Publisher Take-Two Interactive is getting some severe blowback after news got out about their legal team’s recent wave of Cease-and-Desist letters against the makers of GTA V’s most popular modding tools.
The most prominent target of the action is OpenIV, a multipurpose editor that allows for the creation and alteration of assets and scripts within Rockstar’s RAGE engine (which powers Grand Theft Auto IV, GTA V, and Max Payne 3) allowing for new game modes, characters, vehicles, and almost anything else users can think of. The project began in 2008 and is essentially the backbone for lots of innovations in the modding scene.
According to OpenIV’s twitter account, here’s what went down:
— OpenIV (@OpenIV) June 14, 2017
— GooD-NTS (@goodnts) June 14, 2017
With the team unwilling to fight the industry titan in a courtroom (a financially unviable decision for the developers), the OpenIV tool now displays this message upon opening the application:
What’s most disheartening is that the Grand Theft Auto modding community has been one of the most vibrant aspects of the game franchise’s storied history since 2001, when amateur artists and coders transformed GTA III into an even more chaotic playground on PC with developer Rockstar North’s full blessing. It was a symbiotic relationship, mods created more content for the games and drove sales, and oftentimes modders would even be hired to help improve the games they loved. This relationship first strained when modders unlocked the “Hot Coffee” minigame in San Andreas and unleashed the full fury of the political controvesey machine upon publisher Take-Two, but the collaborative spirit remained and GTA IV had a vibrant modding scene of its own.
Case in point:
But with the advent of piracy protection and DRM, the same tools that could break down a game into its component parts could also bypass a publisher’s security precautions. The continued popularity of GTA Online has made Take-Two protective of their IP, especially when THEY wish to be the sole provider of Los Santos based shenanigans (and maybe in exchange for a few dollars worth of “Shark Cash”).
In the aftermath, many fans have taken to Steam to voice their disapproval:
There’s plenty more of that where that came from. Emotions are running hot right now and Take-Two Interactive may back down in light of the fan response. But CEO Strauss Zelnick’s recent comments about his reluctance to “give stuff away for free” it might mean we’re in store for a bit of an intense staredown between business interests and fan demands.