Not long after Take-Two Interactive issued a cease and desist letter to the OpenIV team, creators of one of the most commonly used modding tool for GTA 5, the parent company of Rockstar Games has gone after the distributors of two paid hack menus that can be used in GTA Online.
Force Hax, a frequently used subscription based hack menu was first to be shut down, followed by Menyoo PC's Online version. Force Hax, back when available, advertised itself as being an "Undetected GTA V Mod menu for PC" which "Bypasses latest Rockstar anti cheats". Users had to purchase the menu with licenses lasting a week, a month or 3 months. Force Hax also co-opted Star Wars imagery using Darth Vader as a mascot with the caption "the dark side of GTA V PC modding". How Disney wasn't the first to hit them with their lawyers is beyond us.
Whatever kind of pressure Take-Two placed on them, it must have been pretty serious since the team took down the site almost immediately. Now, navigating to their URL will simply display a message about their shutting down.
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After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, effective immediately we are ceasing all maintenance, development and distribution of the Force Hax cheat menu services. We will be donating our proceeds to charity and we apologize for any and all problems Force Hax services have cause to the Grand Theft Auto Online community.
The part about donating their proceeds to charity smells of deceit from a mile away.
First of all, it's pretty much impossible that they still have all their proceeds from distribution and you can bet they won't pay an equal amount out of their pockets. Secondly, a group dedicated to something so ethically wrong as selling TOS-breaching online hacks would be the last to give so much as a dime to charity.
That said, the message left by the Menyoo team seems to clarify something about this whole charity business that makes it more plausible that the groups will actually follow through: it was part of the agreement (or terms of surrender, more like) dictated by Take-Two.
After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, effective immediately we are ceasing all maintenance, development and distribution of the Menyoo cheat menu services. We will be donating our proceeds to a charity designated by Take-Two. We apologize for any and all problems Menyoo has caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online community.
Menyoo has a free version used in single player,and actual mods of the non-cheating variety make use of it to function. This version of Menyoo is still available, but who knows for how long.
Both menus seemingly complied with Take-Two's requests with haste, which raises the question why the company didn't just do this in the first place, and why did they have to go after OpenIV?
Speaking of OpenIV, the fan backlash for their shutdown of OpenIV has been much larger than what we suspect Take-Two was prepared for. After a coordinated push to flood Steam with negative reviews, over the course of a day the 'recent' tab of the reviews went from overwhelmingly positive to overwhelmingly negative. Since then, the overall rating of the game has also changed to mixed.
In addition to this war being waged on the Steam page of the game, a petition has also sprung up calling for OpenIV to be allowed to get back into business, which has reached over 50,000 signatures in just five days. Skeptics often like to say that petitions never get anything done, but it was in fact a petition which convinced Rockstar Games to finally create the Bikers DLC.
It all seems very easy to contact the distributors of these hacking menus and have them shut down, while GTA Online has been affected by hacking problems for years. Among other things, both of these menus allowed for the spawning of in-game cash, which was a direct threat to Shark Card revenue, and no player who randomly got hundreds of millions from hackers would be dropping money for microtransactions. So why wait until now to take them down?
We think these recent events require the reiteration of an important distinction between legitimate, enthusiast modders and hackers.
The hackers like to co-op the name "modder" and we've seen Force Hax call its services "mods", however this is simply leeching on the positive image actual mods have in the gaming community. Mods are single player content packs created by talented fans in order to expand the experience offered by the game. Hacks are underhanded methods to gain the unfair advantage in a multiplayer environment.
The backlash against the move to shut OpenIV down has seen artistic interpretations as well, including a mod-heavy fan made video where two in-game characters with Rockstar and Take-Two logos plastered on their outfits take out characters from popular mods that used the tool in the past. The mere existence of the video is an act of rebellion as it makes use of the no longer distributed modding tool.
The demise of OpenIV hasn't only hurt the team itself and the entire modding community, but indirectly the massive fan-video community of GTA 5 as well. Countless of the most popular content creators relied heavily on mods to make their videos accurate, and we've covered countless such videos in the past on our site as well.
We're just hoping that the collective efforts of the community are enough to convince Take-Two to reverse the OpenIV decision.