Take-Two Shuts Down Paid GTA Online Cheating Tool, Forces Creators To Donate To Charity

Days after Take-Two Interactive shut down a popular GTA V modding tool, another modding service has come into the publisher's crosshairs. Force Hax, a GTA Online PC modding menu that charged users money for its cheating and harassment services, has not only been taken down, Take-Two asked the developers to apologise in an unusual way.

Force Hax was a mod menu that players used for a variety of things, including gifting themselves endless money, freezing and kicking players from the game, and even stealing money from other GTA Online players. Force Hax was not the only tool of its kind, but it was one of the most popular ones.

Right now, the Force Hax official website redirects to a statement from the development team:

"After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, effective immediately we are ceasing all maintenance, development and distribution of the Force Hax cheat menu services. We will be donating our proceeds to charity and we apologise for any and all problems Force Hax services have caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online community."

Rockstar confirmed with Kotaku that the former cheat enablers do indeed have to donate their modding earnings to charity, but did not specify how much money that would be or what specific causes would benefit from it. We do know, however, that Force Hax cost $US15 ($20) a month for players who used it, and that thousands of players were estimated to use the services.

Force Hax's takedown shouldn't be a surprise: when Rockstar clarified why Take-Two took down the GTA modding tool from earlier this week, a spokesperson specified that the publisher wanted to impede "malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfered with the GTA Online experience." While arguably Open IV didn't fit that criteria, Force Hax most certainly does.

Given that Force Hax is an actual cheating tool, the community is reacting positively to the news. The mod menu was popular with griefers, so many are hoping that GTA Online on PC will become a safer place, rather than a cheater's paradise.

Despite the enthusiasm surrounding Force Hax's cease and desist, generally, the community is still reeling from the shutdown of Open IV, a free tool used for singleplayer mods that allowed players to do things like add new characters, and make machinima videos.

Since the commotion surrounding Open IV, GTA V has been receiving thousands of negative reviews on Steam from fans who believe the modding tool was unjustly taken down. As of this writing, GTA V now has nearly 30,000 negative reviews, changing the overall rating from "Mostly Positive" to "Overwhelmingly Negative." The top-voted review says "Dont buy this, Take two interactive is screwing it over with the online gameplay and anti modding policies."

Steam data tracker, Steam Spy, visualed just how sharp of a drop the game has suffered in the last few days:

Modders are protesting in their own way, too. One former fan, for example, made a mod that broadcasts a blimp message to Take-Two:

Elsewhere, Open IV modding fans have started a Change.org petition that currently has 32K signatures. Defenders of OpenIV say that, despite Take-Two's claim that the tool allowed for the disruption of multiplayer activities, tthe mod was always a single-player only modding tool.

Comments left on the Change.Org Petition

The future of GTA V mods feels shaky and uncertain right now, and players are expressing worry that their favourite tool will be next on the radar. After all, modding tools fuel everything from the ever-elusive Chiliad Mystery, to popular role-playing servers. While taking down a mod menu like Force Hax is definitely a good thing, overall, Take-Two and Rockstar have an uphill battle to fight if they want to gain back the community's trust.

Zach Zwiezen is a a writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. He has written for Gamecritics, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.


Comments

    Don't buy for a second that the reason for these mod tool shut downs is to 'better the player experience'.

    All they care about is stopping people hacking in cash, etc, instead of buying shark cards, and if they said so I'd have more respect for them. Instead they opted for the typical, "Its for the good of the players guys and not our pockets, we swear!" bullshit spin.

      Looks like we found a salty af cheater.

      If you spawn in money you are ruining the experience for others, if you buy the money from Rockstar you are just making a choice to skip some of the grind because of the busy life you lead.

      Somehow the above makes sense to a lot of people?

        People always like to side with the company. In my opinion Shark Cards have always been a scummy way to maintain this game, but oh well. But you're right, both are the exact same thing, both make money magically appear from nowhere, it's just one ends up with cash in Rockstar/Take Two's pockets.

    There was a pop up regarding cheating after the last update.
    I'm going to assume the revenue has dropped of late and they are pretending it's about player experience.

    Might explain why they went after Open IV too, a popular modding tool that draws players away from the Online section.
    They have made little secret of GTAO's success and tevenue making potential, as well as making it clear that the service is their main focus right now.
    To the number crunchers, a player not playing online is a loss of potential revenue.

    I'm going to admit I'm eager for RDR2 like everyone, but GTAV has really left a sour taste in my mouth. From a lackluster campaign (I'm sorry, I found it the weakest in the series, despite Trevor being a great character, the campaign itself was weak I thought), to the multiplayer which became a hackfest shitshow, to Take Two and Rockstar just dropping the ball at every opportunity by dumping single player content in favour of extending the multiplayer experience and raising the middle finger at those of us who supported this series since its inception. It's a real pity this series has turned into what it is, it really is. Maybe it'll get back to its roots one day and deliver something as strong as Vice City and San Andreas. I hope.

      At this rate RDR2 campaign will be a tutorial for the multiplayer and you will be able to buy flying horses with gatling guns for twice the price you paid for the base game.

        All the while someone would be spinning it and patting themselves on the back for their 'innovation'.

    Meh... these games are boring. Obviously the cease and desist orders are a lame attempt to keep the revenue stream active.
    But as I said. Boring.

    Here's my article http://www.thelategamer.com/video-game-review/pc/late-gta-v-review/ about this bullshit a few months ago.

    I've been saying it... I've been saying it for 10 god damn years! Well, technically only the last 3 years and I only actually wrote it down this Feb, but I've been saying how they're nothing but robbing bastards and that the community who has always come to the defense of Take Two and Rockstar at times when parents and censors said the game was too graphic, only for Rockstar to turn round and fuck over it's own fanbase in the name of money. The community now could be so much better off without them. Considering the amount of work modders have put into their work, it's a small surprise they haven't created an entirely new game of their own yet... which they should! Please can the modders get together and create a new GTA IP. Entirely open source/(crowd funded) that doesn't make you buy 'shark cards'?!

    Force Hax allowing players to "steal" money from other players is absolute bullshit.

    Half you guys are mad because you cant mod and its messed up to take away from the game leave the menus alone. Rockstar gets money from all these other games so leave gta v alone damnn.

    "The GTA Online experience"?
    As far as I can tell, the "GTA Online experience" involves grinding like hell to afford ever more overpriced imaginary junk that has a lifespan only as long as GTA Online exists unless you're prepared to fork over loads of money.
    I always preferred the GTA offline experience. But they pretty much jammed the brakes on that one, even to the point of not putting the Hydra in Story Mode.
    Screw the GTA Online experience.

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