For today's Gamasutra feature
, over a year after the infamous "Hot Coffee" incident, author and game designer Brenda Brathwaite explores the tragic aftermath on the GTA
mod community - including interviews with "Hot Coffee" creator PatrickW, the ESRB's Patricia Vance, and more.
In this excerpt, a member of GTA
's mod community explains the backlash felt by newer, more mod-resistant copies of the game released after "Hot Coffee," and the effect it's had on the wider community:
“The idea that they'd even shut us out like that, plus the fact they don't talk to anyone anymore, not even to give us promotional screenshots for fansites, has left behind a mixture of resentment and apathy,” says one. “I mean, sure, I understand why they need to lay low and all, but explaining and defending the situation is tiresome. For instance, every so often, people will pop up in forums and such asking why mods won't work with their new copy of the game. And when people buy the game just to play one of our mods, I can't help but feel guilty for inadvertently helping to sell them something which doesn't work. Doubly so when they had previously owned a console version.”
The controversy also had what illspirit calls a “chilling effect” on content. To the surprise of many, the mod community is censoring itself. “Not only do we have to worry whether anything remotely sexual will cause another media firestorm, but pretty much everything else,” he says. “There's even been a couple of purely technical mods scrapped for fear the luddites would assume they were features ‘hidden’ in the game. All it takes is one moron from Miami seeing a new feature, user-created or otherwise, to start screaming about ‘hidden content’ and send the ball rolling downhill again, especially in an election year.”
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the topic
including more on the ESRB's response to third-party created content (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).