Is the GTA 6 leak the biggest heist in video game history? Here the rest of the contenders


This past weekend Rockstar was the victim of an unprecedented leak: 90 videos of the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto 6 in development were published on the Internet after a hacker “illegally accessed and downloaded sensitive information from the systems” according to Rockstar herself. Games.

The leak is already among the most important in the history of video games for several reasons, the main of which is the value of the project in question: Grand Theft Auto 6 is the follow-up to the most profitable entertainment launch of all time. For many, the leak is a fun and unexpected look at one of the most anticipated video games in history. However, for Rockstar, Take-Two and their investors, the hack and subsequent leak are unexpected and potentially costly roadblocks that threaten development plans for a product valued at billions.

The leak had immediate consequences for Take-Two, whose shares fell more than 6% after the leak, although the lasting effects will not be clear for some time. Rockstar states that development will “continue as planned”, but only time will tell how the impact on team morale and/or development practices will ultimately affect GTA 6.

Following the Rockstar hack, we’ve put together a list of five other big leaks that occurred as a result of a third-party intrusion (hacking, theft, etc.).

Half-Life 2 source code

In September 2003, the source code for Half-Life 2, then one of the most anticipated games, was stolen from Valve’s internal network. The hacker, a German named Axel Gembe, allegedly shared the code with another individual, who then uploaded it to the Internet, according to Gembe’s account to Ars Technica.

Unlike the other hackers you’ll read about on this list, Gembe says his motivation wasn’t financial. Rather, I was a fan of Half-Life who was curious about the sequel’s development progress. Despite his intentions, the actions were criminal, and Gembe was arrested after falling into a cunning trap orchestrated by the FBI and Valve. After confessing his crimes to Valve’s Gabe Newell, Gembe sent a follow-up email asking for a job. Valve and the FBI used this opportunity to set a trap, convincing Gembe to explain his crime in full detail during an “interview”.

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In the end, Gembe admitted his crime in court and was sentenced to two years’ probation. Half-Life 2 would go on sale in late 2004 to critical and commercial success. Things may have worked out for Valve, but according to Gembe’s recollection of the events, the German police told him that was responsible for “damages in excess of $250 million”.

The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 source code

In February 2021, CD Projekt was the victim of a ransomware attack. Hackers accessed the company’s internal servers and reportedly pulled source codes for The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Gwent, and “an unreleased version of The Witcher 3,” as well as accounting and administrative documents.

CD Projekt shared the ransom note on Twitter, stating that the company had 48 hours to respond and protect your data. The company refused to negotiate with the hacker(s), and days later, the source codes would have been sold. According to GamesIndustry, the hackers put the material up for auction with an initial bid of $1 million and an immediate purchase price of $7 million, but eventually accepted an outside bid for an undisclosed amount.

In June 2021, CD Projekt acknowledged that the stolen data was circulating on the internet, adding that it “may include details of current or former employees and contractors, as well as data related to our games.” CD Projekt said at the time that it was working with multiple law enforcement agencies, though there have been no public updates on the investigation.

Future Capcom games

In November 2020, Capcom suffered a ransomware attack that led to the destruction and encryption of data on Capcom’s servers, and subsequently the publication of its provisional release schedule until March 31, 2025. Among the leaked games were Street Fighter 6, Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Resident Evil 4 Remakeall of them confirmed since then.

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Capcom confirmed that the hackers left behind a ransom note, although “the amount of the ransom was not mentioned”. The company said it “took no action” to contact the hacker(s). (A report from Bleeping Computer claims that the hacker group stole 1TB of data and demanded an $11 million ransom in Bitcoin.)

Capcom said it was working with law enforcement in Japan and the United States. Although those investigations are yet to be concluded, Capcom completed its own internal investigation in April 2021, according to VGC. That investigation determined that more than 15,000 accounts had been definitively compromised, although the hack could have affected up to 390,000 people.

In addition to the security costs and untold damage to their future projects, Capcom became the subject of an unexpected lawsuit following the hack. According to the BBC, photographer Judy Juracek took legal action against Capcom claiming copyright infringement after “at least one” of his works appeared in the leaked Capcom files. Juracek was seeking $12 million in damages, although the case was “amicable settled” out of court, according to Polygon.

The massive Nintendo hack

In 2020, Nintendo was the victim of a massive hack, with more than 2TB of data allegedly stolen. The leak, known colloquially as “Nintendo Gigaleak,” included information about canceled games, prototypes, source code, development tools, internal communication, and much more. It’s a leak like no other, offering a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Nintendo’s secretive development processes.

filtered material spans from the SNES era to the 3DS era. Among the most notable discoveries are a character model for Luigi in Super Mario 64, a canceled Pokemon MMO, a Yoshi’s Island prototype, and source code related to the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii consoles.

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Considering that this leak concerned the Nintendo catalog and consoles, and not current or future releases, it is more difficult to measure the impact on Nintendo. However, during an investor conference in 2022, Nintendo seems to have confirmed that the leak has led to increased security measureswhich has undoubtedly come at a cost.

FIFA 21 source code and the Frostbite engine

In June 2021, hackers breached EA’s systems and allegedly stole 780 GB of data, including the source code for both FIFA 21 and DICE’s Frostbite engine. As reported by Vice, the hackers accessed the EA network after buying stolen cookies for $10 and breaking into an EA channel on the work messaging service Slack. A representative for the hackers told Vice that they then sent a message to IT support stating that they needed a new multi-factor authentication token after “we lost our phone at a party last night.”

A follow-up report from Vice details how hackers began leaking stolen source code across the internet after failing to extort money from EA. The Frostbite source code is a unique piece of property that EA has good reason to keep secret; is invaluable as a blueprint for creators of competing game engines and a resource for cheat creators, especially those who create cheats for Frostbite-created online shooters.

What do you think has been the biggest theft or hack over the last few years?