Take-Two Coming After GTA Mods That Are Keeping Their IP Relevant
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Take-Two Coming After GTA Mods That Are Keeping Their IP Fresh For Them

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BY July 20, 2021

It’s been nearly a decade since Grand Theft Auto 5 hit video game consoles and PCs, and it will be more than a decade by the time a sequel to that game is done. However, despite no new content for an entire generation of GTA kids, the game still enjoys an impressive player base. However, Take-Two Interactive Software is coming after GTA mods that help keep the game fresh because they can’t make any money from it. Take Two Interactive is the “holding company” for GTA, as well as franchises like Borderlands, BioShock, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Red Dead, and NBA 2K League to name a few. For now, it seems that the mods that make major foundational changes to existing games are the ones hit with takedown notices, but the entire mod community is worried.

As long as there have been games, smart fans have been making modifications, i.e. mods, for their favorite games. We’ve even crafted a beginner’s guide to using mods on PC games for those who want to improve their gaming experience. My personal experience with the mod community has been with the Mass Effect games, original and Legendary Edition. Without mods, I think my experience playing Mass Effect: Andromeda would have been significantly worse. The value of mods for games like GTA and other Take-Two titles is that it helps keep stagnant franchises alive and fresh in the minds of players. Yet, in issuing Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices to these modders is not just an insult to fans who love their product but also a terrible business strategy.

What GTA Mods Are Take-Two Coming After?

GTA mods Take-Two Grand Theft Auto III Vice City screenshot Image via Take-Two Interactive

We mentioned the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition above which is an upscaled version of the original game trilogy for modern consoles. This is a way to update old games that people enjoy replaying and introducing these titles to a new generation of gamers. Take-Two (or maybe, in this case, Rockstar Games) is not doing this with their old titles. So, that’s where the GTA modders step in. The mod GTA: Liberty City took the immensely popular Grand Theft Auto 3 and converted it for the engine that runs Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Effectively, this mod overwrites that game, giving life to a title whose original console went obsolete 15 years ago.

Rockstar put a notice to the GTA modding community on their site detailing their discussion with Take-Two about what sort of mods are okay. Yet, that portion of their site has been changed of late, according to GameInformer.com. Part of the message makes perfect sense. They forbid mods that would hack or change the online and multiplayer experiences, often because players compete with other players. If one has a mod working that another does not, this could effectively unbalance the experience. However, the new addition of language prohibiting overhaul mods is a slap in the face to GTA fans by Take Two.

Overhaul mods are what you get when fans step in to do what the developers cannot or will not do. In fact, the developers for the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition looked to the mod community for inspiration. These Mass Effect superfans created upscaled graphics, texture overhauls, and even improved character design. (Joker doesn’t have black teeth in a modded ME3!) And when it comes to GTA, the mod community is what is keeping Take-Two and their precious IP alive.

Why This is Foolish and Shortsighted on the Part of Take Two

GTA Funko Pop Petition Screenshot of Game Image via Take-Two Interactive

Despite a lack of new content for nearly ten years, the popularity of the GTA franchise persists. In fact, this very website featured a sponsored post from a fan or group of them hoping to convince Funko Pop to make GTA figures. Any time there are leaks about GTA 6 or other Rockstar games get canceled, people hope for something, anything new in the franchise. And there is reason to believe they are working on the game, especially after Rockstar acquired Ruffian Games in October of 2020. Still, even if they are hard at work on the much-anticipated game as I type these words, we are still years from the game being released. And if Take-Two is not going to invest money or time in upscaling old GTA titles for new audiences, they should appreciate the mods that do that for them for free.

Having played both the Legendary Edition and the original-but-heavily-modded Mass Effect games, I have to say the modded experience is superior. Most PC-playing ME fans likely agree, at least until the transformative Legendary Edition mods start rolling out. Not only did these mods not hurt the sales of the game, but allowing these mods (some which fundamentally change the game) has kept fans interested in the franchise. If EA or BioWare threatened those modders with legal action, the Legendary Edition may still have sold well, but everyone would be left with a bad taste in their mouths. Even if Take-Two doesn’t appreciate the GTA mod community, as they should, stopping them from overhauling their games could be what the player base needs to finally move on.

What do you think? Is Take-Two right in going after the GTA mod community, or do you agree that they help keep these titles from growing stale? Sound off in the comments below.

Featured image via Take-Two Interactive

GAMING

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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