The leak of Grand Theft Auto 6 is one of the most surreal chapters that have been experienced in recent times in the video game industry. Rockstar’s impregnable fortress wide open. What are the consequences of the current situation? We talked about it with industry leaders, developers and communication teams.
Until a few hours ago, we thought Rockstar was the paradigm of the impregnable tower, a territory without leaks from which nothing escaped. Without wanting to fall into the cliché, “the tallest towers have fallen”: the Leaked GTA 6 showed that the Take-Two study is also human. Is such a leak so problematic? On many and varied levels, yes. We tend to think that everyone understands that what leaks responds to a video game still in development and that everyone will take what is consumed with tweezers and caution, but this is never the case: the leak makes untold damage to Rockstar in general and grand automatic flight 6 especially.
For this reason, at 3DJuegos we wanted to speak with some representatives of the sector to know their opinion and what it would mean for them to find themselves in a situation like that of the team after Red Dead Redemption. Is there full shielding? The boss of a well-known national studio, who we will call Trevor to ensure his anonymity, tells us about his vision: “Strategies to avoid leaks: always have the NDA (non-disclosure agreement or confidentiality agreements in Spanish) signed, both by the people who are part of the team and by the subcontractors.” Another studio head, Michael, tells us about his experience on his team: “You work with third-party source code, so in addition to trust, professionalism is required of team members. We all work under a confidentiality agreement which is included in the contract. What this means, in short, is that from the inside we are a club and from the outside we are a convent. There is no conversation”. But does good faith and trust beyond the NDA prevent leaks? Not really, Trevor tells us: “Beyond that, it’s impossible to avoid possible leaks… for that, you would have to check emails, search people before leaving, and all that while respecting people’s freedom. .
A developer from one of the most important studios in England, Franklin, tells us how they protect their offices: “In my experience, the PCs I work on are controlled, you cannot install unauthorized programs , there are all kinds of antiviruses, when you open a link there’s like a program that tracks the website you’re going to…that’s pretty cool, but of course, leaks can still happen if the employee, i don’t know, if he starts recording the screen with a phone or copy small files from here to there. How does Michael’s studio operate remotely? “All our material is encrypted. We give our computers to those who work remotely with encrypted communications, encrypted disks, very restricted access systems, it is necessary for people to have a fixed IP… security is not taken lightly “.
a team thing
How does the developer operate when such cases occur? According to Franklin’s UK company protocol (in which they do not sign NDAs for projects but sign a contract without mentioning the projects they are working on) “the only thing employees should do if they see comments to the outside is to let the company’s marketing team know, they can never be in an active conversation about something like this, because if we do, we’re making life harder for the company .” Michael finds himself in the terrible situation of leaking the source code for Rockstar, because “it would be a very fat eggplant. Imagine that the source code ends up in other games. Imagine that these games are patented before, because in the States States can patent the software, and they start suing Rockstar for their own source code. This is something that may sound ridiculous, but it’s happened before. Little joke.
Imagine that the source code ends up in other games. Imagine they start suing Rockstar for their own code“Although it’s all speculation, the best case scenario in the current situation would be for the situation to remain an anecdote, for people to forget about it and for Rockstar to release their awesome trailer and confirm what we all know: compare it with this which leaked and I confirm that everything looks much better, because I assure you that everything will be much better. The worst scenario? That there are consequences that affect the development, which involves delays and involves anger on the part of the user, which means storms in social networks, which means changes in the direction or creative process of the game, which means changes in the process of marketing the project, which means changes unimaginable consequences, so it comes out later and later.” Trevor, with a more general peripheral version of the product, considers that “responding to a leak like that of GTA 6 is complex, since not only those who manage the company, but also its shareholders see that there is a hole in the company security and above all, in a video game company, that its IP is its maximum value, knowing the fragility in which they find themselves is always something negative“.
Of course, Trevor considers that “the hacked developer should not be blamed since the problem could be: 1. Human error, 2. An error in the security chain or security protocols”. How does the situation affect the team? “Especially in the marketing and communication strategy, it’s going to hell! Today, the product’s line of communication, both in message and in the spirit of the times, is perfectly balanced. A leak of these dimensions dynamites the entire communication plan of the same and right now they not only have to ‘stop the shot’ but they have to deal with the current feedback from users against their pre-alpha, make a containment plan so that we know the game will have more quality, etc. .. Rockstar’s marketing department must be buzzing right now!”
The sad thing is that the developer is probably responsible for the leak“The saddest thing is not that we can blame the developer, it’s that the developer is probably responsible for the leak”, warns Michael, “safety measures have been put in place and barriers have still been Either human factor, ineffective security (although they are usually 3rd party security audited). We received on average about 20 monthly intrusion attempts from countries like China or Russia. Imagine the number attacks that Rockstar can receive”. “It’s going to affect the morale of the team a lot. They’re going to feel bad because it sucks for everyone and the team spirit works a bit like that. There will be an investigation process organized by the board administration and it will be exhaustive and very intrusive.” It’s done for safety because you have to know how the leak was, which is an added stress for people who have been in the industry for a long time and still have a lot to do.”
Punishments and responsibilities
And what would be the punishment for breaking the agreement with the company? Franklin confesses that he doesn’t understand what would cause someone on the team to leak details about his work (“unless there was someone very burnt out”, he specifies) , but it seems that “the consequence of breaking something like this” was never clarified. He thinks it would depend “on the seriousness of the situation, they would study the case. The situation at Rockstar has become clearer for a few hours, where the firm made a statement solve the problem, but our developer thinks the investigation will continue “until we see whose problem was”.
Trevor tells us what he would have done in a situation like this (although he humbly reminds us many times that his work lacks the transcendence of grand vol automatic series): “Recommended modus operandi.- Try to detect the failure in the security chain so that it does not happen again, try to maintain production deadlines to prevent it from generating delays and, above all, and as I I already mentioned it before, effectively and positively manage product communication to close this online crisis and for you to even become positive ‘Thanks to your feedback we will continue to work on etc, etc…’. For me, the key to solving a problem is thinking about how to turn the tables so that instead of a ‘con’, it ends up being something ‘positive’.
In Rockstar there will be disappointments, suffering and occasional layoffsAlthough saddened by the situation, Michael is more blunt: “At Rockstar, there will be trouble, suffering and occasional layoffs. The thing is, your confidentiality agreement means you can’t divulge anything outside of official channels. It’s not just to ensure that marketing takes control of the communication, it’s a very serious matter that can jump out at you. If you have a very clear view of the game and take half-done footage, people judge it as final material. In a commercial product with billions of investments can have a very negative impact. People can have two fingers up front, but not the masses. Everything is amplified and it can become a very serious error. »