Mods are one of the many things that make PC Gaming great (again) but are they under fire? And what does the future of modding look like?
Mods are what first showed me that a PC could be used for so much more than Word, spreadsheets, email and homework.
Skyrim was a major instigator, but Torchlight, Fallout, The Witcher, Dragon Age, Grand Theft Auto and Knights of the Old Republic are all made vastly more versatile, expansive and just plain better via the use of mods.
Some of my favourites are:
- The splendid New Vegas Bounties in Fallout: New Vegas
- Synergies for Torchlight 2
- The TSL Restored Content Mod for KOTOR 2
- Kung Fu 3.0, which adds martial arts to Max Payne
Mods and modding communities are what defines PC gaming to me: sure you can play in 4K, push a game’s visuals to the limit and still get three figure framerates, but modding shows the creativity and ingenuity of the playerbase, regardless of their systems specs.
Change, however, is most definitely afoot!
Within a week of one another Take-Two have shut down OpenIV, one of the big modding tools for GTA IV and V, and Bethesda have announced their Creation Club.
Take-Two issued the creators of Open IV with a cease and desist letter claiming that Open IV modifies GTA V “in violation of Take-Two’s rights.”
You can debate the merits of this until the cows come home, of course Take-Two have a legal prerogative to defend their product and they no doubt have their reasons, but it’s a big blow to modding and could set a dangerous precedent.
On the other hand Bethesda are making a move to further legitimise and even monitise mods, kind of.
They’re introducing the Creator Club, which will invite prominent modders and other devs to create content for Skyrim and Fallout 4.
This is being seen as an effort to resurrect the abject failure that was paid mods back in April of 2015. I’m going to reserve judgement until I actually see the shape it takes, because at the moment it’s pretty vague as to what the scope is actually going to be.
According to Pete Hines, Bethesda’s marketing VP, it’s going to produce “official” DLC-style bits-and-bobs, tested and greenlit by Bethesda, which will work across all platforms and with existing save games.
Hines explained to Gamespot that if a modder joins the Club then they’re ‘no longer a modder, they’re now a game developer’ and ‘getting paid like any other developer.’
That’s great! Some modders are so incredibly talented that they should certainly be paid for their work and donations, through sites like Nexus or Patreon, can be unreliable.
Conversely, this will certainly impact the modding scene in some way. There is bound to be a migration, no matter how small, to this platform, which has the potential for better payment and experience with a proper dev.
Are you heartbroken over OpenIV’s closure? What do you think of the Creation Club? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.