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Take-Two has been issuing takedowns for GTA mods

Carl "CJ" Johnson saying, "Ah shit, here we go again."
(Image credit: Take-Two Interactive)
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Earlier this year, Rockstar's parent company Take-Two Interactive played takedown whack-a-mole with reverse-engineered versions of Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City. The publisher has apparently gone further in the last week or so, issuing DMCA takedown notices for GTA 5 map mods like Vice City Overhaul (opens in new tab), as well as multiple popular mods for earlier games in the series.

GTA: Liberty City (opens in new tab) was a total conversion that brought the setting of GTA 3 into Vice City's engine, and was first released in 2005. It's no longer available on ModDB. Vice Cry (opens in new tab), which replaced Vice City's textures and models with higher-resolution versions, is also gone. So is GTA: Underground (opens in new tab), which combined the maps of not just GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, but those of other Rockstar games Bully, Manhunt, and Manhunt 2, then added gang warfare. So are the mods converting San Andreas into ports of console-exclusives Liberty City Stories (opens in new tab) and Vice City Stories (opens in new tab). And that's not all.

(Image credit: djluin)

A thread on GTAForums (opens in new tab) has been cataloguing the removals, as well as noting that Rockstar's statement on singleplayer mods (opens in new tab), initially made during the back-and-forth over modding tool OpenIV in 2017, and which many modders have been assuming would protect their work, was quietly updated in 2019. It now notes that it does not apply to either the "use or importation of other IP (including other Rockstar IP) in the project" or "making new games, stories, missions, or maps". Neither of those clauses was in the original version of Rockstar's statement, which has been excluded from the Wayback Machine (opens in new tab), but can still be read in our news story from the time.

As for why Take-Two has decided to go after these mods now—one of which, it's worth saying again, is 16 years old—the internet is currently split between two theories. One, that it's because they're seen as competition for hypothetical remastered versions of GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas. And two, that it's connected to recent rumors about GTA 6.

Jody Macgregor
Jody Macgregor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.