In an unexpected and sudden purge, Take-Two Interactive has issued a number of DMCA takedowns against long-running and popular Grand Theft Auto mods that previously were seemingly in line with Rockstar's official statement regarding modding that was published during the OpenIV debacle.
Several high-profile mods were hit almost simultaneously, and there is a particular shared theme among all affected - every mod targeted in some way remastered, remade, overhauled or adapted official GTA content, be it a graphical overhaul of an older game, or the transplantation of a classic map into a newer engine.
Mods affected include Vice Cry, GTA: Liberty City, GTA: Underground, Vice City Overhaul and others. These were all mods that were single player only and available for free. Rockstar's rules at the time still stated that the publisher reserves the right to go after mods at its discretion, so the modding community never had a hard guarantee to begin with.
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Developer "dkluin" informed fans over the GTA: Underground Discord server about the mod being delisted due to a DMCA, and the other listed mods have become unavailable as well following Take-Two's legal team issuing takedown notices. This is a severe blow to the GTA modding community, but the shared pattern among the affected mods has given rise to speculation.
These mods are among some of the best known, so it's not like they flew under the radar before and were just now noticed by the legal team. So why did they get purged now all of the sudden? The answer may lie in the fact that they're all some sort of remaster, or close enough.
Fans speculate that if Rockstar is potentially gearing up to release official remasters of 3D era GTA titles, then these mods would be direct competitors, since they're essentially free alternatives. Leaks have mentioned remasters in the past, and notably Grand Theft Auto 3's twentieth anniversary is coming up later this year.
Either way, a number of huge mods just got torpedoed with no explanation. Whatever the reasoning behind this, even if there are official remasters coming, the move is a major strike against the GTA modding community.