Take Two Takes Down GTA OpenIV Modding Tool

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Dan June 17th 2017, 10:41:00 Modding News
It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? Take Two, the owners of developer Rockstar and publisher of Grand Theft Auto V, has issued a Cease & Desist against the popular modding tool OpenIV.

GTA V's steam page has been flooded with negative reviews after the publisher of Rockstar's latest Grand Theft Auto game, Take-Two Interactive issued a cease and desist to the near ten year old mod.

The mod in question, OpenIV, is used by modders all over the world to edit the files of Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto V and Max Payne 3.

The tool, which was released in 2008, was primarily used for singleplayer modding and allowed players to activate and run various mods within the game. This, according to Take Two, also allows for cheaters and ne'er-do-wells to disturb the carefully crafted ecosystem of Grand Theft Auto Online.

Take-Two Interactive say that the modding tool allows modification authors to circumvent security features of the software and modify the software in such a way that it is in violation of Take-Two's rights. In a statement, the company said:

Take-Two"ake-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. We are working to figure out how we can continue to support the creative community without negatively impacting our players.


Gamers and fans alike have been quick to rail against Rockstar and Take Two on the matter, and in a statement issued by Take Two to PC Gamer, the publisher does acknowledge the role that OpenIV plays in enabling singleplayer mods, but states that they also allow cheaters to interfere with the online systems.

The author of the mod has issued the following statement:
To make it all clear, here is what happened:
1 - At May 19th, 2017, I received an email from the legal counsel for Take Two Interactive in the USA. In this email they has requested to stop immediately any further work and/or distribution of OpenIV and "Liberty City in GTAV" projects.
2 – In belief, that we did not violate any laws, I asked them to provide more detailed information about their request. They agreed to provide details by email.
3 – On June 5th, 2017, after two weeks of silence, I got C&D letter from lawyers company (legal representative of Take Two in Russia), both in electronic and paper form, to my employer address. This C&D accuses me in Russian laws violations.
4 – After many heavy thoughts, we had decided to agree with their claims. We did not make it easily; it is very hard decision for us.
As Grand Theft Auto V has hundreds of modifications available which have used this tool, it's admittedly an odd decision for Take-Two to make. You could argue that the GTA series does owe some of it's success on non-console platforms to modifications which allow users to extend the base game and introduce new features or outlandish customisations which would never be officially released.

According to the developer of the tool, OpenIV does not actually allow for the user to engage the Online functionality of the game as long as the tool is active - essentially calling bogus on Take Two's statement about the interference.

It's a huge blow to the modding community that such a well supported and regularly updated modding tool has been taken down in this manner after so long being online.

How this plays out will be paramount to modding for Take Two games in the future - will this begin the death spiral of the modding community for Grand Theft Auto, or will it persevere through this?

( Special thanks to Mikey for contributing to this article )

Comments (10)

  1. Lindale
    1: OpenIV only affects SINGLEplayer, not multiplayer. The authors go to great lengths to accomplish this. In fact, OpenIV actually does have a safeguard that will not allow you to connect to Online with OpenIV active. So, exactly as stated, OpenIV has nothing in relation to all the hackers in GTA Online.

    2: Killing OpenIV kills off modding in GTA as a whole. As a result, it kills off anyone who bought GTA 5 on PC, because mods are the entire reason WHY we got the PC version in the first place. That is true of any game. The only reason we get the PC version is for mods.

    So, the only way to kill this is for US to kill it. We need to band together, and let Take-Two know we will NOT tolerate this. Over the past few days, thousands have left negative reviews on Steam, which has changed its Recently to Mostly Negative. Keep this up. Take-Two cannot be allowed to continue.
    Reply 2017-06-17 11:21:15
  2. Mikey
    I don't think that Take-Two really cares all that much about the Reviews on GTA V's Steam Page tbh. I feel like they have already made their money with GTA V.

    Also, the fact that the mod author seems to have given up is not a good sign.
    Reply 2017-06-18 01:10:21
  3. That One Guy
    Well, Take Two may not care about the reviews. Steam certainly does. With that being said, they could end up writing to Take Two about the situation. Also, to gain more support, they could reach out to Rockstar. Rockstar has made their position on this fairly unclear. In fact, if I remember correctly, they've allowed GTA to be modded offline for years now.

    In short, a letter from Rockstar would work wonders! People should be requesting tickets from R* support left and right. Jam the Rockstar support queue until they can't help but to issue another statement to us, regarding their standing on the situation.

    In addition, the author of the modding tool has stated that; a message from Rockstar would really help their chances.

    The only downfall is, since Take Two made their statement, ANY modifications performed by OpenIV, is illegal. So they are sort of in a deadlock...

    One side will give up and meet the others requests though...

    Question is... Which side has more support? OpenIV or #OperationCleanUpGTA?

