Last week Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive pissed off thousands of Grand Theft Auto V players when it sent a cease-and desist letter to Yuriy "Good-NDS" Krivoruchko, the developer of OpenIV, a popular Grand Theft Auto V modding tool.
Many players took the action as an attack on the very idea of modding, particularly since OpenIV has served as a development tool and library for modders of the PC versions of GTA games for the better part of a decade. The response from the GTA V player community was quick and uproarious, with many of them flooding the game's Steam page with negative reviews, almost 80,000 signatures to a Change.org petition to save OpenIV, and hundreds of outraged posts on various gaming forums.
Now, however, GTA V's developer Rockstar Games seems to have moderated Take-Two's position, and has also told Motherboard that it is in contact with Krivoruchko with the intention of resolving the issue.
"Rockstar Games believes in reasonable fan creativity, and, in particular, wants creators to showcase their passion for our games," Rockstar said in a statement on its website. "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."
The second (ii) stipulation here is where things get complicated. The whole reason OpenIV is so popular in the modding community is that it allows users to decrypt, read, and edit the game's proprietary file format. That's what makes-single player modding possible. The issue is that some users have taken advantage of this ability to tinker with GTA Online, ruining the experience for other players by cheating.
Earlier this week Krivoruchko told Motherboard that he never designed OpenIV for this purpose. He said that he's not interested in GTA Online at all. But he did concede that it is possible that some modders have used OpenIV to impact GTA Online. At Krivoruchko's request, Motherboard is not detailing the methods he discussed so as not to cause more trouble in GTA Online.
As Rockstar's statement says, Take-Two now intends to only go after mods that affect GTA Online, but at the moment it is still not clear how OpenIV can continue to allow users to modify the single player experience without facilitating cheating. Rockstar said it's in contact with Krivoruchko in order to figure that out, and judging by the statement, for now Take-Two will prioritize going after mods that ruin GTA Online.