GTA Mods: How Take-Two Interactive’s Campaign Against Mods Hurts Older Games and Also Future Releases

Take-Two's campaign against mods has caused a major rift.

GTA 5 Mods

As of late, Take-Two Interactive and the GTA franchise have been in the headlines for seemingly all the wrong reasons. Whether it was the publisher’s decision to keep a 8-year old title alive and have it release on three different console generations or the parent company, Take-Two Interactive, launching a seemingly misguided and confusing campaign against mods of GTA games.

Specifically, Take-Two has been targeting mods pertaining to older games in the series, and even more precisely, the games referred to as the PS2 trilogy. These refer to GTA III, San Andreas, and Vice City. The fanbase immediately took that as signal that a potential remaster is in the works, and that theory was helped by Rockstar announcing a “surprise” announcement for the 20th Anniversary of Grand Theft Auto III come October, 2021.

While the community would certainly love a couple of remasters, they would just as gladly like to hold on their favourite mods as they provide the best way to experience these 15-year old games. So, while there might be a bigger plan in motion at Take-Two Interactive, them banning a slew of mods across the board is bound to have lasting effects, not just on titles of the past, but the ones that are still to come as well.

Take-Two’s campaign against older GTA mods cannot end well for the community as well as the company

Keeping games relevant

Simply put, perhaps the biggest reasons why a major chunk of the audience of the GTA games has been able to go back and enjoy games in the series’ past. That is not to say that the games themselves have no qualities to offer by themselves, but who wouldn’t love to see improved visuals through the help of mods on some of their favourite games of the past?

The GTA modding community is one that has always been looked at for inspiration as it has constantly been responsible for some of the most popular mods in the gaming community. From complete graphic overhauls to something as deeply satisfying as a portal gun in GTA, there is no stone left unturned when it comes to pushing the boundaries of what mods are capable of. For many, the multiplayer mods for Vice City and San Andreas remain perhaps the source of some of their favourite gaming memories in the last couple of decades. Way before players had RP, MTA was helping players experience multiplayer in Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas. These aren’t just mods that help enhance experience by adding a bunch of high-def reflections and water-sprinkled roads, these are essential tools provided to players that makes these games still relevant.

In turn, Rockstar Games’ back catalog of older GTA games continue to sell quite well and remain in the public eye despite their age. For instance, one of the biggest reasons why Grand Theft Auto V continues to hover around the top of sales and Twitch charts isn’t just on the back of the quality of the game, but also the fact that Grand Theft Auto Roleplaying Mods essentially provided players with a completely new way to experience the game. It changed the narrative of GTA V becoming stale, and rest assured, Rockstar is bound to have taken note, which means players can expect some kind of Roleplaying element in the future iteration of Grand Theft Auto Online.

Take-Two isn’t a fan of older mods, or so it might seem

Reverse Engineered GTA III
The takedown of the reverse-engineered GTA III mod was met with apprehension from the community.

If the community essentially lands a hand when it comes to keeping games alive, successful, and relevant – then the company should ideally have zero issues. That was the case until the past year for Take-Two Interactive as they were perfectly happy letting the community take the reigns and help keep these games alive any way they saw fit. But, now when the company has plans for releasing those same games in a remastered bundle, these mods are suddenly now inconvenient?

To be perfectly clear, Take-Two has every right to try and protect their intellectual property and their reasoning for banning these mods have been quite obtuse to say the least. For one, the company explains that they ban mods in cases of when the “economy is threatened” or there is “bad behaviour”, and these are about as vague and non-committal a response as one could have asked for.

Despite their claims of otherwise, it seems quite clear why Take-Two have been so relentless in their pursuit against mods – they would prefer if the only way to experience these older games at their best was through the company itself. They would much rather have a remastered collection out that players can purchase rather than them getting free mods that do the job just as well, if not even better, in some cases.

How this hurts the GTA franchise going into the future

It doesn’t take much to figure out that a video game franchise is only successful if the audience is invested in the series and the developer-publisher have a healthy relationship with the community. There have been several cases of the community turning on the publisher or vice versa and this definitely feels like a case of the latter, with the publisher’s parent community actively antagonising their own community.

This will ultimately lead to modders abandoning the franchise, effectively taking away one of the series’ most beloved aspects. Simply put, once mods go away, there will be a severe lack of interest in older games in the franchise as they simply would be rendered obsolete quite quickly, and the modding community will not lend a hand.

For instance, the Roleplaying modding community are sure to be a little skeptical about continuing with GTA RP right now as Take-Two could decide to do an RP game in the GTA series, thus, shutting down tons of RP mods in the process. This will definitely cause modders to be wary of GTA and potentially abandon the series in the future, which will definitely be a sad day in gaming history. As a result, the lifespan of a GTA game will not be the decade-spanning behemoth that it is today, it will essentially become a more disposable series than it is today.

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I possess the dexterity of a toddler when it comes to fighting games, but the confidence of a hundred Jay-Zs. Absolutely love narrative-driven games - with a particular obsession with indie side scrollers and retro wave scores. Currently playing: Deliver Us the Moon.