from the mod-squad dept
For some reason, it seems that there is an industry issue heating up among video game developers and publishers over their modding communities. We’ve begun to see a flurry of stories on the topic lately and perhaps the most impressive thing about those stories is how wildly binary they are. Nintendo tends to Nintendo, for instance, where control is valued over building a community of fans. Other publishers, like CD Projekt Red and Bethesda go the completely opposite direction and not only embrace the modding communities for their games, but also sometimes simply hire talented modders directly to their payroll.
Take-Two Interactive, the publishers of the Grand Theft Auto franchise and the subject of this post, has a history of bullying ambitious modders into shutting down. The company has recently put this practice into overdrive, going after all kinds of modding teams working on current and past GTA games, with the speculation being that it’s all being done because of a forthcoming remaster of some of those older games.
Well, the hostility has gotten bad enough that some fan-run projects are simply shutting down before the legal threats start flying. That appears to be the case with an incredibly ambitious mod for GTA: San Andreas.
As a result of this hostility, GTA Underground lead developer dkluin wrote in a post yesterday on the GTAForums that they and the other modders working on the project were now “officially ceasing the development” of GTA: Underground.
“Due to the increasing hostility towards the modding community and imminent danger to our mental and financial well-being,” explained dkluin, “We sadly announce that we are officially ceasing the development of GTA: Underground and will be shortly taking all official uploads offline.”
The mod had aimed at putting all the historical cities from GTA games on a single map, while also developing new home-grown cities for people to play in. Work on it began in 2014, when dkluin was a teenager. As is so often the case with this sort of thing, this was a labor of love by a modder and a community that clearly love the GTA games. But, with Take-Two again set to release a bunch of GTA remasters sometime in the future, the lawyers have been sic’d on all kinds of mods.
In its fair well video by dkluin, where they announce the end of development and then thank all who contributed to it, the comments were almost universally negative towards Take-Two. Examples include:
- I hate how anti-modding Take2 is towards modding, even for games that are nearly two decades old
- Been watching this since evolve since 2014. Truly tragic, I don’t even see the benefit of shutting these mods down from a business end unless T2 wants to achieve this same goal GTA Underground has but from a profit angle. But they’d never put all the cities from the 3D era in one map/client, so I don’t understand the move. This is like watching part of my teenage years die. I was 17 when I subbed to this channel, I am 25 now.
- One of the best mods we can see out there and this is the result, I hate Take-Two
It goes on from there, with hundreds of comments. Now replicate this anger across all the different mods that were developed or in development for a game that came out nearly 20 years ago. All of that very real anger felt by very real fans of GTA and all directed towards Take-Two is going to have some impact on the public’s willingness to keep buying Take-Two games.
Apparently the company is betting that such anger is not enough to outweigh the profits gained by remastering old GTA games and exerting strict control. I have my doubts that this was the best route for Take-Two to go.