Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games has weighed in on publisher Take-Two Interactive's decision to issue a cease and desist order to the creator of a popular Grand Theft Auto 5 modding tool for PC players.
The homebrew software called OpenIV was shut down by its creators on Thursday following the alleged threat of legal action. OpenIV is well-regarded among the PC modding community and had been in circulation since 2008.
The unofficial editing tool has been used to create and install new vehicles, weapons and mechanics in the PC version of GTA 5 for years, and is largely responsible for the masses of GTA machinima - cinematic videos created using in-game assets - on YouTube.
According to a post by the creators of OpenIV on their website, Take-Two declared that the tool is "in violation Take-Two's rights" because it "allow[s] third parties to defeat security features" built into GTA 5.
The news sparked an immediate backlash among the modding community. The Steam page for GTA 5 has been bombarded with negative reviews with the majority criticising the publisher's actions and containing links to a "Save OpenIV" petition which has amassed 17,645 signatures at time of writing.
Rockstar has now issued a statement in an attempt to clarify Take-Two's stance (via Kotaku):
"Take-Two's actions were not specifically targeting single player mods," it reads. "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."
Rockstar has previously shown support for PC mods and the work of the community. An archived Q&A article on the developer's website, states: "We have always appreciated the creative efforts of the PC modding community... our primary focus is on protecting GTA Online against modifications that could give players an unfair advantage, disrupt gameplay, or cause griefing."
While OpenIV was designed and operated in a way intended to avoid interfering with the hugely popular online portion of GTA 5, Rockstar's statement today suggests that several mods have somehow slipped through the cracks, thus forcing Take-Two to address the situation.
Open IV's creators expressed their dismay at the decision, but noted that its decision to remove all download links and halt any future updates for the modding tool was unavoidable for the time being. In addition, users attempting to load Open IV are now greeted with a pop-up suggesting that it would be wise to uninstall Open IV with immediate effect "to avoid possible legal issues."
"We feared that this day would come... and now it's here. The day, when GTA modding was declared illegal," read a post on GTAForums.
"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. Spending time just to restore status quo is really unproductive, and all the money in the world can't compensate the loss of time. So, we decided to agree with their claims and we're stopping distribution of OpenIV."
"It was a hard decision, but when any modding activity has been declared illegal, we can't see any possibilities to continue this process, unless top management of Take-Two company makes an official statement about modding, which can be used in court."