Take-Two Interactive is pulling a Nintendo. Yesterday, the Grand Theft Auto publisher filed suit in California’s Northern District against 14 programmers behind re3 project, a fan-driven effort that offers reverse-engineered source code for Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Crucially, re3 project makes Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City playable on platforms where the games have never been released, including the Nintendo Switch.
That’s likely what spurred Take-Two to activate its army of white-shoe lawyers at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, a Manhattan-based law firm. Re3 project has been around for several years but has largely avoided legal scrutiny. But now, it could impact the company’s bottom line.
Last month, Kotaku reported that Rockstar was working on a collection that would include remastered versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas — and that it was coming to the Switch. Though the collection hasn’t been officially revealed, sources say it’s targeting a release later this year. It’ll also come out for PlayStation and Xbox. (PC and mobile versions are planned for a 2022 release.)
“Perhaps most notably, Defendants claim that their derivative GTA source code enables players to install and run the Games on multiple game platforms, including those on which the Games never have been released, such as the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch,” MSK attorneys Karin G. Pagnanelli and Marc E. Mayer wrote in the complaint.
Take-Two is seeking a preliminary injunction — basically, legalese for a court order that halts behaviour before a ruling is determined — and seeking a jury trial.
It’s not the only legal move Take-Two has taken recently against unsanctioned Grand Theft Auto code. Last month, the company issued a wave of DMCA takedowns for some of the biggest mods related to the series. One might wonder why Take-Two is all of sudden kicking the suits into high gear, but the answer seems pretty obvious.
Representatives for Take-Two Interactive did not immediately respond to a request for comment.