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GTA 5 AI mod shot down by Take-Two, even as Rockstar relax policy on modding

Modder exhorts Rockstar to "focus on creating proper remakes"

A single GTA 5 mod has rekindled the age-old shouting match about the precise legality and contribution of videogame mods, in the eyes of developers, publishers and players - while also threatening to trigger fresh debate on the use of large language models, aka AI, in game development. The mod in question, "AI Powered GTA V: Story Mode with AI NPCs" sees you investigating a cult of weirdo AI worshippers, with characters who speak AI-generated dialogue. It's now been struck from several sites by GTA 5 publisher Take-Two Interactive.

The mod's creator, Bloc, is understandably rather upset about this. "No one from Take-Two Interactive contacted and ask me anything prior to this, they just took down the video out of nowhere," he wrote on his Youtube channel (cheers Eurogamer). "Two days ago, my account on Netlify was also suspended. I used Netlify to host the installation guide for the mod. I should not claim anything without proof, of course, since netlify didn't bother to give any explanation, but to me, it looks like these two cases are seem to be related."

Bloc has attempted to contact Take Two for an explanation. "[I] was hoping that there might be a small misunderstanding or that they could explain the reasoning behind it. Perhaps this occurred automatically, but the evidence suggests a deliberate manual DMCA takedown request from them. I also didn't get any response back." According to Bloc, the mod has since been chopped from modding hub Nexusmods by means of a DMCA claim. He's removed it himself from another site, gta5mods, to avoid any further legal difficulties.

Copyright strikes on Youtube are no joke. The takedown will interfere with Bloc's ability to monetise videos for three months, and is a permanent mark on his channel. "I must say, as a person who grew up with the Grand Theft Auto series and enjoyed all the games throughout the years, this hostile attitude towards me and the mod is very disheartening," Bloc went on.

He's still "happy to discuss" the situation with Take-Two, noting that the mod is free and open source. But he also hopes that "anyone who enjoyed this mod will remember this dishonest action taken by Take-Two whenever they hear any news about the Rockstar. Rather than chasing small mods, perhaps they should focus on creating proper remakes with better pricing policy or should stop removing cars from Online to sell same cars to people."

Ironically enough, GTA developer Rockstar have recently relaxed their rules on player mods, not only forgiving the modding team, which the company had previously banned from GTA Online, but actually hiring them.

"Over the past few years, we've watched with excitement as Rockstar's creative community have found new ways to expand the possibilities of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, particularly through the creation of dedicated roleplay servers," the developer wrote in a post. "As a way to further support those efforts, we recently expanded our policy on mods to officially include those made by the roleplay creative community. By partnering with the team, we will help them find new ways to support this incredible community and improve the services they provide to their developers and players."

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