One of the most hotly anticipated features of the long-awaited PC version of Grand Theft Auto 5 looked set to be the potential for weird and wacky mods. However, it seems that the game might not offer quite as much flexibility in what user-generated content can be used.
While Rockstar stated ahead of release that mods would be supported by Grand Theft Auto 5, that ethos seems to be wavering since the game launched two weeks ago. Players are reportedly being banned from GTA Online for using mods that were thought to lie within the developer’s guidelines.
Since the development of GTA Online is being supplemented with funds from real world purchases of in-game currency, the fear seems to be that modders will be able to earn money fast from code. This would upset both the virtual economy and the real world financial model being implemented.
As such, one can understand why Rockstar Games is being cautious with regards to mods — especially given that other types of mod could spoil the online experience for players. The word was that cosmetic mods would be fair game, but some players claim to have been banned for completely innocuous reasons.
A field of view mod seems to be one of the riskiest ways players can edit their game. While it may seem purely cosmetic, the way the mod works behind the scenes is thought to be similar to the way cheats would function, which might be the reason players using it are being flagged.
The problem seems to be that players don’t have clear rules on what is and is not acceptable. Given the infinite nature of mod development, it perhaps suits Rockstar Games better not to hand out any hard and fast rules, but the situation currently playing out seems just as impractical as the alternative.
Mods gave Grand Theft Auto IV life well beyond its years, but that game didn’t have the much vaunted online mode of its successor. The question seems to be whether Rockstar wants Grand Theft Auto 5 to maintain its player count through mods or through GTA Online.
Whichever way things play out, Rockstar will need to communicate with their PC audience sooner rather than later. Most players would likely prefer to operate within the developers’ rules — but many will find a way to circumvent the system if they’re not given a clear picture of the alternative.
Grand Theft Auto V is available now for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.