    I have my money on us  gamers who enjoy our mods.
    Reply 2017-06-19 19:42:36
  4. Strazdas
    "It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? "

    No, it wasnt. OpenIV has not done anything illegal and TakeTwo has commited copyright fraud and legal harassment. They should be fined for this outburst and OpenIV should be restored. Meanwhile, i will avoid their games until they fix thier heads.
    Reply 2017-06-20 06:12:53
  5. Mikouen
    "OpenIV has not done anything illegal"

    Well, if you want to be specific about it, OpenIV is a tool whose entire purpose - as plainly admitted by its developer - is to reverse-engineer a proprietary software engine. You know, the part where it decrypts the game archives, tears open the file formats, and basically spills the guts of the game on the sidewalk?

    If nothing else that'll be what Take-Two are taking exception to, and I gotta be honest, they ain't in the wrong. As for the timing, I assume it's because they don't want RDR2 and GTA6 getting dissected the way GTA4 and GTA5 were.

    Probably should've done it years ago (along with Rockstar providing some above-board mod tools for GTAV, considering they knew how much demand there was, but that's a whole different argument isn't it?).

    I've seen people comparing OpenIV to every legit mod tool under the sun (UnrealEd, CreationKit, et al) and even some comparing it to console emulators like DeSmuME, all to point out how Take-Two are in the wrong. But seriously, if comparing apples and chow mein are the best you can do.....


    People's usage of it also started to cross a lot of unspoken lines lately. Remember those idiots banging on about porting the entirety of RDR into the RAGE engine, using GTA5? Allowing that sort of thing to go down, unchallenged, would have negatively impacted (and possibly invalidated) Take-Two's legitimate rights to defend their intellectual property further down the line. Strauss may be an utter moron, but let's face it, reverse the roles and all of the slacktivists would've done the same thing.

    Bottom line is that both sides of this debate have been acting in bad faith for a long time, and this is why we can't have nice things.


    It's incorrect that OpenIV had no contribution to online cheats. In the passive sense, knowledge is power - opening up the engine gave people a roadmap about how this functions, how that functions, and all the little landmines Rockstar put in place.

    On a more active note, all those cheats that 'physically' interfere with the game world or characters certainly had to have some basis in "mod tools". Unless people believe that you can manipulate game assets and ragdoll animations by freezing an 8-byte integer in memory?


    Final note, modding has always been a somewhat symbiotic arrangement between community and developers. That would imply a certain level of respect on all fronts, and a general sense of good practice. It was also a good way to see the potential devs of tomorrow being cultivated, through their from-scratch creations.

    GTA's modding community has none of that. The community is, by and large, full of circlejerk; despite the "mods" consisting almost exclusively of assets ripped and mutilated (poorly) from other sources with barely a single word of credit ever being given; absolutely no self-awareness, reflection, or ambition; and to top it off, the muck isn't even a case of the ends justify the means - because when all's said and done these "mods" really add sod all of substance to the game.

    As an old-school modder, I'm not going to sympathise because these guys aren't remotely white hat. If it weren't for dicks like that back in the mid-00s, then devs and even publishers might have embraced game mods a lot more openly over the years.

    Also, people are being complete, petty little dicks over this instead of handling it in a rational manner. More points deducted from the sympathy pool.

    Karma. It's a bitch.


    I do feel a bit bad for the machinima crowd, since they were using their time productively. That said, if they're dedicated to their craft, they should consider this an opportunity to move onto bigger and better things. Might even be some good career options in it for them if they develop an actual skillset.
    Reply 2017-06-20 09:40:44
  6. Nittany Tiger
    I'm sorry, Mikouen, but Open IV was trying to play fair with Rockstar and Take Two by not allowing their modding tools to be used for cheating, and Take Two and Rockstar up and decided one day to pull the plug because they weren't making enough hundreds of millions of dollars from exploitative microtransactions.  I'm sorry, but when modding is banned because a company that is profiting big isn't happy with those profits and decides to control their game with an iron fist to force people into exploitative business practices, then that company loses sympathy points.  Why didn't Rockstar and Take Two go after just cheat software and not a mod tool that the majority of people were using fairly?  Can we expect Rockstar and Take Two to allow modding in the future?

    Shutting down Open IV can be seen as a break of fair use law, but since Take Two and Rockstar have more money than some nations, then they can afford to break the law because they can push the other guys into bankrupty and win.  Why support someone like that who commits evil?  I'm not siding with a greedy corporation.  I never have.  I've always openly hated the corporate culture in gaming and how it regularly will engage in anti-consumer behavior and anti-creative behavior to further their own profits; profits that are mostly healthy.  I'm not going to side with Take Two and I will protest my discontent with a company doing what I find is morally unacceptable.

    Even if the GTA modding community is toxic, it doesn't warrant it being banned outright and made illegal when it's not, punishing those that love to use mods and ruining one of biggest selling points for a game along with what keeps many games being sold for years after release.  Mods are good for video games, and destroying them is just ensuring a title becomes another short-lived flash in the pan which AAA is full of.

    Corporations need to get the hell out of games, because I'm tired of these parasites making this industry creatively-sick.
    Reply 2017-06-21 17:59:44
  7. Strazdas
    Mikouen"OpenIV has not done anything illegal"

    Well, if you want to be specific about it, OpenIV is a tool whose entire purpose - as plainly admitted by its developer - is to reverse-engineer a proprietary software engine. You know, the part where it decrypts the game archives, tears open the file formats, and basically spills the guts of the game on the sidewalk?


