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Devs show what in-development games look like after GTA 6 leak

Over this past weekend, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 6 leaked, with 90 videos showing off in-development builds of the highly anticipated open-world game. Obviously, many aspects of these videos looked incomplete, which caused some people to immediately judge the final quality of the game, engage in lots of angry discourse, and reveal that they don’t quite understand how game development works.

One tweet, in particular, caught the ire of game developers as it claimed that “visuals are one of the first things done” and that the final year of development is “all backend stuff” like mission coding and debugging. Obviously, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as multiple elements of video games are created in tandem and rely on each other to be complete. For example, would you expect the visuals of a level to be complete before the design of that space and the missions that take place within it are finished?

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To hopefully dispel some of that ignorance surrounding game development that surfaced following the Grand Theft Auto 6 leaks, teams big and small are giving glimpses at what their video games looked like during development, years before players ever got their hands on them. These are some of our favorites.

A Plague Tale: Requiem

"Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game"

Here, A Plague Tale: Requiem in one of its first build vs the upcoming release:

— Kevin Choteau (@KChoteau) September 21, 2022

A Plague Tale: Requiem is one of this fall’s most intriguing titles as it’s a sequel to a 2019 game about siblings trying to survive in a France embattled by the Black Plague, lots of aggressive rats, and the French Inquisition. Even as a sequel, Asobo Studios still had to craft a lot of A Plague Tale: Requiem’s adventure from scratch. Director Kevin Choteau tweeted out footage of one in-game sequence, where one of its first builds features work-in-progress character models of protagonists Amicia and Hugo running through an untextured, barren environment. Needless to say, this part of the game now looks gorgeous and very different from that early build.

Cult of the Lamb

"Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game"

Here's what early versions of Cult of the Lamb looked like

— Cult of the Lamb 🙏🐑👑 OUT NOW (@cultofthelamb) September 20, 2022

Cult of the Lamb made a strong impression in August as a demented take on Animal Crossing, where players form a cult as they gather resources and try to take down gods. On Twitter, Massive Monster and Devolver Digital showed an earlier build of the game where everything doesn’t have the final game’s beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic quite yet. Still, you can see the building blocks of something promising that would entertain a lot of people.


Here's what early versions of Pikuniku looked like

— Pikuniku ✨ (@PikuNikuGame) September 21, 2022

Pikuniku is a boldly designed and colorful adventure puzzle game released back in 2019. Its vibrant visuals and distinct character designs helped the game stand out, but those had to be lovingly crafted and refined. A tweet from Sectordub and Devolver Digital demonstrates that even Pikuniku’s visuals weren’t the first thing completely finished and were much more basic during development.

Cursed to Golf

This is what @CursedtoGolf looked like for a LONG WHILE, before we got close to making it look like a game…

Games come in all shapes & forms before they hit your console/PC. Could be right up until the very week of launch before even a "Press Start" is added👀 #gamedev

— Liam Edwards ⛳️ CURSED TO GOLF OUT NOW⛳️ (@LiamBME) September 21, 2022

If you need yet another example of how game development is a very iterative process, a tweet from Chuhai Labs’ Liam Edwards showed off early footage of the studio’s golf roguelike Cursed to Golf. You see the basic gameplay of this creative 2D golfing game in action, but the visuals of each level are very clearly incomplete. We even see visual tests that serve as a midpoint between what players will recognize and what the final game will look like.

Deliver Us the Moon

"Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game"

We present you early versions of Deliver Us The Moon aka "The Michelin Man" vs finished game.

— KeokeN Interactive🐧 (@KeokeN) September 21, 2022

Even something as crucial to a game as the design of the main character might not be one of the first things finalized. Case in point is KeokeN Interactive’s in-development screenshots of Deliver Us the Moon, a sci-fi puzzle game from 2018. In early builds of Deliver Us the Moon, the main character was an untextured white character model that the developers lovingly named “The Michelin Man” due to his bumpy design. Obviously, the stars of this game looked a lot cooler (and more scientifically accurate) when Deliver Us the Moon was released.


"Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game"

Here's how Railbound looked before we announced the game; in January (3 months before), Feburary (2mo) and March (1mo):

— Afterburn (@AfterburnGames) September 21, 2022

Even just months ahead of an official reveal, a video game can look very incomplete. Railbound is a simple but enthralling puzzle game where players must set tracks that ensure that carriages are attached to a train in the right order. It is one of this month’s most charming games and features a distinct cel-shaded visual style that developer Afterburn had not yet implemented just three months before the game’s reveal. Afterburn released a series of images revealing what the game looked like as the team crafted puzzles during development, with the style Railbound players will recognize taking shape just a month before the game’s reveal in April 2022.


CONTROL - Early Production Footage (Finished Graphics)

Finally, we have Control, Remedy Entertainment’s critically acclaimed action game from 2019 that features gravity-defying combat and lots of trippy environments. It’s a beautiful game, but it didn’t always look like that. Control lead designer Paul Ehreth posted a YouTube video featuring footage from early on in Control’s development. It’s got solid bones that show a lot of promise, but it also easily demonstrates how game development is not a super linear process and that everything for certain parts of the game isn’t all finished at once.

