Bethesda’s first new IP in decades, Starfield, launches in September, but unreleased gameplay footage is already making the rounds. However, after sharing almost an hour of Starfield’s opening scenes weeks before launch, it seems the source was arrested.
The debacle began at the start of the week when said leaker posted low-quality videos of himself playing Starfield. Most of the original uploads are no longer available. YouTube’s takedowns cite copyright claims by ZeniMax Media, Bethesda’s parent company, and removed within hours of going live early on August 22.
However, this didn’t seem to dissuade the original uploader. Additional videos later followed featuring himself with several copies of Starfield for sale ahead of the official release date. The original uploads are gone, but other users reposted some of the videos. One line in particular, “Todd, no offense man, that’s a good game,” seems to have endeared itself already as new internet lingo.
— Rebs Gaming (@Mr_Rebs_) August 22, 2023
Naturally, Starfield leaks drew quite a few critical looks. Many of them grew suspicious as the leaker listed copies of Starfield, along with several other items, on the online store Mercari (where his profile seems to have since been deleted). In a bid to prove authenticity, he posted additional videos of himself sending sealed copies of the game to buyers via FedEx.
Not long after, a record of what appears to be the leaker’s arrest emerged via Recently Booked and the Shelby County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office site, as reported by Kotaku. Booked as 29-year-old Darin Harris, his charges include two theft of property counts – one felony and a misdemeanor. At the moment, there’s no official word linking the leaks and charges. However, the person behind them did not seem to conceal their identity.
If they are related, it wouldn’t be the first time crimes involving big publishers landed someone in legal trouble. In 2022, a 17-year-old was arrested in the UK for a hacking spree and GTA 6 leaks. HoYoVerse has also pursued individuals over Genshin Impact leaks, seeking information to obtain identifying information through Discord subpoenas.