A huge number of videos purporting to show in-game development footage for GTA 6 have been plastered across various internet forums this morning, because apparently no one can wait until a video game is actually anywhere near finished before they feel compelled to spoil it for all and sundry.
The 80-some clips seemingly show everything from full, in-game scenarios to clearly unfinished bits of grey boxing, but you won’t find a link to them here, because the truth is, they’re simply not worth looking at. What possible benefit could they provide anyone right here, right now? The leaker gets their five minutes of fame and an influx of new followers, sure. But GTA 6 itself isn’t going to look anything like what you see in those clips when it’s actually finished, so someone please tell me, what is even the point?
Rockstar first announced they were formally working on the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series back in February, saying work was “well underway”. They’ve also cited the game’s development as the main reason why they’ve moved away from continuing to develop major updates for Red Dead Online, saying “Over the past few years, we have been steadily moving more development resources towards the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series. […] As a result, we are in the process of making some changes to how we support Red Dead Online.”
Development is clearly continuing apace, then, and by all accounts, these latest leaks do look reasonably legit. But so what if they’re legit? As mentioned above, most clips don’t even show fully rendered scenes. They’re just checkerboard voids with, presumably, a few character models noodling around. (I have not watched all 80-odd clips, but judging from a screenshot showing a swathe of thumbnails for the leaked footage, they do seem to make up the overwhelming majority of them). What can that possibly tell us about what GTA 6 is going to be like when Rockstar are actually ready to show it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Listen, I get there’s a certain thrill in seeing something you’re not supposed to – of sticking it to the man especially when, in recent years, the man hasn’t had the best track record of treating its employees very well. But even that has started to change, with employees recently saying to Bloomberg that Rockstar have cleaned up their act considerably since that big crunch report came out in the run-up to the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2, and that its cultural transformation has also influenced the types of characters we’ll allegedly get to play in the next GTA as well – reportedly a Latina woman who’s part of a Bonnie & Clyde-style duo, a series first. That’s not to say Rockstar automatically get a free pass now, of course. But there is clearly more going on behind the scenes that we can ever possibly be aware of from the outside (short of actually working there), and sharing these leaks as a means of flipping the bird to upper management feels increasingly flimsy as an excuse.
Now, RPS has, of course, reported on all kinds of leaks before, and will continue to do so when we feel it’s worth doing. Personally, though, I do also hate them, and I’d honestly just rather wait until there’s a proper trailer to pore over. Preferably one with some actual gameplay in it, rather than a cinematic, of course, but really, all I want is to see a game revealed as the developers originally intended, and have the chance to get excited about something that actually has substance. Call me a sucker, but I do relish that magician-style showmanship of a grand reveal, which snippets of gameplay footage devoid of any kind of context simply cannot deliver on.
I always think back to the Mario & Rabbids debacle when things like this happen, which I’ll fully admit I thought looked absolutely terrible when those leaks first came in, just days before its big E3 reveal. But more fool me, because it not only turned out to be the best thing Ubisoft had produced in years, but it was also arguably one of the highlights of that entire year’s E3 show. Context is everything when you’re dealing with something new – and it’s something that leaks often famously lack. These supposed GTA 6 clips definitely go in the pointless no context box, so please, don’t bother. Why ruin the surprise for yourself?