This is an article about spoilers, though there won't be any spoilers in it. This is a piece about Grand Theft Auto V but really about what we—what you—want to know or not know.
This is a piece about knowledge, about information. It's about that seeming law of physics that guarantees that secrets can and will eventually emerge into the sunlight no matter how much concrete is poured on them.
We live in a moment that makes a mockery of secrecy, a moment of Assange and Snowden, of A-Rod and Anthony Weiner.
This is an age when it seems that, like it or not, secrets are going to break through—faster now than ever with the Internet as the ultimate enabler. It's a minor miracle that J.K. Rowling was able to publish a book under a pseudonym this past spring and not be outed until the summer. These days, the veil of secrecy increasingly is merely prelude to the inevitable failure of secrecy.
These days, the veil of secrecy increasingly is merely prelude to the inevitable failure of secrecy.
This past weekend, Grand Theft Auto V's secrets started to emerge almost four weeks early thanks to what appears to be a disastrously bungled bit of pre-order planning by the people at PlayStation. The leak brings to mind some big questions about what's worth knowing, what kind of good or harm this kind of thing does and how it affects both creators and gamers. Given that this appears to be something of a new status quo—last October's Resident Evil 6 leaked last August; last November's Halo 4 was being widely played last October—now is a good time to think hard about what we all really want to know just before a game comes out and what's worth panicking about if we know it.