Grand Theft Auto has always had a robust modding community, but many of the GTA modders in the scene are finding themselves in Take-Two’s crosshairs. While takedown notices have been a thing in the past from Take-Two, especially earlier this year when looking at Vice City, it appears that the company is ramping up the aggression towards Grand Theft Auto mod creators and has been for the past several weeks.
The latest wave of takedowns has been targeting some of the bigger mod projects out there, including the total conversion mod called GTA: Liberty City. For those that may not know, this mod recreated Grand Theft Auto 3 using Vice City’s engine (not unlike Skywind over in camp Bethesda). As spotted by PC Gamer, GTA: Liberty City is no longer listed as available. The same can be said of GTA: underground, the Liberty City Stories ports, and more.
Djluin via PC Gamer
The modding community has been banding together to track which projects are being taken down and which ones are (so far) surviving. For those interested in tracking this, the GTAForums has been at the epicenter of this particular niche in the modding community, which can be found here.
Nintendo is another major company that is very much against the creation of mods, though Rockstar, in the past at least, has been a little more lenient. The initial wave of bans mostly targeted either total conversion mods or those that impact multiplayer settings to avoid cheats. Back in 2017 (later updated in 2019), Rockstar tweaked its support page with the below message regarding single-player mods and if those would be exempt from takedowns:
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; or (iv) making new games, stories, missions, or maps. 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.
The amendment regarding making new games and content using Rockstar IPs, such as the overhaul mods that provide new content and “importation of other IPs,” like the Liberty City and Vice City Stories ports, would not be allowed. This changed wording was not found in the original copy back in 2017 and did explain why certain mods are being taken down in recent weeks.
There are always talks about Grand Theft Auto 6; it’s a minefield of leaks, rumors, and false reports, but the recent aggression towards mods seems to be fueling those GTA 6 fires. A large portion of the GTA community seems to think that this wave of bans is indicative of Rockstar being more protective of the property because of something related to the next Grand Theft Auto. Others think that this could mean a possible remake or remaster could be on the horizon, and that’s why the older mods are being suddenly taken down. At this time, we’ve got nothing but questions, but we’re interested in seeing if there is a bigger reason behind the renewed fervor.