Take-Two pulls tire-screeching u-turn, lifting ban on GTA V modding tool

There’s some great news for Grand Theft Auto V addicts, with the revelation that the OpenIV modding tool has been given a reprieve, with a blanket ban on the utility being lifted so that it can once again be used for single player mods.

Earlier this month, OpenIV, which is designed to be used to customize the game extensively – creating what are known as mods (modifications) – was hit by a cease-and-desist letter from GTA V publisher Take-Two’s lawyers in Russia, which meant the tool was completely shut down.

The reason? Some folks were abusing the toolkit to cheat at GTA V online, and the publisher is engaged in a major crackdown on such cheats.

And that in itself is not a bad thing, but punishing those building or using single player mods for their own entertainment hardly seemed fair, and led to a major outcry from the GTA fan base, including a barrage of negative reviews of the game on Steam (not to mention online petitions).

Toxic overload

Hence developer Rockstar stepped in, called meetings with Take-Two, and diffused what was becoming a seriously toxic accumulation of negative PR, promising to allow single player non-commercial mods.

Rockstar’s statement read: “After discussions with Take-Two, Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties.”

Although the statement then goes on to say that this doesn’t apply to multiplayer or online services, or tools that could manipulate the online game.

According to Kotaku, Rockstar has been in touch and confirmed that OpenIV is indeed now back up and running (with a new updated build). Although the reputational damage done here is likely to linger, and indeed negative reviews are still going up on Steam today.

Part of the reason for this is that modding is seen as such a crucially major plus point for PC gaming, which operates a far more open environment than the ecosystem of consoles (although mods do also exist for the likes of the PS4 and Xbox One).

So when those ideals of PC gaming freedom are messed with – and as in this case, the proverbial sledgehammer is used to crack a nut – people get mad, and they get mad quick.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).