The GTA V Modding Controversy
Over the years, mods have become an important part of the gaming world, helping to keep many old games relevant, correcting bugs and other snags in gameplay, and trying to make the game more fun by adding content. Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls series, and Rockstar Games’ GTA series are two franchises that have supported, and encouraged modding. So it came as a rather rude shock to the gaming community when Take-Two, Rockstar’s parent company, sent a cease-and-desist letter for the shutting down of OpenIV, GTA’s primary modding software, on June 5th. What ensued was a series of angry reactions from the game’s players, who poured in with negative reviews for the game on Steam, and even launched a petition that gathered nearly 80,000 signatures.
Amidst this confusion, Rockstar Games came out with a comment which desperately tried to balance its allegiance to Take-Two, and its reputation amongst fans, stating that this step wasn’t “specifically targeting single player mods” and were meant to stop “recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody” (via PCGamer). Since then, it seems that an understanding of sorts have been reached between the two opposing parties, with an update being released for OpenIV that allows single player modding while prohibiting interference with the game’s online portal. The statement published on Rockstar Games’ website seems positive, for now:
“Rockstar Games believes in reasonable fan creativity and, in particular, wants creators to showcase their passion for our games. After discussions with Take-Two, Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties. This does not apply to (i) multiplayer or online services; (ii) tools, files, libraries, or functions that could be used to impact multiplayer or online services, or (iii) use or importation of other IP (including other Rockstar IP) in the project. This is not a license, and it does not constitute endorsement, approval, or authorization of any third-party project. Take-Two reserves the right to object to any third-party project, or to revise, revoke and/or withdraw this statement at any time in their own discretion. This statement does not constitute a waiver of any rights that Take-Two may have with respect to third-party projects.”
What remains to be seen is whether Take-Two continues to stick with this lenient approach in the future, or we can expect a more restrictive environment for modders in the GTA series.