Take-Two Interactive probably wasn’t prepared for a public backlash of this magnitude when they decided to issue a cease and desist notice to OpenIV, the team behind one of the most fundamental modding tools fuelling the community around GTA 5 single player modding. In the days since, the fanbase has made their malcontent explicitly clear.
OpenIV has been the backbone of modding for the franchise since GTA IV and became the pillar of modding for the new installment. Almost all single player mods rely – or relied – on the framework of OpenIV. Soon after the release of the Gunrunning update, the lead developer of OpenIV made a statement on the GTAForums, which was also posted on the official OpenIV website. The statement said that theOpenIV team had been sent a cease and desist letter by Take-Two Interactive, forcing them to close their doors or take the issue to court.
The outrage of the modding community was instantaneous, with some calling for the boycotting of Grand Theft Auto 5 and other Take-Two properties.
Since then, the collective GTA community has made their voice heard. Steadily, the Steam review page for GTA 5 started showing more negative reviews. The “recent” tab swiftly degraded into Mostly Negative, and eventually, the overall rating also dropped to Mixed. Only 11% of reviews in the past 30 days are positive, whereas 64% of overall reviews are positive. This is a marked drop from both standing at Overwhelmingly Positive in the past. In fact, recently the number of negative reviews broke the 100,000 mark.
A petition also sprung up the moment news of OpenIV’s shutdown spread. It didn’t take long to accumulate tens of thousands of signatures, with the current number being over 75,000. While many scoff at the idea of petitions, claiming that they never get any results, this has been disproven in the past – the Bikers DLC is the result of a similarly popular petition.
The backlash from the GTA community has escalated even further recently.
In a rather irrational move, many have flooded other Take-Two games with negative reviews, citing the shutdown of OpenIV. All other GTA games available on Steam have been hit. Borderlands, developed by 2K, another subsidiary of Take-Two, has also been hit by a few negative reviews because of this, and Kerbal Space Program, a popular former Indie title that was recently bought by the company was also struck.
Immediately after the shutdown of OpenIV, Take-Two went after actual hacking programs. In quick succession, Force Hax, Menyoo and Lexicon were all contacted by Take-Two’s legal team and they almost instantly acquiesced. Force Hax and Menyoo both issues statements declaring that distribution will be ceased and all proceeds will be donated to charities designated by Take-Two, who will likely enforce this payment.
The turbulence around this GTA 5 modding situation has been stealing headlines for a week now, and the massive push from the community is giving some fans hope that Take-Two might reverse their stance on OpenIV. Whether this hope turns into reality remains to be seen – after all, in the grand scheme of things, 100,000 negative Steam reviews are mostly insignificant. The game has sold over 80 million copies already and that number is still increasing.
There are still bound to be a few twists in this story. Whether Take-Two will respond to the flood of negative reviews, or agree to allow OpenIV to continue function is still up in the air, but unlikely. We’ll see how things evolve in the coming days.
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