Last week, news emerged that Rockstar Games' parent company, Take-Two Interactive, had enforced a cease-and-desist order upon the popular Grand Theft Auto modding tool, OpenIV, essentially declaring modding of its titles unwelcome. OpenIV has been in use for over a decade and has been utilized in various games including Max Payne, GTA IV, and GTA V.
The move was met by a lot of criticism, with gamers taking to the GTA V store listing on Steam to publish negative reviews - which led to reviews skydiving to "Overwhelmingly Negative" for the otherwise popular title. Tens of thousands of others even started a petition on Change.org, condemning the controversial move.
However, it now appears that Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive have yielded to the outcry by the modding community and has reversed its stance, to some extent.
On Rockstar Games' website, a support page titled "Are PC Single-Player Mods Allowed?", states that:
Rockstar Games believes in reasonable fan creativity, and, in particular, wants creators to showcase their passion for our games. 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. This does not apply to (i) multiplayer or online services; (ii) tools, files, libraries, or functions that could be used to impact multiplayer or online services, or (iii) use or importation of other IP (including other Rockstar IP) in the project. This is not a license, and it does not constitute endorsement, approval, or authorization of any third-party project. Take-Two reserves the right to object to any third-party project, or to revise, revoke and/or withdraw this statement at any time in their own discretion. This statement does not constitute a waiver of any rights that Take-Two may have with respect to third-party projects.
While the statement might restore some faith in the company among fans, it's interesting to note that the wording is a bit vague. Take-Two Interactive has agreed that it will "generally" not take legal action against third-party mods. What the usage of the word "generally" entails is still considerably unclear. Additionally, the company has noted that it can withdraw its statement at any time and does not signify approval of any third-party projects related to single-player games.
That said, it appears that its negotiations with the developers of OpenIV have been successful, with the modding tool receiving an update shortly after the publication of the aforementioned statement, likely implying that Take-Two has ceded its legal stance to shut down the development of the mod. It'll be interesting to see how this situation develops and how it affects other third-party modding endeavors as well.