Grand Theft Auto V players are pretty pissed off right now. For years, an enormously popular modding tool called OpenIV has enabled passionate players and content creators to mod game files and do incredible things with GTA V and GTA IV. This isn’t new. Players have been modding GTA games since Grand Theft Auto III. But for one reason or another, Take-Two (who owns Rockstar) decided to shut it all down, and fans are lashing out by bombarding the game with overwhelmingly negative reviews on Steam.
Well there’s an interesting trend. In an instant, fan-reception transformed from generally very positive, to outright hostile. To be clear, this isn’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings. Take-Two made more than enough money on GTA V on opening day, and the game has continued to sell incredibly well since then on every platform. This isn’t about preventing would-be customers from buying the game and giving Take-Two more money, it’s about sending a message. That message is “f#*! you.”
Most of the negative feedback is stemming from a lack of communication on Take-Two’s part. No one knows why it decided to suddenly outlaw modding of GTA V, and there’s a commonly held sentiment that Take-Two has no idea how many of its players the ban is affecting. Hobbies are being destroyed; peoples’ hard work is being demonized, and an art form is dying.
So what did Rockstar actually say?
Rockstar’s Statement, Developer’s Response
We don’t have the full contents of Rockstar’s cease and desist yet. OpenIV’s lead developer has posted very tactfully on the matter, and hasn’t yet revealed exactly what Rockstar had to say, except that they made some very clear threats citing Russian law violations. Their official statement, sent to PC Gamer, reads as follows:
“Take-Two’s actions were not specifically targeting single player mods. Unfortunately OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody. We are working to figure out how we can continue to support the creative community without negatively impacting our players.”
Fans aren’t buying this, and neither is OpenIV’s lead developer, who responded:
“OpenIV, ‘Liberty City in GTA V’ and all other mods/projects from my team and me are only specific for Single player. Rockstar must be well aware about the fact that you cannot access GTA Online while you have installed any OpenIV mod.
“The statement ‘Unfortunately OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody,’ is just wrong and they know it. OpenIV does not allows or supports any kind of GTA Online mods. We always supported Rockstar in their right to protect GTA Online from hacks and cheats. But, Take-Two’s C&D was specific for out Singleplayer mods and have no mentions about GTA Online.”
So what is the community saying?
What are the reviews saying?
The reviews are getting pretty nasty. Here’s a brief snippet of some of the more recent reveiewers who actually had something to say:
“So much time and effort put into the tool so that people could make the game their own and it’s all gone due to the greed of Rockstar and TakeTwo. I will never buy another Rockstar game after this and it was bad enough as it was with them turning onlline play from something basic and fun in GTA IV into a greed propeled grindfest.”
“Would be great with modding support.”
“Once again a huge step down. This is unacceptable in my opinion. Banning mods which are for hacking only is ok but trying to destroy the great modding community in gta is just a very bad move. “
There’s a narrative spreading like wildfire that Take-Two is proving to be anti-consumer and hostile toward its community with its actions, and that’s not good for business.
So what can you do about it? Sign the petition.
Petition to Take-Two
There’s a petition on change.org that the originator plans to send to Rockstar with upward of 100K signatures. At the time or writing, over fifty-thousand of you have already signed in support. Here’s what the petition says:
“For 10 years now the Grand Theft Auto series has been edited and modded by people to make the game more enjoyable. Hundreds if not thousands of people have bought one or all of Grand Theft Auto: SA, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Grand Theft Auto V just to mod it. The modding of these games have been done mostly in singleplayer and with the help of OpenIV, a software that lets you get into the game’s files and replace vehicles, scripts, textures, etc.
“The closing of OpenIV leaves 10,000s of people without access to be able to mod their games, and leaves 10,000s of people without the ability to continue their hobbies. All modding used by OpenIV is for singleplayer use only to make the game more enjoyable, the software OpenIV was never used to mod multiplayer or Grand Theft Auto Online so it does not harm anyone.
“Myself, and other members of the LSPDFR and GTA modding community ask that OpenIV be allowed to continue distributing and running as a modding software, and that the modding of the Grand Theft Auto series, including SA, IV, and V be deemed legal again as Rockstar Games has said in the past. Thank you. “
So what’s your take on the matter? Should modding be allowed as long as it doesn’t affect online? Once you own a product, is it yours to tinker with however you like? Weigh in below.