One of GTA 5's most prominent modding tools is back from the dead with a new build update.
The 907 build update went live a few days ago, its description short and to the point: "bug fixes and small improvements". The modding tool getting an update at all is the kind of vital sign fans have been waiting for ever since the unofficial fan campaign against Take-Two began with a mass of negative reviews being posted on the Steam pages of many games published by the company.
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That said, the reviews themselves may not have been the catalyst of this reversal.
Even though GTA 5's recent reviews are overwhelmingly negative with the overall rating being mixed, it's still one of the top selling games during the current Steam summer sale. Depending on region, it's either first or at some other position in the top five best selling titles on the digital distribution store.
Even if the negative reviews didn't do the trick, something convinced Take-Two to make a u-turn and let OpenIV continue to fuel modding efforts for GTA 5. This new update for the tool means that the vast number of mods that rely on OpenIV to function will be allowed to endure, and work in progress projects can continue development.
The jeopardization of single player mods for GTA 5 caused such an uproar because the demographics it affected were major active elements of the community. Modder, mod users and fan video content creators would all suffer should modding cease to be viable in this game.
Dozens of new mods are uploaded to various hosting sites each day with hundreds of fan made GTA 5 videos using mods posted to YouTube just as frequently. The modding scene has its own collection of celebrities and trends. While the more abstract or complex mods are usually enjoyed by a comparatively small audience, mods which replace in-game cars with models of real ones are popular with a larger audience.
Different games approach mods in different ways. Some open encourage modding, shipping with their own official modding tools and built-in mod management. Some game franchises began their lives as mods. On the flipside, some outright make an effort to be unmoddable, while others don't do much either way. GTA 5 fell into this last category, with no apparent and official modding support, but nothing preventing it either.
Modding and GTA have a long history together though.
While GTA games had mods before, it was San Andreas which truly popularized the practice. To this day, modded bootleg versions of the game are sold in some countries (illegally, of course). This trend survived onto GTA IV, which saw the rise of OpenIV incidentally, and onto GTA 5 as well.
However the addition of microtransactions into GTA Online made things messy this time around. Mods that affected the game's singleplayer were seemingly easy to implement and use in Online as well, unleveling the playing field. Cheating is universally derided in multiplayer, but when microtransactions are involved, it is usually pursued with greater ferocity - especially if cheats allow players to access the same benefits for free.
GTA Online is a stark opposite of some multiplayer games that thrive on mods. Mount & Blade and Half-Life come to mind, both of which have legendary multiplayer mods. Take-Two was always really strict about mods and cheats in Online however, which is understandable with Shark Cards being in the mix.
In the past, the stance of both publisher and developer on mods was that "as long as it doesn't touch Online, it's fine". Take-Two seemingly reversed this when they took down OpenIV, however some past attempts at curbing the hacking issue have also affected modding, albeit temporarily. It's been clear in the past that while modding is tolerated, Rockstar didn't balk at treading over it provided it prevented cheating - though, in the end, it didn't.
OpenIV hasn't released a statement about the new update yet, but we're sure to hear from them in the following days about this. In any case, we're glad that single player modding in GTA 5 has seemingly been saved from certain doom.