Lost Titanic Submarine Has Been Found…Inside GTA 5

Gif: Rockstar Games / SkylineGTRFreak / Kotaku

One of the biggest slow motion tragedies in recent memory appears to have wrapped up with a bad if not altogether shocking ending. The lost OceanGate Expeditions Titan submersible is now believed to have imploded on its way to the Titanic wreck, and in fact the U.S. Navy apparently knew this shortly after the billionaire pet project originally went missing. But the memory of this bizarre cultural moment will live on inside Grand Theft Auto V by way of a fan mod that allows players to take their own jerry-rigged contraption into perilous waters around Rockstar’s fictional San Andreas.

Released on June 22, “Oceangate Titan Submersible 1.0” was made with OpenIV and already has nearly 1,000 downloads. Created by SkylineGTRFreakm the mod adds a fully “divable” and driveable submersible that looks just like OceanGate’s Titan to GTA V (the same modder previously added a Chinese Spy Balloon mod to the game as well). Because it’s a reskin of the hit game’s existing subs, the hatch is on the top and only one player can occupy it at a time. Though maybe the real-life Titan should have only had an occupancy of one as well. And of course both can be operated using a video game controller.

Here it is in action:

For anyone who hasn’t closely been following the saga of the missing Titan crew, a group of five people, including OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, went missing last weekend shortly after diving down to checkout the ruins of the Titanic. It was a risky voyage made even more dangerous by the fact that Rush’s submersible used off-the-shelf parts, lacked various safety certifications, and had seemingly been flagged by others as generally not a good idea.

A search and rescue operation led by the U.S. Coast Guard ensued under the assumption that the crew had roughly 96 hours of oxygen if their vessel had remained intact. On June 22, however, shortly after a piece of wreckage believed to be from the Titan was discovered near the Titanic ruins, The Wall Street Journal reported that specialized U.S. Navy equipment had detected what some believed to be the sound of the Titan imploading several days earlier.

Read More: Everyone’s Learning About Gabe Newell’s Deep-Sea Submarine Now

In lieu of that information, a bunch of weird and conflicting things managed to play out online in the conversation around the missing sub, including the emergence of the Blink-182 concert guy and ste-son of one of the billionaire crew members getting in a fight with Cardi B. People dying is sad. But also the people dying were all very rich guys (and one rich guy’s son) who seemingly knew that getting in a giant metal coffin and taking it to one of the deepest parts of the ocean is a bad idea. Nearly 100 people died when a migrant boat recently capsized off the coast of Greece and barely anyone paid attention.

Maybe it’s both true that there were a ton of funny jokes about the lost Titan sub and that getting crushed at the bottom of the ocean in the human equivalent of a tin of sardines is incredibly disturbing. What could be a more fitting addition to GTA V’s own “first as tragedy, then as farce,” modern caricature of the world.


GTA Online Publisher Execs Get $72M Thanks To Player Spending

According to new documents, GTA, Borderlands, and NBA 2K publisher Take-Two Interactive is paying two of its top execs over $70 million this year, over twice what it paid the same executives last year. And that number could increase next year, as players continue to spend more and more on in-game purchases.

It’s no secret that some video game publishers pay their top executives a lot of money. But in the horrible world of corporate capitalism, numbers can always go up. For example, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick and President Karl Slatoff were paid a combined $30,040,000 last year. A very large number, sure! But as previously reported, their new contracts were designed to reward them for how well the company performed. A large chunk of that performance-based payout is directly connected to how much money the company is bringing in from “recurrent consumer spending,” aka microtransactions and battle passes. And it turns out, over the last year, a lot of people have spent a lot of money buying shit in various Take-Two-owned video games.

The revelation came about as Take-Two Interactive just released its annual proxy filing to stock owners. And disclosed in the publicly accessible SEC filing (h/t Axios) was the confirmation that over the past year Zelnick and Slatoff were paid a combined (and hard-to-fathom) $72,350,718 via a mix of cash and stock. The top execs are part of their own management company, ZMC. Take-Two pays ZMC that large sum of money and it is split between the two in a contract that Axios points out gives Slatoff no more than 40 percent.

Dig a bit deeper into that massive number and you’ll see that a sizable piece of ZMC’s payday, around $44 million, is directly influenced by Take-Two’s performance. Specifically, nearly 25 percent of that is based on Take-Two expecting an increase in people buying up microtransactions in popular games like NBA 2K23 and GTA Online, as well as Take-Two’s mobile games.

What does this mean? Well, if the two execs lead the company in a way that sees MTX spending increase, their next payday could skyrocket beyond a combined $70 million. But if in-app purchases decrease or fail to grow, they could see a decrease in compensation.

