A hacker has leaked early footage of Grand Theft Auto VI, the next instalment of the popular video game series.
The leak, including dozens of videos showing robberies, gunplay, and open-world driving, was posted to an online message board.
Rockstar Games, the studio behind the game, said on Twitter on Monday: “We recently suffered a network intrusion in which an unauthorised third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information from our systems, including early development footage for the next Grand Theft Auto.
“At this time, we do not anticipate any disruption to our live game services nor any long-term effect on the development of our ongoing projects.
“We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way.
“Our work on the next Grand Theft Auto game will continue as planned and we remain as committed as ever to delivering an experience to you, our players, that truly exceeds your expectations.
“We will update everyone again soon and, of course, will properly introduce you to this next game when it is ready.
“We want to thank everyone for their ongoing support through this situation.”
Shares in Take-Two, the owner of Rockstar Games, fell more than 3.8% on news of the hack, as the company reportedly began issuing takedown notices on the footage and links to the footage for a number of websites.
The hacker, who claimed to have been behind a cyber incident at Uber last week, said on a web forum that they wanted to “negotiate a deal” with Take-Two, without giving further details.
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Analysts Jefferies described the hack as a “PR disaster”, adding in a client note that it “possibly sets back production and hurts morale”.
But the hacker could pose an even bigger threat, they said, adding: “If the source code leaks, it could necessitate significant changes under the hood of the game to ensure its stability, and the server integrity of GTA VI Online once it launches”.
And the stakes are high – according to Bank of America Global Research, Grand Theft Auto VI is estimated to generate bookings of $3.5bn (£3bn) at launch and an annual average of $2bn (£1.75bn) after that.