Leaks have always been a part of the gaming industry. However, the prevalence of leaks has become much more frequent in recent years. There’s several reasons for this. Big titles generally have far more people working on them than ever before. It is not unusual for an AAA game to have hundreds or even thousands of people involved in development. Meanwhile, the internet allows leaks to be posted online anonymously and quickly spread across the world.
Unfortunately, this means that more and more titles are leaked long before their official release date. In some cases the leaks may just be a confirmation that a game is in the works. But at other times, the leaks can be far more damaging and ruin the experience for players completely.
There’s nothing worse than having a story twist or ending spoiled before you can play it. Yet, that’s exactly what happened with all of these leaks. Here are the worst leaks that ruined games before release.
The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II has been one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the last few years. Ever since the first game released in 2013, fans have wanted to see the conclusion to Ellie and Joel’s story. Following a delay to the game in the early parts of 2020, leaks began to emerge online. By April, practically every aspect of the game had been revealed online in a series of leaks. Important plot twists, new gameplay features, and the introduction of extra playable characters were posted in videos.
In October 2003, a German teenager hacked into Valve’s servers and stole the source code for the game Half-Life 2. The title had been due to be released that year but was delayed by 12 months. However, a year from launch, the source code was posted online, giving away details about much of the title’s action. Revelations about the plot as well as some of the settings were revealed, prompting Valve and the FBI to investigate the leak. Gabe Newell even appealed to the community to avoid sharing any spoilers or stolen copies of the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
In 2011, the gaming site Kotaku released a huge array of information about the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Apparently compiled from a variety of sources, the leak contained details on almost every piece of content in the game. This includes multiplayer maps, Spec Op missions, new characters, and plot information. The story spoilers were perhaps the worst part of the leak, revealing exactly what would happen to players as they advanced through the main campaign. Even worse was the fact that the leak came many months before the official launch, making it difficult to avoid the information.
Assassin’s Creed Unity
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has a long history with leaks. Practically every mainline game in the franchise has been leaked in some form or another. But the biggest and most costly was arguably the Assassin’s Creed Unity leak. Long before any official announcement had revealed the game, plenty of information surfaced online. Details such as the Paris setting, the new characters, and some plot points were spoiled. Of course, this meant that players were not surprised when the game eventually did release.
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
Almost two years before Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, there was a significant leak for the game. The entire ending cinematic, showcasing the conclusion of the story, was leaked online. While it was an early form of the cutscene, it proved to contain exactly the exact same content as the final release. That meant players had the ending for the title spoiled for them two years before the game had even been released. What’s worse is that Blizzard did little to change the cinematic in any way to surprise players.
Leaks about Bungie’s sci-fi shooter Destiny first emerged in November 2012. The details revealed at the time included concept art for the title along with information about plot and setting. Throughout the development of Destiny, more leaks continued to surface. While many of these turned out to be false, they painted a false picture of what players had come to expect from the game. That left many disappointed when it did release and had seemingly radically changed to what was first planned.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Just a month before Kingdom Hearts 3 was due to launch at the start of 2019, almost the entire game leaked online. The leaks came from copies that had somehow made it into the wild long before the release date. Footage from the title was published on sites such as YouTube while online forums detailed the plot. Fortunately, the epilogue was not included in the disc version so there were still some secrets for players. However, the developers still had to warn users to avoid possible spoilers and not share videos of the game.
Halo 2 was arguably one of Microsoft’s most important game releases. The sequel to Halo: Combat Evolved was highly anticipated and was expected to propel the original Xbox to new heights. Yet, just a few days after developer Bungie confirmed they had completed work on the title, it leaked online. Early copies had been stolen from manufacturers and uploaded to torrent sites. This allowed all the major plot details, missions, and secret content to be shared a month before it was due to release. The leak prompted Microsoft to aggressively pursue pirates to try and stop the title from being downloaded.