Leaks: is it Good or Bad thing?

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All gamers and people who know something about games know for sure: from time to time, news comes to the community as leaks. In this article, we’d like to fuel a deep-thought conversation: Is it good that leaks happen in the video games industry, or is it a bad thing?

Leaks, rumors, or news?

Of course, the first important thing to consider is what type of leak we are talking about? Or are there any leaks that could be counted as innocent? Is there any small amount of leaked content or information that is acceptable to leak? In the video games industry, like in any other, some leaks are inevitable — a result of the number of people working on one project. So, another interesting question to uncover is why leaks keep happening at all?

Leaks could be tied to internal scandals and could be a result of troubles of some sort, or, in some cases, might be a result of the lack of communication and information. Sometimes it could affect the game or the community’s perception of it, and this could be counted as a bad thing, but it also can help people to understand the game on a deeper level, to know about something new, or to reignite their faith in some game Studios. That doesn’t include spoilers. Screw the spoilers. Who likes them?

All game studios handle their leaks differently, and this, of course, includes some analyses: what type of leaks was it and how much information was leaked at all. An important thing to consider is who the leaker was as well. But it’s still an important issue. And unfortunately, those leaks might sometimes be so massive that they could even change the development process.

Recent cases

The most significant recent leak that might actually be so impactful is the GTA 6 Leak, which started all that discourse in social media. The leak showed a lot of gameplay and story parts. Not only that but the early testing build also got leaked, which is exceptionally unlucky for the Rocstar studio. And source code of the new game has allegedly been leaked as well, so maybe the modders’ community that has opposed the Game studio for years might have benefited in this situation. Some information was known already, for example, the female protagonist, but the vast amount of information was leaked; it’s even hard to sum it all up. Rockstar’s statement basically confirms that the leaks are genuine (on Twitter). While many gamers were happy about that, as the original post on Reddit is full of cheering comments, it’s a whole different story for the Studio and the devs. As in another story, when Blizzard Kiriko Cinematic got leaked early, developers started a discussion: the dark side of these leaks and how that affects people who work in the industry.

Image by Blizzard

Usually, many different teams work together to deliver the best engagement to consumers, and that’s why promotion, announcement, planning, and scheduling are essential parts of the development cycle. It also aims to organize the workflow and decrease the level of stress for the development teams. But when something like this happens, all that planning usually becomes non-relevant, and groups are bound to deal with chaos and make decisions in a matter of hours or even minutes. That leads to overtime, loss of the work-life balance, and cause burnout, and ultimately these downfalls will be shown on the project itself.

Sometimes the devs turn leaks to their advantage: like the old Forge leak in Apex Legend Season 4. Was the community surprised on the day of the Story of the Outland “Up Close and Personal” reveal?

Oh, yeah, the grand introduction, an interview with the leaked Legend Forge, that, as most of the community have believed, was going to be the next Legend, was abruptly cut. The Mighty Forge, the Legend, was cold-heartedly killed by an actual next Legend — Revenant. The reminiscent of those emotions is still present in the community, and well, that was a perfect case for the developers: both to surprise their fans and to introduce a new Hitman Legend. This resulted from the hard work of all the Respawn Studio’s people, who were so tired from the constant leaks they suffered that they plotted their own to surprise and excite their fans. Unfortunately, leaks never cease to be in the community, but one of the reasons it’s continuously happening — is a lack of information, roadmap, or actual communication with the community, that instead searches for existing bits of information in the data-miners community and in the game file. For now, a very distinctive trait from the Respawn team is little to no communication with the players, at least on the topic of the game’s future. There even were rumors that devs who engage in such communication were somehow punished. Would it be different if Apex presented more information about the development process? Not likely, or it’s safe to say that the leaks won’t vanish completely. In the end, those leaks also sometimes give hope to the community and keep them excited to witness the game development.

All in all, development teams and game Studios constantly face various leaks. For us, as the community, it’s crucial to remember: not all of them are true, and more notably, it’s just some bits of the whole picture, so, do not jump to conclusions with them — it might be outdated, or changed, or might be a small part of a bigger picture.

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