The gorgeous Grand Theft Auto 5 mod GTA 5 Redux went live earlier today, but not everyone is happy about it. Some members of the community are claiming that the mod, created by Josh Romito, is actually the work of other people, which he has “stolen” and repackaged as his own.
The original work, according to this message posted in the GTA forums, is a mod released last year called VisualV, “a graphic overhaul modification for Grand Theft Auto V, bringing you a completely redone weather effects, edited modificators for areas/interiors, improved color correction and much much more.” Changes made by VisualV include overhauled weather effects, increased light visibility, improved volumetric fog, and all sorts of other small changes that, collectively, make GTA5 look a lot better than it did out of the box.
The complaint includes side-by-side shots of VisualV and GTA5 Redux scripts, showing and explaining their many similarities. New types of clouds introduced in VisualV, for instance, also appear (with slight changes) in Redux; there's also a "reflection_quality" option, “unused in vanilla game, added to VisualV to make a slightly improved vehicle and building reflections,” that is likewise seen in Redux.
Bolstering the belief among his critics that Romito's mod is not original work is the outcome of his previous mod, The Pinnacle of V. Romito closed it down after it came to light that some of the content it contained was taken from other mods: In a statement posted at thepinnacleofv.com, he claims that the project “turned into a fraud when others became involved.”
“This was my first time getting involved in a 'community' type project, and I was shocked to see some of the support I was receiving, and how generous people were,” Romito wrote. “It turns out it was all lies and stolen content. I'm not sure how else to handle a situation like this, so I am simply shutting it down and releasing the honest truth.”
On the surface, at least, it appears like a respectable mea culpa and retraction, but some members of the GTA community are clearly more inclined to view it as evidence of Romito's tendency to claim the work of others as his own. But there are some who aren't convinced that any actual wrongdoing took place, as it's not unreasonable to think that achieving similar effects would require similar work: One plus one equals two regardless of who does the math, in other words. Are there enough similarities to reasonably argue that the one is a straight copy of the other? That's the real question.
I've reached out to both Romito and VisualV creator _CP_ and will update when I receive a reply.