Take-Two has chalked up another body in the GTA modding scene, and barely a week after Rockstar turned heads by buying up the FiveM mod makers. This time the victim was the creator of Sentient Streets, the AI mod that allowed you to chat with, cajole and extort the NPCs of Los Santos that we covered last week. Rockstar's parent company was none too happy with it, apparently, so all trace of it has now been blasted from the internet.
Both the Nexus Mods page for Sentient Streets and a YouTube video showing it off have been unceremoniously scrubbed out of existence following takedowns by Take-Two. The mod's creator, Bloc, took down the version of the mod hosted on GTA 5 Mods themself, for fear of that one eventually getting dinged by a DMCA as well. Bloc says the whole thing came completely out of the blue.
"Take-Two Interactive hit my channel with [a] copyright strike about my video on [the] GTA 5 mod and YouTube removed the video immediately without giving any chance to explain myself," wrote the modder in an update on YouTube. "No one from Take-Two Interactive contacted and ask [sic] me anything prior to this, they just took down the video out of nowhere".
The creator also says their account on Netlify—the site on which the Sentient Streets installation guide was hosted—has been suspended without notice, although Bloc says Netlify didn't offer an explanation, and admits there's a (slim) possibility it's a coincidence.
Bloc says they got in touch with the "claimant email address shown on YouTube"—a Take-Two email address—in the hope that the problem "might be a small misunderstanding," or at least that the company "could explain the reasoning behind it." But Take-Two hadn't responded by the time Bloc posted their update to YouTube yesterday.
"I would be happy to discuss that with Take-Two's contact person if they would just send me an email," said Bloc, "Instead, they chose a non-communicative approach." Bloc says that the reason Take-Two gave YouTube for taking down the video was that it used the company's software (that would be GTA 5) without permission, but questions how that can be a valid justification when "there are millions of YouTube videos [of GTA 5] on here at this very moment" that never encounter trouble. "Unfortunately, this seems to look like an excuse to attack and take a stance against the mod."
I've reached out to Rockstar to ask about the takedown of Sentient Streets, and I'll update this piece if I hear back.
It's a bit of a return to form for Take-Two and Rockstar both, which have long had a tempestuous relationship with the modders for their various games. Just last week, news broke that Rockstar had adopted an "if you can't beat them, buy them" attitude towards the GTA Online FiveM mod when it elected to buy the makers behind it after banning the mod eight years ago. Apparently that new charitable nature only goes so far.
Bloc is, perhaps understandably, rather put out by the whole situation. "As a person who grew up with the Grand Theft Auto series and enjoyed all the games throughout the years, this hostile attitude towards me and the mod is very disheartening," they wrote, adding that they hope "that anyone who enjoyed this mod will remember this dishonest action taken by Take-Two."
Not passing up an opportunity for a zinger, Bloc continued that, "Rather than chasing small mods," Take-Two and Rockstar should "focus on creating proper remakes with better pricing policy," or cease "removing cars from [GTA] Online to sell [those] same cars to people," a reference to Rockstar's June removal of a load of cars from GTA Online, which then only became available via a GTA+ subscription.
Bloc says they "don't have the resources to legally defend myself in this situation" and also simply doesn't want to "spend time on this," so I guess this is probably our final farewell to Sentient Streets. By way of conclusion, the modder quotes Rockstar's own words from last year: "Rockstar Games has always believed in reasonable fan creativity and wants creators to showcase their passion for our games."