Footage of the next Grand Theft Auto—assumed to be GTA 6—leaked online. While Rockstar quickly tried to erase the videos from the internet and plug the holes in the ship, it was impossible to completely contain such a massive, unprecedented leak. So fans around the world got a very good look at the future of Grand Theft Auto. And now myself and others find it hard to go back to the aging GTA Online.
Short videos of early gameplay of what would later be confirmed by Rockstar as the next GTA entry leaked online via a hacker. The footage revealed a lot about the next game in the massively popular open-world franchise, including that the series would be returning to Vice City, Florida, a fan-favorite location last seen in GTA: Vice City Stories, the prequel to the beloved PS2 classic, GTA: Vice City. It also gave us a good look at the new protagonists of this next criminal adventure and some of the missions we might experience when GTA 6 is eventually released. Fans even began mapping out the game’s virtual world using the leaks.
Rockstar undoubtedly hates the leak and likely wishes it could rewind time and prevent it from ever happening at all, but it did end up revitalizing the playerbase. For the first time in a long time, there was excitement and energy in the GTA community, which after years of GTA Online updates and poorly received remasters was in a pretty bad place prior to the leak. Even an early, unfinished or unpolished leak of GTA 6 was better than radio silence and glitchy remasters. People were pumped and hyped about the future of Grand Theft Auto in a way I hadn’t seen in years.
But then, once the leaks were scrubbed from the web and it became clear Rockstar wasn’t going to release any official teaser or trailer to capitalize on the moment, all I and other GTA fans could do was go back to GTA Online. And that’s harder to do now that I’ve seen the future.