Grand Theft Auto VI Needs to Be Flawless, Rockstar's Future Depends On It

GTA VI Leak 20 photos
Photo: the Illuminerdi
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Well, folks, if you know, you know. For those that don't know, we're referring to the recent leak of over 90 videos worth of Grand Theft Auto VI gameplay testing a hacker revealed to the masses. Safe to say, people's reaction to what they saw was mixed at best.
It should be pretty self-evident why a gameplay leak of this size is an absolute nightmare scenario for Rockstar games, whose source code for GTA V and VI now lies in the hands of online mystery hackers with cruel intentions. But in our minds, what this most recent hack and gameplay leak tell us is that Rockstar may be in deep you-know-what if GTA VI isn't as close to 100 percent flawless as humanly possible.

For how awesome and revered a company as Rockstar Games used to be, the Take-Two Interactive-owned game publisher's had a rough go of things since Grand Theft Auto V graced the world with its presence almost a decade ago. We need not get into a long and painful dissertation about how the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition turned out to be a glitch-filled mess. But really, that's only the most buzzworthy in a laundry list of complaints levied against Rockstar by their fanbase recently.

Whether overhyping and underdelivering on the ninth-generation console ports of GTA V or teasing the release of a remastered GTA IV and then pulling the plug at the last minute, there's no shortage of gripes to be had. It all came to a head this past week when the viewing public made their opinions known about what they thought of this leaked GTA VI gameplay footage. Tweets, TikToks, and YouTube videos declaring the gameplay to look ugly and unpolished are currently abound if one does a simple Google search for GTA VI.

But in Rockstar's defense, and we say this knowing full well of their past sins, most people on Twitter aren't game developers. Seeing so many people declare what's clearly a very early build of the game as ugly only goes to show what a disconnect there can be between game devs and their fanbase. Let's put it in automotive terms. If a concept car is ugly, but the production model works out the kinks until it's presentable, is the concept car a bust? Let's be honest. The logic is solid. But in the cruel, unrelenting video game market, there's little room for sympathy, patience, or most other forms of common human decency.

So to speak, if Rockstar doesn't get things right, someone else probably will, and to them, we will give our hard-earned money. As modern gamers will tell you, the days of die-hard brand loyalty in the gaming community have been dead for ages. Years of bad Bethesda and Ubisoft games saw to that. With that in mind, Rockstar won't be able to hide behind nostalgia and the glory of past GTA games if the sixth main installment in the series fails to deliver. Let's break it down in the most matter-of-fact way possible.

If the driving mechanics aren't crisp, responsive, and satisfying, if the weapon mechanics aren't smooth, precise, but challenging, and if the gameplay isn't at a similar level of replayability as the last game in both single and multiplayer modes, the fan backlash will be quick and brutal. It wouldn't be hyperbole to call the launch of GTA VI the most significant game launch of all time. One that could see its devs set for life if it goes to plan or be its undoing if it doesn't. That's why Rockstar must take every measure to limit the damage resulting from this hack.

If that means pushing back the game's release date, we're sure most civilized gamers out there would understand, if not while being a little annoyed. But to those who called the game ugly before it's even reached the pre-alpha stage, we highly suggest learning how game development actually works before tweeting about it. Moral of the story? Well, we suppose it's that neither side in this data leak debacle is entirely holier than thou.

But if gamers at large really do want GTA VI to be the greatest game of the 2020s, we suggest chilling out a bit and letting Rockstar take their sweet time with it before you levy judgments on it.
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