    Which is completely legal if you own the game. You ARE allowed to decode files you purchased and look at the code.

    If nothing else that'll be what Take-Two are taking exception to, and I gotta be honest, they ain't in
    the wrong. As for the timing, I assume it's because they don't want RDR2
    and GTA6 getting dissected the way GTA4 and GTA5 were.

    What they want is irrelevant. A person who purchased RDR2 or GTA6 has a right to dissect the game in this way. In fact, if Take-two had any sense they would encourage people to do this in order to increase mod availability.

    Probably should've done it years ago (along with Rockstar providing some above-board mod tools for GTAV,
    considering they knew how much demand there was, but that's a whole
    different argument isn't it?).

    So now you are advocating illegal harassment of software developers?

    People's usage of it also started to cross a lot of unspoken lines lately. Remember those idiots
    banging on about porting the entirety of RDR into the RAGE engine, using
    GTA5? Allowing that sort of thing to go down, unchallenged, would have
    negatively impacted (and possibly invalidated) Take-Two's
    legitimate rights to defend their intellectual property further down the
    line. Strauss may be an utter moron, but let's face it, reverse the
    roles and all of the slacktivists would've done the same thing.

    Obviuosly, those people could not use RDR assets in any capacity to make this mod legal.

    The rest of it is absolute grade-A bullshit. Someone commiting copyright fraud neither endangers nor invalidades copyright owners rights. They DO NOT have to defend agaisnt every case they see to retain rights. In fact it is literally impossible to loose intelectual properly rights other than via intentionally abandoned them (trademarks can also be lost by abandonment or commodification). You know nothing about IP rights and should not speak of them.

    Bottom line is that both sides of this debate have been acting in bad faith for a long time, and this is
    why we can't have nice things.

    Incorrect. Only Take-two has been acting in bad faith and they are the reason we cant have nice things. They are in fact whats wrong with gaming industry.

    It's incorrect that OpenIV had no contribution to online cheats. In the passive sense, knowledge is power -
    opening up the engine gave people a roadmap about how this functions,
    how that functions, and all the little landmines Rockstar put in place.

    By that logic your chemistry teacher at school is responsible for terrorists knowing how to make bombs. Its utter nonsense.


    As an old-school modder, I'm not going to sympathise because these guys
    aren't remotely white hat. If it weren't for dicks like that back in the
    mid-00s, then devs and even publishers might have embraced game mods a
    lot more openly over the years.

    Also, people are being complete, petty little dicks over this instead of
    handling it in a rational manner. More points deducted from the
    sympathy pool.

    I agree that the community has went to shit compared to old GTA modding community (which i as well was part of). however commiting illegal hassment against mod developers is not the correct way to fix it.
    Reply 2017-06-22 10:00:29
  8. Lindale
    Saying that OpenIV is what causes hackers is analogous to saying Skyrim Script Extender is responsible for the hackers in Elder Scrolls Online. It is all about what are the safeguards. The safeguards here are that the code for Skyrim is different from Online, which prevents you from using it to hack Online.

    In the case of OpenIV, the built-in safeguard is that OpenIV is deliberately hard-coded to not allow you to connect to Online while OpenIV is running. The author went to great lengths to prevent it from being used for hacking. As such, it has nothing to do with the hackers in GTA Online.

    As with any online game, the hackers are script kiddies writing cheat programs on their iPhones while they sit on the porch and smoke weed.
    * GTA Online has hackers setting their race times to 10 seconds flat, or generating enormous amounts of money. This is why getting sent money is an automatic ban.
    * Team Fortress 2 has hackers using scripts to generate Unusual hats. They trade said Unusuals to the first idiot they find, and they now have actual real Unusuals, and suddenly become the wealthiest person in all of Team Fortress 2.
    * Star Trek Online has dilithium farm bots. You can easily spot them because their @handle is a number, such as @#83846. Worse yet, you can easily spot when several bots all belong to the same hacker, because the @handles are all in sequence, such as @#20786, @#20787, @#20788, @#20789, @#20790, that sort of thing.

    The simple fact of the matter is that writing cheat scripts is relatively simple for anyone who knows how to write computer code, which nearly EVERYONE born after 1990 seems to know about.

    But, instead of stopping the actual hackers, Take Two Interactive chose to take down the largest mod tool they can find, the tool that is hard-coded to PREVENT you from connecting to Online in the first place.

    Why? Because mods don’t make any MONEY for Take Two Interactive. For that matter, they even cancelled the singleplayer DLC because setting drug cartels in Online makes more MONEY. Money is literally the only thing Take Two Interactive cares about.
    Reply 2017-06-22 12:15:12
  9. RadioActiveLobster
    http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-modding-tool-openiv-receives-an-update-signaling-development-will-continue/

    Progress at last.
    Reply 2017-06-24 00:34:50
  10. Lindale
    Well done, everyone! Keep up the good work!
    Reply 2017-06-24 03:40:47