A popular PC modder who has created unofficial photo modes for various PC games has been hit with a cease and desist letter by Crysis developer Crytek. Now, after threats of legal action from the German studio, the modder has opted to remove the mods he created for Crytek games from his Patreon page.
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Frans Bouma, a Dutch software engineer who makes photo mode mods for an assortment of PC games, recently turned his talents to creating such mods for the remastered versions of Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 on PC. These mods allowed you to do what you’d expect: position the camera, adjust various settings, and take stunning pictures while hiding onscreen elements such as the HUD. The result is essentially a photo mode like those in games such as The Last Of Us Part II but built for a game that doesn’t actually include the feature.
Unfortunately, according to a few of Bouma’s tweets on January 13, including one with a screenshot of the letter from a Crytek PR manager, the studio doesn’t “allow for mods of these games under the terms of [the] EULA.” Bouma asked the studio for clarification on how the mods violated either game’s end-user licensing agreement, and was told that the “main issue” was that the photo mode mods were monetized.
“Technically any mod of a Crysis Remastered game is a breach of the EULA,” Crytek’s PR manager told Bouma, in a letter which he shared on his Patreon.
I received a reply which basically comes down to: "any mod is a violation of the EULA, remove it". I've written a public write up on my Patreon: https://t.co/mLd4F7DkL6, explaining why I pulled the two camera tools. Thanks for all the warm support ❤ https://t.co/Gfr9XeVl4f
— Frans Bouma (@FransBouma) January 13, 2022
“I received a reply which basically comes down to: ‘any mod is a violation of the EULA, remove it,’” Bouma tweeted.
When reached for comment, Bouma told Kotaku over email that he was shocked by the developer’s response. Bouma — who has built photo mode mods for games such as A Plague Tale: Innocence, Devil May Cry 5, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139, and others — said that he not only didn’t make money from these specific mods, but also that he’s received positive feedback from other developers for the work he’s done creating such impressive tools.
“I was shocked that I received a letter like that, including legal threats over tools that add a photomode and camera tools to a game, as I had only received positive reactions from game developers/studios till now,” Bouma said. “My tools add photomodes to games that don’t have them so the games are opened to a large group of virtual photographers and video makers who post shots and videos of the games on socials/Flickr, it’s basically a way of free advertising for the games.
“After careful consideration I decided to remove the tools for Crysis 2/3 remastered, for the reason that the alternative: fight them to the bitter end didn’t have a winning end result for me: if I would win that battle, the end result would be that people would still post screenshots and videos, made with my tools, of their games to social media, YouTube, and Flickr. Removing them would also remove that benefit for them for their games.”
We’ve reached out to Crytek for comment and will update if we hear back.
A Crytek community manager took to Reddit to apologise to everyone, including Bouma, for how the “initial message led to a misunderstanding.” The studio also said it appreciates the support it gets from the community and confessed that it “should have approached the situation differently.”
While Crytek hasn’t made headlines recently, the developer used to court controversy on account of allegedly not paying employees, abruptly closing five of its studios, and suing Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games for breaching contract and infringing its copyright. The studio did finally release the Crysis Trilogy in October, a remastered bundle of all three first-person shooters that somehow look even better than before.