Open IV, a hugely popular set of modding tools for Grand Theft Auto V, will no longer be distributed after the creator received a cease and desist notice from publisher Take-Two.
The software has been used to create thousands of mods for GTA V and its predecessor GTA IV, and was in development for the best part of a decade.
In a post on the Open IV website, however, software creator GooD-NTS explained they were handed an official cease and desist letter on June 5. Now, after mulling over all the options for 10 days, they've decided to comply and shut up shop.
"GTA modding had long and glorious history. Since GTA III, people have created lots of different mods: from simple texture replacements to impressive full conversions," reads the post.
"And the modding always was a 'gray zone' -- a battlefield between lawyers and PR. For almost ten years of OpenIV development, we had tried to play as nice as possible. But on June 5th, 2017, we received an official cease and desist letter.
"It clearly says, that with OpenIV we 'allow third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation Take-Two’s rights.'"
As pointed out by Kotaku, the move has frustrated many players, particularly because GTA creator Rockstar has openly supported modding in the past, and has even linked to videos of mods that use OpenIV through its official channels.
Despite having the public support of many fans, who are frustrated with what they perceive to be a huge u-turn, GooD-NTS claims it doesn't have the time or financial resources to take on the combined might of Rockstar and Take-Two.
"Going to court will take at least few months of our time and huge amount of efforts, and, at best, we’ll get absolutely nothing," continues the post.
"Spending time just to restore status quo is really unproductive, and all the money in the world can’t compensate the loss of time. So, we decided to agree with their claims and we’re stopping distribution of OpenIV."
"It was a hard decision, but when any modding activity has been declared illegal, we can’t see any possibilities to continue this process unless top management of Take-Two company makes an official statement about modding that can be used in court."
Update: Although Take-Two has yet to comment on the move, developer Rockstar has spoken out in the publisher's defence, explaing the cease and desist was issued to protect GTA Online players. The impact on single-player mods was unfortunate collateral damage.
"Take-Two's actions were not specifically targeting single player mods. Unfortunately OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody," said Rockstar, in a statement issued to PC Gamer.
"We are working to figure out how we can continue to support the creative community without negatively impacting our players."