[Update] Rockstar Updates Support Page With Clearer Statement On Grand Theft Auto Modding And Cheat Tool
Update 2: June 23 @ 3:15 p.m.
Rockstar Games has added a new page to its support site to address what we assume was an influx of customer service emails regarding its recent policy change. You can read the full post below.
Question: Are PC Single-Player Mods Allowed?
Answer: 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.
Update 1: June 17 @ 3:23 p.m.
Rockstar Games has provided Game Informer with an official statement clarifying the matter:
“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.”
Additionally, for-profit modding outfit Force Hax, who hosted the software, has replaced their website with their own statement:
"After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, effective immediately we are ceasing all maintenance, development and distribution of the Force Hax cheat menu services. We will be donating our proceeds to charity and we apologize for any and all problems Force Hax services have caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online Community."
The "donating our proceeds to charity" portion of the statement was at the request of Rockstar itself, the company confirmed to Game Informer.
Original Story: The Grand Theft Auto modding scene has been enormously popular, with fans tweaking and adding new things to the game (like the Crysis nanosuit, pictured above) since its release. It made for a cool way to keep the game alive past its expiration date and lead to some fun videos. Unfortunately, GTA publisher Take-Two has decided to put a stop to it.
As Motherboard reports, the lead developer behind the leading GTA modding software, OpenIV, has announced via his Twitter that Take-Two sent them a cease-and-desist letter on June 5. In the letter, Take-Two cites the mods ability "to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation of Take-Two's rights."
The developer, GooD-NTS, was aware his modding tool was always in a legal grey area, and had anticipated the cease-and-desist would one day arrive. In 2015 they told Motherboard that developer Rockstar wanted "modding dead," and was using a new algorithm to slow modders down. Good-NTS is also not planning on fighting the cease-and-desist in court. "Going to court will take at least few months of our time and huge amount of efforts, and, at best, we'll get absolutely nothing," they said in a forum post. Spending time just to restore status quo is really unproductive, and all the money in the world can't compensate the loss of time."
Companies have every right to shut down any fan-created projects that might interfere with their bottom line or user experience. That said, it's always a bummer to see something that gave a game a new way to shine get axed.