Take-Two Goes After Reverse-Engineered Grand Theft Auto Code

Take-Two Goes After Reverse-Engineered Grand Theft Auto Code
Image: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Last week we shared the good news that the source code for Grand Theft Autos III & Vice City had been reverse-engineered, allowing folks to port the games and come up with cool new mods. Now, we bring you the predictable news that publisher Take-Two Interactive are not happy.

Vice City & Grand Theft Auto III’s Source Code Has Been Reverse-Engineered

A team of fans have managed to reverse-engineer the source code for both Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto Vice City, making the files available for download.

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The company, listing themselves specifically in this instance as “the parent company of Rockstar Games”, has issued a DMCA takedown notice to github, removing the reverse-engineered games from the software site.

This of course doesn’t kill the project. As Take-Two are no doubt fully aware it’s out there now, on smaller sites and HDDs and torrents, and anyone who wants to work with it will have no trouble finding it. And as anyone working on the project would have been fully aware, this is the dance these companies are forced to dance, in order to look like they’re policing and protecting their properties.

I excitedly look forward to the next cool and interesting port or mod made with this code, when we get to repeat the cycle all over again.


  • There are some people who would love a proper HD remaster of the GTA3 series (GTA3, Vice City & San Andreas) but Rockstar won’t bother doing it because they are too busy building updates for GTA Online. So we get modders who will take up the mantle and create what the market is wanting. Look at the graphical update mods for GTA4, looking better than GTA5 at some points. Imagine what modders can do now they can get into the code of GTA3 and rebuild it as a fully HD or 4K remaster.

  • this is the dance these companies are forced to dance, in order to look like they’re policing and protecting their properties.

    No, it isn’t. There is absolutely nothing in copyright law anywhere that “forces” rights holders to militantly track down each and every allegedly infringing use as if they have some actual legal obligation to play a constant game of whack a mole, as if a mod or two and some fan-made memes are of themselves enough to invalidate someone’s multimillion dollar IP investment.

    I’m sorry judge, it appears that the fact that our lawyers didn’t bother to send out take-down notices to a fan site and some modders means that we’ve effectively released our game into the public domain, sorry to waste your time.” It’s self evidentially nonsensical rubbish peddled by rent-seeking IP lawyers to justify their own exiostence.

    The criteria required to legally prove abandonment is so strict as to be basically impossible to establish short of an IP owner literally sending out copies of their source code direct to modders around the world and then winding up the company.

    • One argument is that having reverse engineered source code available will lead to unofficial builds that compete with official ports Rockstar may want to pursue. If this project had stated 10+ years ago, there likely would have been unofficial Android/iOS builds available at a time when Rockstar was planning to sell the game on those platforms.

      On balance I think it is worth having these projects out there for the sake of preservation, but I’m not at all surprised that it attracts DMCA notices like this.

    • There’s some truth there but there’s also a lot of folks who actively seek out and exploit weaknesses in IP’s for financial gain.
      It’s also a product of its own creation, the US is hands down the biggest culprits when it comes to nicking other peoples shit from around the world and assume that if they don’t protect their stuff, others will eventually do the same to them.
      It happens a lot more than you ever hear about, I have family who worked in car manufacturing years ago in places like the Australia, USA and Japan, their stories are insane.

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