So, with all that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that practically every Take-Two published game and franchise is filled to the brim with extra ways to buy digital stuff. The people in charge can’t buy more fancy cars and big yachts otherwise, which might explain the slot machines in NBA 2K.


Rockstar Preps For GTA 6 By Buying Popular Roleplay Community

The team behind the biggest Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 role-playing communities, Cfx.re, is officially becoming part of Rockstar Games. The new partnership comes ahead of the possible launch of GTA VI in 2024, and will lead to an updated policy that officially allows the addition of mods created in the FiveM and RedM communities to the hit open-world games.

“Over the past few years, we’ve watched with excitement as Rockstar’s creative community have found new ways to expand the possibilities of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, particularly through the creation of dedicated roleplay servers,” Rockstar wrote in an August 11 blog post on its website. “As a way to further support those efforts, we recently expanded our policy on mods to officially include those made by the roleplay creative community.”

In addition to allowing users to make all sorts of mods for GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2, the Cfx.re team’s FiveM and RedM clients are also the nexus for massive role-playing communities around the games who use dedicated servers to make elaborate worlds where individual players take on various roles from criminal and civilian to create a more authentic online open world experience.

Read More: Everything We Know About Grand Theft Auto 6

“This is a huge step forward in the growth of our community, and an opportunity for us to work with Rockstar Games to advance the FiveM platform and the creative community surrounding it,” Cfx.re wrote in a statement. “While our day-to-day operations won’t have any noticeable changes, with Rockstar’s support, we are going to continue to improve our platform and we are truly excited for what this means for our users, community, and creators!”

It’s a massive change for a company like Rockstar that has historically treated modding communities like renegade outlaws. “The FiveM project is an unauthorized alternate multiplayer service that contains code designed to facilitate piracy,” the company stated back in 2015. “Our policy on such violations of our terms of service are clear, and the individuals involved in its creation have had their Social Club accounts suspended.” One FiveM modder even claimed at the time that GTA publisher Take-Two sent private investigators to their house to shut their work down.

While the Cfx.re team’s efforts are currently based on GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s not hard to imagine this new partnerhsip becoming an important basis for jumpstarting the player community around GTA VI whenever it launches. Take-Two has previously hinted that the game could arrive as early as next year, just over a decade after the previous game’s release. During that time, GTA V has remained a monthly best-seller on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, and GTA Online’s in-game microtransactions continue to line the company’s pockets.


Gamescom Showcase Interrupted By Bill Clinton GTA 6 Guy

Geoff Keighley and a rogue audience member stand on stage at Games Com Opening Night.

Screenshot: The Game Awards / Kotaku

Game Awards host Geoff Keighley has once again been accosted by an irreverent, clout-chasing youth, this time at the 2023 Gamescom Opening Night Live showcase. A man rushed the stage to tell the audience that “Bill Clinton wants to play GTA VI.” Keighley’s disappointment was palpable.

The incident occurred in the opening minutes of the multi-hour “celebration” of gaming, between Starfield composer Inon Zur performing one of the main themes from the open-world sci-fi RPG and director Todd Howard coming on stage to walk viewers through the gameplay. Keighley was gloating about getting to play the game early right before an audience member walked up the platform and tried to get a few seconds on the host’s hot mic.

“Very disappointing,” Keighley said several times as stagehands escorted the man and his friend out of the room.

The unscripted interruption recalled a moment during last year’s Game Awards ceremony when a kid snuck up on stage behind the Elden Ring development team and proceeded to talk nonsense about Bill Clinton and Orthodox Judaism. He was eventually detained and questioned by police before later being released and revealed to be Matan Even, an online troll who had gone viral for several in-person stunts in the past.

“This is such a special night for so many developers and it’s really dissapointing to see someone act that way but we’re gonna move right on with the show,” Keighley said today. “Really it’s just so sad to see something like this happen on a night we’re here to celebrate games hand how much they mean to us.”

Fortunately, Howard showed up moments later to the swelling music of Starfield without missing a beat. He said it was his first time ever at Gamescom.


GTA 6 Leaker Hacked Rockstar With An Amazon Fire Stick In Hotel

The leaker who accessed GTA VI details from Rockstar Games allegedly did so using an Amazon Fire Stick in an England hotel, according to a BBC report.

Read More: Everything We Know About Grand Theft Auto 6

The British publication reported that, according to court documents filed in the UK, 18-year-old Arion Kurtaj was “caught red handed” when the City of London Police searched his Travelodge hotel—where he was being held on bail after his March 2022 arrest for hacking chip manufacturer Nvidia—in the south-central England town of Bicester. There, law enforcement found the digital media player connected to the hotel room’s TV, which allowed Kurtaj to infiltrate cloud computing services with a keyboard, mouse, and smartphone.

