GTA 5 Redux: Stolen Content?

We’ve covered Josh Romito’s hyped and anticipated GTA 5 Redux mod on this site leading up to the release of the overhaul. Redux was marketed as a major mod which not only improved the game’s graphics, but also tweaked a number of gameplay mechanics as well to give the game a true workover. The mod, after some delays and a bit of controversy, was finally released on the 16th of September.

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However many prospective fans who were anticipating Redux for some time were left disappointed by the end result. While in some fields it delivers what was advertised, it falls short in others and overwhelming evidence has been mounting up that much of the mod is in fact not even the work of Josh Romito, who has been displaying suspicious behavior since release.

GTA 5 Redux came with 15 selectable reshade options, a number of texture overhauls, some new models, new lighting effects, an entirely new sky texture, tweaked weather effects, increased particle effects and better ragdoll physics. One of the main advantages the mod has over others is the simplicity. You don’t need to be too tech-savvy to get this working. It is easy to install, and it adds all of those features in one neat package. Granted, that involved a second full install of GTA 5 being on your PC, but for some, storage space isn’t too precious.

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While the ease-of-access factor is still present, after some troubling allegations arose, it seems the simple install is the only positive characteristic of this mod. Many players have reported that most of the 15 reshade options either look… well, to put it mildly, “unappealing”. They often alter the color saturation to the game’s detriment, with only 2-3 reshaders among them actually improving the aesthetics of the game.

The texture packs do infact offer an improvement over vanilla GTA 5, however many other packs out there achieve better results with a smaller download.  The ragdoll physics overhaul has also been done better with the euphoria mod that we covered in the past. The last main feature, which overhauled the handling of vehicles in the game, has also been done in many other mods.

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However, by saying “has been done already”, in some cases we mean that more literally than you might think. Countless modders have posted evidence that much of GTA 5 Redux is basically just a copy-paste repackaging of their own code with Romito’s name stamped over it.

Many of the graphical tweaks can be traced back to the mod “VisualV”, which predated Redux by quite a bit. It has also come to light, that two previous projects by Romito, Pinnacle of V among them, also happened to plagiarise code from VisualV. The GTA 5 modding scene has seen its fair share of code-thievery, however usually on a much smaller scale and done in less apparent ways.

 

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While it would have been less obvious if the values were slightly tweaked, or only a handful of lines were copied, pretty much the only original work in GTA 5 Redux is the way the various mods are packaged together into one easy-to-install mod. Screenshots of various source-codes from mods prove that Romito lifted code directly from the work of others.

All that said, the behavior of the author is what is truly damning. He made sure to copyright absolutely everything in GTA 5 Redux, he stamped his name all over the assets, and forbade his content to be even mirrored on other sites, meaning that whenever his site goes offline – which happens frequently – the mod cannot be downloaded. He’s also made sure to delete any and all comments from his site calling him out on the stolen content, which is as much evidence as anyone needs.

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It basically all comes down to convenience. While it is an advantage of Redux that instead of having to look up countless other separate mods which achieve these effects and go through the sometimes complicated process of installing them, stolen content is still stolen content. Now, many people refrain from jumping into GTA V modding due to it being pretty hard even for the users in some cases.

Now, if Romito had approached the original authors of these mods, asked them for permission to package everything into a neatly organised compilation that is easy to install, most of them, if not all, would have agreed. He should have credited the original authors while taking the credit for organising and compiling the whole thing. The modding community as a whole would have been strengthened by it, and he would have gotten positive publicity too.

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In light of these new allegations, you might want to think twice before downloading and/or supporting the Redux mod. If you’re willing to go the lengths, instead support the creators of the original mods from which Romito lifted the code.

Have you downloaded GTA 5 Redux before this troubling news came to light?


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