GTA 6 leak reaction prompts developers to share clips of early-in-development games really look like

An image of early builds of games like Horizon: Zero Dawn.

While a lot of the controversy and discussion caused by this weekend’s massive GTA 6 footage leak was specifically related to that very unique situation, some of the talking points being brought up by gamers reacting to the news were relevant to the industry as a whole.

The main comment which has attracted disappointment and frustration from developers and journalists throughout the games sphere took aim at the graphical fidelity of the leaked clips, suggesting that, even for an early build, the version of GTA 6 being shown simply didn’t look good enough.

This assertion, as well as the incorrect assumptions about the development process that it was based on, has prompted a host of industry figures to take to social media and prove that the early builds of all games are only ever rough outlines of the eventual finished product.

Have you been surprised by some of these glimpses into the world of game dev?

The principal post which has drawn this response came from user @Design4Mind317, who has since locked their account, but said in response to the leaks: “If you knew how game development goes, you’d know that visuals are one of the first things done. This game is four years into planning and development. What you see is almost exactly what you will get.”

Naturally, this isn’t the case, with games journalist Cian Maher being among the first to provide evidence to the contrary, sharing an of an early build of Horizon: Zero Dawn which features a rather featureless and cartoony-looking thunderjaw, pointing out that: “that is a gun, this was prototyped using Killzone assets because games don't look like the finished product until extremely late in development.”

Also featured in Maher’s thread was a clip from an early build of 2018’s God of War featuring a boss fight with Baldur against the backdrop of a rather bare environment.

The developers of some recently released titles also got in on the party, with Cult of the Lamb’s Twitter account sharing a video of some of that game’s early builds and Immortality writer and director Sam Barlow tweeting an image of a version of that game starring a range of white shapes in place of actors.

Another clip came from Control Lead Designer Paul Ehreth, who commented: “The best thing to come from all this silliness is the awareness that every game, no matter how good it ends up, starts as a fragment of broken junk.”

Regardless of how much knowledge you had of game development prior to this week, make sure to follow us for more coverage of games like GTA 6 and God of War Ragnarok in the run-up to their releases.