This setup let him best the likes of global neobank Revolut, rideshare service Uber, tech giant Microsoft, and game publisher Rockstar Games. Kurtaj’s hack against Rockstar Games was described as his “most audacious”—not only because of his flagrant behavior during the hack, but because he executed it while on bail for other hacking-related crimes. Kurtaj even posted in the company’s Slack, telling staff he’s not an employee but “an attacker.”

Kurtaj claimed to have downloaded all of GTA VI’s data, stating that he’d release the source code unless Rockstar Games contacted him on the messaging app Telegram. It’s unclear if the publisher ever reached out to Kurtaj, but copious details about the game, from its female co-star to its Miami: Vice City setting, did leak online last year—though we don’t know for sure if Kurtaj was behind it all. The leak was so bad that Rockstar Games, after years of silence about the next installment in the GTA series, finally confirmed the game’s existence on X (formerly Twitter) in February 2022. It was an enormous leak, so if you missed any of it, I recommend you check out Kotaku’s post on everything we’ve learned about GTA VI since the hack occurred.

As a key member of the “digital bandits” known as the Lapsus$ group, Kurtaj didn’t work alone. As reported by the BBC, an unnamed 17-year-old was also booked for his involvement with the hacks. While other members of the cyber-crime gang, allegedly operating out of both Brazil and the UK, are thought to still be at large, the two teenagers have been arrested for their alleged crimes.

Kotaku reached out to Rockstar for comment.

Read More: GTA 6’s Leak Showed Us The Future, Now It’s Hard To Care About GTA Online

Kurtaj is still in custody, while the unnamed teenager is out on bail. Both culprits will be sentenced at a later date, according to the BBC.


GTA Online’s New Update Adds Ghosts And An Urban Legend

Grand Theft Auto Online’s latest update unleashes ghosts across the world of Los Santos, letting players track down and photograph them for rewards. And one of these ghosts might look kinda familiar if you’ve played GTA IV’s Lost and the Damned DLC

Every October for years now, GTA Online has enjoyed an influx of spooky new game modes and creepy secrets to celebrate the Halloween season. Last time it was killer cars and aliens. This year, Rockstar has added 10 ghosts to the online crime sim and tasked players with photographing these haunting spirits. One of these phantoms is returning GTA character Johnny Klebitz, making real an old GTA urban legend.

GTA Series Videos / Rockstar Games

Fans have already figured out where and when all 10 ghosts appear, as seen in the video above. They’re spread out all around the large GTA Online map. Some appear in places you’d expect, like old cemeteries or abandoned homes. Others are chilling near waterfalls or inside trailers. The ghosts only appear during certain in-game hours, and players have to photograph them to “expose” them.

One of these ghosts is not like the others…

Once you’ve captured the first nine ghosts—who appear to be random, generic characters—on film, you can find a 10th and final ghost in Sandy Shores, north of Los Santos.

This 10th apparition, haunting a trailer park, is none other than the ghost of Johnny Klebbitz, the protagonist from Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and the Damned. And, spoilers for a 10-year-old game, Klebitz was beaten to death by GTA V protagonist Trevor Phillips in the opening hours of that game. In fact [lowering voice and putting a flashlight under chin] he was killed in the same spot where, a decade later in 2023, his ghost now lingers! According to players visiting Klebitz’s spirit, you can hear him yelling about Trevor before you snap a pic.

Seeing the ghost of a former GTA protagonist is a neat Easter egg by itself, but this is also Rockstar making real a previously debunked urban legend that after Klebitz was killed you could find his ghost hanging around the Sandy Shores trailer park. Although players claimed to hear his ghost yelling or found evidence of his spirit haunting the area, these were all lies and hoaxes spread online in the years following GTA V’s release.

Once you’ve found Klebbitz’s ghost and have captured the final photo of him, you’ll walk away with $250,000, 5,000 XP, and a new skin for the Albany Brigham vehicle. This new skin turns the car into a legally distinct ride that resembles a certain ghost bustin’ vehicle from the movies. A pretty sweet reward for a fun round of Halloween shenanigans.


GTA 6 ‘Leak’ Has Fans Hopeful A Big Reveal Is Imminent (Again)

A 4chan user alleges they’ve watched a new trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI, Rockstar Games’ years-in-the-making action-adventure game that’s already been leaked so hard we might as well call it a river. And GTA fans, always eager for the smallest morsel about their upcoming obsession, seemed ready to turn off their critical faculties and enjoy a sweet dose of hopium.

