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The Dark Period in Gaming History: December 2023 Observed a Few of the Biggest Leaks

Amlan Roy

An image showing Wolverine and GTA 6 posters, two games that faced massive leaks in December 2023

December 2023 has been one of the darkest moments in gaming history as many game developers were hit by multiple leaks online. Leaks in general are commonly seen and discussed in the gaming community as they give exclusive insights before publisher announcements. While most of the information revealed usually is nominal, the recent leaks have been more brutal to the industry as a whole. When developers create a game, much blood and sweat is put into delivering a product. And according to publishers, the development process is the most exciting one.

Even though it is thrilling for fans to get a look at a particular game’s progress in development, there is always a risk of getting bad press. During the development stage, most of the project is subjected to change and all of it does not even end up in the final version. So if a leak arrives about a specific game, fans usually get excited about it. However, it can lead to disappointment as most of the features get slashed out sometimes.

The morale of employees gets affected due to criticism from the masses too. Sometimes finalized features that often get leaked online, face heavy criticism that in turn affects the reputation of the developers. These criticisms also force developers to make necessary changes in the final moments, which can lead to delays or worst case scenario, cancellation of the game altogether. 

As much as leaks often affect the audience and a game’s reputation, employees are also at risk of the revelation of their personal data. Personal data leaks pose a security risk to the concerned parties and affect their mental health. If the people working on a project are unable to work due to these issues, it directly affects the efficiency of the team. This in turn leads to the slow development of games altogether.

December 2023 proved to be the darkest period for game developers due to hacker waves and leaks

While leaks keep happening for many parts of the industry, this December faced a bigger calamity. Both Rockstar and Insomniac Games were under flak as a lot of information regarding their projects leaked in December 2023 only. However, these weren’t standard leaks as the bulk of information was taken by hacker groups. On the bright side, fans got to satiate their need for knowing more about their favorite games. But internally, it did more damage to the reputation of developers.

Insomniac Games and Sony have their internal information out on the global internet which puts many former and current employees at risk. Their information could be used for identity theft which is serious enough for the individuals concerned. Furthermore, the internal data that was put forward in common people’s eyes did more harm than good for the company.

On the other hand, Rockstar Games had their trailer revealed earlier than the intended timing. This caused disappointment among developers. While this worked out great for the company either way with the viewers they have gathered, it still didn’t convince the development studio much. Hackers even targeted more assets within the company which did further damage and cost them almost $5 million.

Attempts were made by data snatchers on Ubisoft as well, but the company was quick enough to handle the security breach early. The hack was launched on Ubisoft Paris on December 26, 2023, and it is alleged that almost 900 GB worth of data were targeted. As of now the team security team at Paris Studio is investigating to see how much was taken.

This is not the first time something like this has happened to CD Projekt Red in 2021. During this situation source code for making Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 were stolen from them, which was saddening for the Polish game studio.

Everything about the hack launched on Rockstar, from source code to game project leaks

The hackers have been actively targeting Rockstar for their popularity and influence in the gaming industry in general. Over a year ago, the studio went through a devastating leak surrounding gameplay reveal through game-engine footage. During this time players got their look at the development version of the game and how things function in detail for almost 90 minutes.

Recently there have been allegations that hackers leaked the full source code for GTA 5 and Python code for GTA 6. However, these codes were stolen almost a year ago by a hacker group going by the name LAPSUS$.

These source code leaks have revealed many things about the game that didn’t meet the daylight until December 2023. For instance, it was found out that Rockstar had canceled single-player story extensions to support GTA Online. This move caused a lot of commotion on the internet and many called out the studio for being greedy.

Additionally, the source code for GTA 5 also showcased a snippet of Liberty City which cannot be found in the main title at all. Due to the public connection with the nostalgia of GTA 4, fans got angered by the complete removal of it. Until now, people had no idea about it and things stayed normal. Just as this information came out, the public completely lost their trust in Rockstar which might affect the sales of their upcoming game.

Arm-chair developers have also taken their time to build their version of GTA 5 which can be fully moded without any need for third-party bypass software. While this feat is commendable for these people, for Rockstar the narrative isn’t the same. Many developers took their time to build the source code for GTA 5 over the years and studio funds to make it possible. Having common people unassociated with Rockstar is heartbreaking for the studio and might lead to further delays with GTA 6.

The recent hacks also proved the existence of Bully 2 which was assumed to be cancelled indefinitely. However, leaks have shown some files for Bully 2, which was stopped for the development of GTA 5. Fans were saddened by it as many had been anticipating the release of a follow-up for the first game. 

Recently, there have been more reports on GTA 6 asset leaks which are worth 200 GB in size in December 2023. The hacker group responsible revealed that they will be keeping it private for the time being, but there is no say when it be revealed publicly.

Insomniac Games hack that completely revealed full plans for the studio in the next few years

While Rockstar has received substantial damages from hackers, ransomware group Rhysida took Insomniac Games as prey. The group demanded a sum of $2 million to safely return all the collected data to Sony. However, the publishing company didn’t take their advice which led to the revelation of 1.7 TB of data to the internet without any bounds. This sharing of data to the public caused many to look into the company files and find out everything that happens within the four walls of the company.

Collectively, this data leak confirmed the plans to create multiple Marvel games by Insomniac Games in the coming years. These unrevealed projects include two different Spider-Man universe games, three X-Men titles, and the return of Ratchet & Clank in FY29.

Not only that, a playable PC version of the game was also ported by modders before the game even arrived on PlayStation. Reports even suggested that others were also working on creating a playable version for Xbox as well. This news greatly affected the developers working on the game at Insomniac Games, yet they have decided to move on as revealed by them officially.

It was also found that Insomniac Games has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel that requires them to sell 6 million copies of each game released on PlayStation and PC combined. If Insomniac Games fails to reach this quota, Marvel has the full right to charge them for breach of contract.

Personal data of former and current employees at Insomniac Games were also breached by the Rhysida which affected their lives. Additionally, it was also found out that Sony is planning on laying off many of the employees who have been affected by the data leaks.

Furthermore, this very data leak from Insomniac Games also showed Sony‘s plan to allegedly increase game prices by 2027 to $100 and fans were skeptical about it. As much as games cost nowadays, it is already considered to be expensive by many already. Having games so much in the coming years has put the company under a lot of questions. This move has made people think that gaming is an expensive pursuit and caused them to question the hobby they adore so much.

About the author

Amlan Roy

Amlan Roy


Amlan is an Esports and Game Journalist currently employed at The SportsRush. Before becoming a writer, he completed his Media studies at iLead Kolkata, India. He has been well acquainted with video games since he started gaming at the age of 8. He dived into the world of blogging in 2021 and wrote over 1000 articles across various media houses like Sportskeeda, GGTalks, and Spiel Times. He is also experienced with film and music apart from gaming.

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