressing matter is that “GTA VI” was not intended to be present to the world this early. The leak of this product has caused both positive and negative feedback. For now, our first impression of the game results from an unwanted leak but the effects of the said leak, are up for debate.

Positive effect

“GTA VI” is one of the largest leaks in recent gaming history since it also brings into question the effect of leaks. In this case, many people talking are about the game and excited for its eventual release. Without having to spend money on advertising, Rockstar has the attention of the gaming community. It is also noteworthy to mention that “GTA VI” was officially announced this February and many people including myself, didn’t know. Now, it would be hard to find a fan who doesn’t know of its existence. 

Senior Tony Vu remembers the initial buzz for GTA VI, which occurred with the arrival of GTA V.

“When GTA V came out people were like, ‘I can’t wait for GTA VI’ and everyone just forgot about it.  People were making memes saying it wasn’t a thing. After the leak came out the new headline was, ‘Have you seen the new GTA leak?’” he said.

Leaks provide consumers with an idea of what direction the developers are going. If people like where things are going, they will make a mental note to pick up the game when it comes out. The same could be said if consumers don’t like the direction the company is headed; a peak behind the curtain gives us the raw information we need. The video game industry is known for having ad campaigns that have more effort put into them than the game itself. Leaks provide no fluff, only the game. Those who can get over the unfinished look of the leak can presume that the results are going to be great. That’s not to say that it’s possible for Rockstar to drop the ball but with their experience in the industry, most consumers trust their judgment.

Consumer Freedom

There are very few people who play video games that don’t know of “Fortnite.” “Fortnite” has a variety of options for skins and also has live events to experience with others around the world.

Vu highlights how a video game leak has positively impacted his purchase of a product.

“People started leaking that there is going to be a Travis Scott concert and there might be a Travis Scott skin, pick axe, and glider.  I was like ‘Heck yeah I want that!’  I didn’t have money at that time so I began to grind ‘Save the World’ to save V-bucks to buy it,” he said. 

“Save the World” is a mode in “Fortnite” that allows you to earn V-bucks (in-game currency). With the leak of the Travis Scott event, Vu was able to decide that he liked what he saw and saved up for it

Negative Effect

A downside to the leaks would be the criticism of new ideas that stray from tradition. It discourages developers from taking a new approach to the already tested formula. For instance, some people seemed to be upset because one of the protagonists was a Latina woman. This uproar isn’t coming from the majority of fans but the side against it believes that Rockstar is pushing an agenda. Rockstar has indeed had an overhaul to be a more progressive company but this hasn’t hindered the quality of its games. So far people are worried because the implementation of an agenda in video games hasn’t ended so well. “The Last of Us II,” was also heavily criticized for implementing some politically correct ideas which were revealed through a massive leak. “The Last of Us II” had gotten such terrible responses from the leak that when it came out, people were not able to push past the leaks. Rockstar fans are worried that through association with the “Woke bug,” in other words, a politically correct lens, the quality of “GTA VI” will be affected. This is just speculation but if these aspects of the games were not revealed to the public until it was complete, it could have garnered praise. If the goal of the team creating the game is to create an experience that can be enjoyed from start to finish, then one aspect of a game cannot be criticized until we know the role it plays throughout the whole game.

Senior Steve Garcia and vice president of the esports club gave his input about the negative reception of the leak.

He said, “People already don’t like it since Rockstar already claimed it was trying to go a little bit progressive. People don’t like it because it is automatically trying to be woke. The combination of how it looks with how they are trying to make the story is being judged a little too harshly.”

What MCHS students had to say about their impressions of “GTA VI”

Garcia is pleased with the direction Rockstar took for the new game.

 “It felt like a ‘GTA’ game,” he said.

Vu is also happy with the attention Rockstar is giving to a niche part of the community and is spreading to the rest of the community.

 “I see that they are following the hype and love our community has for role play. I like that I have more creativity in the community and interactivity. If you didn’t have ‘GTA V’ on PC, you couldn’t play role-play. I like how now everyone can play it,” he said. 

Take away.

The situation that Rockstar Games is currently in has gotten to a low point for the company and the people developing the game. As a result, many other video game companies have come in support of them by showing gaming communities how their game looked in early development. The pattern here is that video games take lots of time and development and what we end up with is nothing compared to what we started with. 

“Everyone knows a leak is going to happen because people are very, very nosy and unpredictable. So obviously there is going to be hate but sometimes you got to listen to the fans and other times the fans are being too greedy. More or less you have to pick your poison,” said Garcia.