The effects of this weekend’s GTA VI leaks are going to be long-lasting, but the immediate aftermath is already bemusing enough to chronicle. As you might expect, Take-Two is launching into a full-on Streisand manoeuvre and trying to DMCA any and all footage from the leak. At the same time, the source code for GTA V appears to be being offered for sale, while the origin of the leak is playing whack-a-mole against himself. And just this minute, Rockstar have confirmed the leak as real.
“We recently suffered a network intrusion,” say Rockstar Games in an official statement via Twitter. “An unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems, including early development footage for the next Grand Theft Auto.”
They continue, directly responding to a great deal of speculation that leaks like this can significantly delay a game’s progress, “We do not anticipate any disruption to our live game services nor any long-term effect on the development of our ongoing projects.”
Rockstar adds that it’s “extremely disappointed” about the leak, and that they will “properly introduce” us to the game when it’s ready.
Already, a number of the videos linked by Kotaku yesterday have vanished from Twitter and YouTube, in a move that previously removed any doubt about the validity of the footage. You don’t issue DMCA takedowns of videos that aren’t your property. In doing so, the videos will of course keep popping up elsewhere, and trying to control it is always futile.
Going by variations on the name Tea Pot, what appear to be various impersonators of the original leaker have been busy overnight, attempting to profit in the most astonishingly blatant ways. The impersonations have been somewhat successful because the original Teapot was apparently trying to get in touch with Rockstar or Take-Two to “negotiate a deal,” which they were doing in tandem with offering to sell the source code for GTA V, while implying he has the source code for GTA VI. So as Tea Pot either went to sleep or settled down, others started taking advantage of the public desire to see more of this hyped game. Some were sharing their Bitcoin wallet, but everyone seemed to be asking for an offer.
An alleged conversation with Tea Pot from someone pretending to work for Rockstar shows the leaker claiming to have the source code for both games, and saying, “Tell me your price.”
The GTA6 subreddit was closed for a while, while moderators stripped it of content from the leaks, presumably after lawyers began growling. The subreddit is now open again, but with the strict instructions that none of the publicly available links, video or images from the leak be included, “done so to protect the subreddit from getting obliterated by Rockstar Games.”
GTAForums, where the leaker had been posting, has also received communications from Take-Two lawyers, demanding they remove all “copyrighted materials.” A moderator told Kotaku, “It’s been a day,” while emphasizing just how tricky their job is right now. It “sure made things harder to moderate!” they told us.
At some point yesterday, Tea Pot’s account was deleted from even the Wild West of messaging apps, Telegram. Tea Pot confirmed this, posting to GTAForums to complain that his original thread had been taken down, saying, “My thread grew to be one of the most popular in the forums history. WHERE IS IT GONE??? btw telegram suspended my other account, new account is @lilyhowarth.” Even this thread has since been deleted.
No one knows who Tea Pot/Lily Howarth really is, with one person posting in a soon-to-be-deleted thread on GTAForums, “Apparently it’s been confirmed he is a 17 year old Spanish, 18 year old British but Russian hacker who lives in England.”