Update: I hadn't noticed when I first spotted this story, but Ubisoft creative director Julian Gerighty has tweeted that he will "look into" the permabanning of Matti Hietanen, who made a photo mode for The Division's PvE areas (see original story below).
Hey Matti, I'll check this out today. Love your work and would like to see more.February 9, 2018
Capturing the perfect screenshot in your favourite game can be a chore: sometimes you can't disable the UI, find the right camera angle, or wait for a change in the weather to light the scene just the way you want. That's why photo modes exist, and it's why Matti Hietanen has been making Cinematic Tools for games like Battlefield 1, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and The Division. But the last of those has landed him in hot water—Ubisoft has permanently banned him from its open-world shooter.
Hietanen first made the programme in 2016 but was doing some major updates last week to ensure the tools worked in The Division. Cinematic Tools lets you turn off the HUD, freely move the camera, change the weather, set the time of day and freeze time to let you line up the perfect shot. While still a work in progress, it was generating some impressive snaps, particularly of the game's snowy New York streets.
Lovely day in New York // The Division pic.twitter.com/8FGwMsicobFebruary 4, 2018
But Ubisoft, perhaps predictably, wasn't having any of it. Within a couple of days of releasing the latest Cinematic Tools build, Hietanen had been banned permanently from the game, tweeting the below screenshot of a message from the publisher that said he had breached its code of conduct.
Whoops.Worth it tho. pic.twitter.com/TbRT7aepFdFebruary 6, 2018
As I said, it's hardly unexpected, and Ubisoft is clearly well within its rights here. As one commenter pointed out below, the programme was made using things like Cheat Engine, which is obviously banned. Hietanen tried to avoid the possibility of cheating by disabling the camera tools in the Dark Zone, the game's PvP area.
However, I still think it's a shame that publishers can't work more closely with creators like Hietanen, because without tools like this it's players that ultimately miss out.