Take Two and Rockstar Use DMCA requirements to remove multiple GTA mods

Niko Bellic from GTA IV with a Take-Two logo on his face on his way away from a big explosion.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Take-Two / Kotaku

As players continue to criticize the recently released GTA trilogy remastered collection, Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive has decided that this is Perfect time to use DMCA removal notices to remove some more GTA mods and fan projects.

On November 11, according to the folks over there GTA modding site City of Freedom, New York, Take-Two contacted them and used DMCA attacks to remove three different GTA-related mods. The three removed mods are listed below:

  • GTA Advance PC Port Beta 2
  • The Lost and Damned Unlocked for GTA 4
  • GTA IV EFLC The Lost And Damned (65%)

GTA Advance PC port is a fan-developed project that tries to port the game into GTA 3 engine. Developed by Digital Eclipse, GTA Advance was first released on GameBoy Advance in 2004.

The Lost and Damned Unlocked for GTA IV is a mod released in 2009 that lets players swap out the star GTA IV, Niko Bellic, with the main character in Lost and Damned DLC, motorcyclist Johnny Klebitz. It also included some new motorcycle outfits and icons.

Finally, GTA IV EEFLC (65%) is not even a mod! It’s just a save file for the game that lets players start from 65% completion. Yes, Take-Two used a DMCA attack on a saved file for a game that was released over ten years ago.

These are just the latest in increasing numbers GTA mods Take-Two has been followed up and removed using legal DMCA notices. Over the last year, the company has been on a takedown trip, as one GTA character on amok. It has that too sued fan developers over source code projects and led to some old mods, e.g. GTA Underground, shut down due to fears of more legal and financial problems.

The last time such counter-takings happened, they were mostly aimed at the classic PS2 era GTA games, which Viceby. Not long after, and the following Kotaku’s own report in August, Rockstar confirmed remastered versions of all three classic PS2s GTA games were to be released this year. These games have since been released earlier in the week to mostly negative reactions where fans share numerous errors and graphical errors on Twitter and Reddit.

Because of what happened last time, some speculate that these takedowns are proof that a GTA IV remaster may come sometime in the future. According to sources who have spoken with Kotaku previously about Rockstar’s future remasters, GTA IV as well as Red Dead Redemption remasters are possible. Although plans can and do change, and with the recent backlash to GTA remasters, Rockstar is perhaps more hesitant about future re-releases.

Whether these removals are proof of a future GTA IV remaster or not, it’s still a frustrating situation for modders and community developers who have spent decades improving, porting, and maintaining the classic GTA games that allow fans to play them years after Rockstar had moved on. Kotaku talked to some modders who seemed tired of Rockstar and many more have moved on to other games from other companies, worried about the potential legal pitfalls of continuing to modify Grand Theft Auto titles.

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