A few days ago Take2 contacted the development team of the GTA:Multiplayer (GTA:MP) mod and ordered them to stop development immediately. The team quickly took action and issued a message to the GTA community stating that GTA:MP was now dead in the water.
This was not good news for fans of game who have been crying out for an alternative to GTA:Online. So what happened, who are the GTA:MP team, and what happens now? We caught up with team member Benjamin G. (Raptor) to find out more. Some aspects of the replies came from other team members, so we’ve labelled all responses as being from GTA:MP.
PC Invasion: What’s your background in development?
GTA:MP: We had a team of nine developers, including two working mainly on web stuff. Some of the seven other developers such as Bit and XForce are developers in real life, meaning that they have a lot of experience in this domain. Some of our team members (like the two leaders Bit and XForce) already worked on a multiplayer modification called IV:MP for GTA:IV, the result was not so good and there has been a lot of internal issues during the development.
With GTA:MP, the progress in some months was 100 times better than the progress of IV:MP in some years, meaning that the project was really ambitious and on the right way. However, Take-Two Interactive never wanted to shut down IV:MP and we suppose that’s because the interests on the original multiplayers are absolutely not the same between the two different games, since Take-Two Interactive created a system of microtransaction on GTA:Online.
PCI: How did you discover this was happening to GTA:MP? What exactly happened?
GTA:MP: Everything was fine, a new week started. The previous day we just released our development blog week 30 just like we used to do since the release of GTA V on PC. Every Sunday we posted a newsletter on our forum, explaining what we have done during the last week, the progress, etc… Last Sunday we even posted a special letter from the staff member to the community to thank them for all the support and the donations. For many months the donations allowed us to pay all of our costs and we are very grateful to the community for that, this was awesome.
So the situation was absolutely fine but then on Monday 9 November, everything collapsed. I was about to do some stuff related to GTA:MP and Bit asked everybody in the team to come on Teamspeak for a big meeting. He (with XForce) explained everything: two private investigators went to their home, meaning a total of four private investigators just for us. They were sent by Take-Two Interactive, they called the Senior Vice President and Head of Risk Management of Take-Two Interactive and gave the phone to the two developers from GTA:MP. The person on the phone asked them to stop all of the activities related to GTA:MP because they represent a threat for GTA:Online and their business. At this moment, we knew that everything was over because we already said that we would not try to do anything against Take-Two Interactive, it’s useless.
PCI: You have been working on this for a long time, what motivated you to create GTA:MP?
GTA:MP: I remember myself riding around in Los Santos on the PS3 version of GTA V. At this time, we had not the PC version yet, in fact we didn’t even know if there will be a PC version of the game. While I was exploring this beautiful map with such awesome graphics, my thought was when the PC version will be released, I hope some developers will make an alternative multiplayer on this game, just like SAMP and MTA did on GTA:San Andreas. I played several years on SAMP and MTA, particularly on roleplay servers and it was my dream to have the same thing on GTA V. I didn’t even know yet, but a such project of alternative multiplayer was already in progress, and it was GTA:MP.
When I heard about it, almost nobody knew about GTA:MP. I started to be an active member of the community, I became a beta tester and finally a member of the team. A lot of people had the same dreams that I had back when I was playing GTA V on PS3 and this is the reason why people wanted to make and support such a beautiful mod. We all wanted an alternative for GTA:Online, where you could play with hundred of other players on a server, have countless opportunities and possibilities for the game modes, etc…
If you would have liked to play on a very serious roleplay server like it’s actually the case on SAMP/MTA, you could have done it. If you wanted to play on a fun server where the objective is to hunt rats as a cat, well, it could also have been possible. There would have been absolutely no limits. On GTA:Online, you can just do some races, deathmatches and some other limited stuff, for some people it can be enough, but for a lot of people new opportunities are welcome. This is basically why we made GTA:MP.
Video showing the progress one week after GTA:V’s launch
PCI: How much support did you get from Rockstar directly?
GTA:MP: We were in contact with some developers of Rockstar Games through mails and phone. They were very kind and they supported us. If we had some technical questions, they answered it. That kind of things. Basically, our relation with Rockstar Games was good, we have absolutely no problems with them.
We know that FiveM had troubles with Rockstar Games, but this is quite different. They used technical parts of the GTA:Online network and redirected it to their own software. It means that they used stuff from GTA:Online, which has been strictly forbidden by Rockstar Games. Additionally, they did nothing against the piracy and allowed it.
GTA:MP is totally different, everything is based on the single player game. It means that we made our own network and added it to the singleplayer. This is not an easy task and this is why it takes time and we did not release the first version yet (but we were about to do so very soon). The only thing we took from GTA:Online is just the login system, because we wanted to check if the player has a Social Club account with a legal copy of GTA V linked to it. We did not support the piracy!
PCI: Did the Rockstar team not give you any indications that there might be legal implications further down the line when you first started this project?
PCI: Were you at any point during the development process concerned about what might happen? Were there any indications legal action might be taken?
GTA:MP: At first, we were thinking about Rockstar Games, back when we had no relation with them. We thought that they will maybe prevent us from doing anything, but once we started to talk with them and had a great relation, we didn’t think about it anymore. We thought that we were out of danger, but as I said before, we forgot to think about Take-Two Interactive. We also respected things like Rockstar’s Social Club and never hooked or modified them, we did not want to make them angry or maybe rethink it.
PCI: Do you think the Shark cards are the main reason Take2 has taken this action?
GTA:MP: Yes. We don’t think that there is any other reasons, or at least it’s the main reason. Take-Two probably don’t want people to play on an other multiplayer because it can means that less people will buy their stuff on GTA:Online. We can understand that, but they only pay attention to the negative aspect of GTA:MP (and well, this is a negative aspect only for Take-Two, the community would love to have an alternative multiplayer). In fact, GTA:MP can have a lot of positive aspects for Take-Two Interactive. A lot of people already bought and would have buy GTA V just in order to be able to play GTA:MP.
In the PC community there’s a lot of piracy, and since we did not support that, the pirates would have to buy the game if they wanted to enjoy all these new possibilities. GTA:MP, just like all the other mods, would have also increased the lifetime of this beautiful game. GTA San Andreas was released in 2005 on computer and is still played massively just because of SAMP and MTA.