While sharing the video on Twitter, Ehreth clearly explained the most important thing that players should take away from all of this GTA 6 leak discourse. “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,” Ehreth said. “It’s all the years of hard work from the team, building and refining it that makes it great.”

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Rockstar Games hacker reportedly arrested following GTA 6 leak
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Last weekend, someone hacked Rockstar Games and leaked over 90 videos of the still-in-development Grand Theft Auto 6. Now, the City of London Police in the United Kingdom reportedly arrested the 17-year-old individual responsible for the hack.

BBC and the City of London Police's Twitter account confirmed the arrest took place in Oxfordshire earlier today. The official statement only says that this 17-year-old individual was arrested "on suspicion of hacking, as part of an investigation supported by the NCA UK's National Cyber Crime Unit," but journalist Matthew Keys reports that this is the person who leaked Grand Theft Auto 6 after they hacked Rockstar Games (and possibly hacked Uber as well). 

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5 video games to play if you liked Doctor Strange 2
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Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is finally out in the wild, and while it's getting less positive reviews than what longtime Marvel Studios fans have grown accustomed to, it's still a solid reception for the director's trippy take on the MCU. The movie adopted a distinctly Raimi tone, bringing out some of the horror weirdness that's defined so much of the director's catalog. Some might understandably feel it's a much-needed shakeup to the typically safe Marvel formula, with horror fans surely finding something to love.

Video games are also a medium where developers can get noticeably inventive and bizarre with their worlds, and the action-adventure and survival-horror genres have certainly flexed those creative muscles. Recent years have seen delightfully strange gaming titles that, in some form or another, should strike similar tones that Multiverse of Madness does.
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Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with these stellar games
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While the video game industry has a long history in Asian countries like China, Japan, and Korea, it's important to note that Asian Americans have also played a major role in the development community since the industry's conception. Asian American creators have helped craft some of the most unique, innovative, and influential games of the past decade, especially when it comes to groundbreaking indies.
In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, we wanted to highlight some of the best indie games from Asian American creators. Seeing as we're going through a relatively quiet season for AAA games right now, consider this a great time to check these titles out this May.
Spelunky 2
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If you've yet to play them, Derek Yu's masterpiece roguelikes are both must-play titles. This platformer is deceptively simple, as players make their way further and further down deadly caves on the moon with a limited toolset. The game is challenging and rewards thoughtful planning and fast reaction times to various traps and obstacles. Spelunky 2's roguelike setup also makes it an excellent pick-up-and-play game that constantly makes you want to make just one more run. 
Spelunky 2 is available for PC, PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. It's even part of Xbox Game Pass, so you have no excuse not to check out one of the best roguelikes ever made. Once you complete that game, we also recommend checking out the original Spelunky, as it still holds up to this day. 
Quadrilateral Cowboy

Hacking minigames are very common in video games, but few actually make the activity engaging. Quadrilateral Cowboy, from Blendo Games' Brandon Chung, defies that notion with an excellent game almost entirely about hacking. In Quadrilateral Cowboy, you control a hacker assisting secret agents with pulling off a heist. You type code and create programs to progress, truly making you feel like an expert hacker. 
Its unique approach to gameplay will make the game and its puzzles stick in your mind long after the game is finished. Quadrilateral Cowboy is only available for PC, Mac, and Linux. If you like Blendo Games' work here, consider checking out Chung's other games like Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights of Loving, and the upcoming Skin Deep.
Outer Wilds
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Outer Wilds is an ambitious adventure game where players explore a vast solar system that resets every 22 minutes. Thanks to an intriguing time loop story about a lost civilization, clever puzzles, and the amount of player agency it allows, Outer Wilds is one of the most clever sci-fi games out there. Outer Wilds' developer, Mobius Digital, was founded by former Heroes and Hawaii 5-0 star Masi Oka, who served as executive producer on the title.
Outer Wilds is currently available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It's even on Game Pass for those who want to try it out before buying. You should also check out the game's fantastic Echoes of the Eye DLC once you finish the main adventure. 
Rakuen Official Trailer
Rakuen was created by Laura Shigihara, a musician best known for her work on the Plants vs. Zombies score. In 2017, she released a simple but heartfelt adventure game of her own. Of course, this game has a fantastic soundtrack, but it also is a poignant adventure game about a boy exploring both a hospital and a fantasy world with his mother. 
Retro game fans will enjoy the 16-bit aesthetic of Rakuen, but the engaging and emotional narrative and incredible soundtrack are what will ensure you stick around. Rakuen is currently only available on PC, Mac, and Linux, and it's only $3 until May 12 on Steam as part of its five-year anniversary celebration. 
Anodyne 2: Return to Dust
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Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is a unique 3D platformer and 2D adventure game mash-up where you control a character named Nova who is trying to help free people whose minds are taken over by Nano Dust. While the adventure starts as a 3D platformer styled after games from the early 2000s, delving into a character's mindscape switches the experience to a 2D style reminiscent of classic Zelda games. It's an ambitious blend of styles that gets more grand and meta than you'd expect.
Sean Han Tani and Marina Kittaka of Analgesic Productions created the game, and they've proven themselves to be among the most clever indie developers working today. Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is available across PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. And if you like Anodyne 2, then you might want to check out the original Anodyne, which is available on all of the same platforms.
Battle Chef Brigade

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