Fans on Reddit in particular got worked up, clinging to the October 26 trailer release date the 4chan user claimed to have seen (or lifted from a GTA leaker on Twitter, who “confirmed” in September that the 26th would be important), as well as the supposed game details 4chan’s alleged leaker claimed to have memorized (many of which were previously provided by 2022’s info flood). The fans don’t fully believe the 4channer, they say, but…what if?

GTA lovers have been clinging onto “what if?” for most of the decade since Grand Theft Auto V released. They’re aching badly for more big-time crime in Rockstar’s huge, seedy, cynical worlds, so much so that they see portals to it everywhere. This dirt road in Virginia is shaped like a roman “6”—surely that’s a sign. The golden femmebot embracing the Rockstar logo in some random promotional art is also a sign, somehow, that GTA 6 is on its way. This nondescript photo of a flat house in the recent San Andreas remaster, nestled next to images of instantly recognizable Rockstar environments, is a sign, too, as is this t-shirt in GTA Online.

Rockstar, of course, remains habitually silent through all of this all-consuming sleuthing; it hasn’t made any official GTA 6 announcements since 2022, when it informed fans in a Twitter post that the game’s development “is underway.” GTA obsessives have had to make their own fun since then.

Kotaku reached out to Rockstar for comment.

Read More: GTA 6 Leaker Hacked Rockstar With Just An Amazon Fire Stick In A Hotel Room

“Saved this for the 26th,” a popular Reddit comment said about the 4chan post, which claims the predicted October 26 trailer will reveal “two cars drag racing,” “underwear guy running down street with snake,” “ferris wheel,” and about two dozen other Mad Libs entries. “I don’t believe it but we’ll see.”

“idec if its fake,” wrote another commenter, “the miniscule chance that it’s real is enough to get me going.”

“Hope is a beautiful thing,” someone replied.

Publisher Take-Two expects GTA 6 by 2025, suggests its financial forecasts—but those are also subject to wishful thinking.

GTA 6 Patent Hints At Rockstar’s Most Immersive Game Yet

A recently uncovered Rockstar Games patent suggests the developer could be using new technology to make NPCs in its games more immersive, particularly when it comes to the highly anticipated action-adventure crime sim GTA VI.

As spotted by Reddit user Tobbelobben30 (via Eurogamer), former Rockstar Games lead AI and gameplay programmer Tobias Kleanthous issued a patent in April called “System And Method For Virtual Character Locomotion.” The 11-page document, as Kleanthous described on LinkedIn, was “architected and implemented for games” at the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption studio. According to the paper’s abstract, the patent houses “a system and method for controlling the animation and movement of in-game objects.” In layperson’s terms, Kleanthous’ tech should make characters way more life-like. Tobbelobben30 detailed the patent’s contents in their Reddit post:

“Based on this patent, it seems like they’re using a clever system. They’ve built a library of small building blocks for character movements. These blocks can be combined in various ways to create a wide range of animations. For instance, think about a character in the game walking in the rain, feeling tired, or getting injured. Instead of designing separate animations for each of these situations, they use these building blocks to put together the character’s movements naturally. This means GTA 6 can have more diverse and lifelike animations. So, when you play GTA 6, you’ll see characters moving in ways that match the weather, their energy level, and their injuries. This makes the game feel more immersive. It’s like having characters that can adapt to different situations, making the game world feel more real and thrilling.”

“Immersive” can so often be an empty marketing buzzword thrown around ahead of game releases, but when it comes to this patent, the adjective couldn’t be more apt. Based on the tech described, Rockstar Games’ games—particularly GTA IV—should have characters with more dynamic animations, giving their worlds unparalleled realism. While Tobbelobben30 couldn’t verify if the system was used in Red Dead Redemption 2, they did say that the animations in Rockstar’s upcoming game will be “incredible.” (Kleanthous gave a talk during GDC 2021 about some similar tech used in the cowboy RPG.)

Various Reddit users have shared their reactions to this new locomotion patent. “Yeah it’s gonna be mind-blowing, even in the leaks the animations and physics looked insane,” ArkhamIsComing2020 said, referring to leaked development footage from September 2022. “Soo procedural animation? Niceeeee,” quipped ProceduralFish. “So basically if my arm gets hit with a bat I won’t be able to shoot as well? That’s kinda cool,” noted rustynutsbruh.

Kotaku reached out to Rockstar Games and Tobbelobben30 for comment.

We still don’t have a definitive release date for Grand Theft Auto VI, despite learning a lot about the game in recent months and years. A plethora of details have been made public, though, including the city in which the game will take place and the characters we’ll play as, all thanks to an 18-year-old hacker who used an Amazon Fire Stick to gain access to Rockstar Games from a hotel room.


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