The legal warning to OpenIV was sent by lawyers from Rockstar's parent company Take-Two. In the past, multiplayer mods have often been targeted with takedown notices to combat cheating and remove any perceived threat to its lucrative GTA Online. Mods for GTA's single-player had been largely left alone.
The targeting of OpenIV appeared to signal a shift in stance from Take-Two - it had moved the goal posts of what was allowed. Unsurprisingly, the GTA mod community was upset.
Now, Rockstar has stepped in to help smooth things over. It issued a statement over the weekend to clarify what was and wasn't allowed, and concluded that single-player mods would "generally" be safe. Open IV is now back online.
Rockstar's statement, shared via the company's support site, lies below in full:
Are PC Single-Player Mods Allowed? Rockstar Games believes in reasonable fan creativity, and, in particular, wants creators to showcase their passion for our games. After discussions with Take-Two, Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar's PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties.
This does not apply to (i) multiplayer or online services; (ii) tools, files, libraries, or functions that could be used to impact multiplayer or online services, or (iii) use or importation of other IP (including other Rockstar IP) in the project. This is not a license, and it does not constitute endorsement, approval, or authorisation of any third-party project.
Take-Two reserves the right to object to any third-party project, or to revise, revoke and/or withdraw this statement at any time in their own discretion. This statement does not constitute a waiver of any rights that Take-Two may have with respect to third-party projects.
The big caveat in the above is that Take-Two can still act out if it really wants. Still, it feels like Rockstar is trying to restore faith and reassure the GTA modding community. Hopefully things will return to normal from here on out.
Over the years, we've covered attempts to remake other Rockstar games in GTA4 and GTA5 - like Red Dead Redemption and Vice City - as well as mods which improve the game's visuals and gameplay. People have modded in motion controls, a gravity gun, Just Cause's grappling hook and all sorts of other things - the ability to play as the Hulk, then the ability to play as Iron Man's Hulkbuster suit, and countless other characters - even Rick and Morty.
One of the best ideas was a mod to add a Los Santos Pride celebration, created in response to last year's Orlando nightclub shooting. Even Pete Tong got involved.