The modding community is great, often extending the life of a single game well beyond what one would normally expect. Modders have done wonderful things, from making Skyrim’s forests lusher to remastering old games. However, publishers don’t always support modders’ work, and in the case of GTA Underground, a mod that combines several classic Grand Theft Auto maps into one project, publisher hostilities led to a full shutdown.
Over on YouTube, the GTA Underground team posted a video simply titled “The End,” crediting those that had worked on the project during development and thanking fans for supporting it. The team has since updated the descriptions on its channel’s videos with a statement reading “Due to the increasing hostility towards the modding community and imminent danger to our mental and financial well-being, we officially ceased the development of GTA: Underground and have taken all of the downloads offline.”
Essentially, the GTA Underground mod combined the maps from GTA: San Andreas, GTA: 3, GTA: Vice City, Manhunt, Manhunt 2, and Bully into one cohesive setup, while also introducing various weapons, vehicles, and more to the mix. Snapshots of the project have been shared throughout its lifespan, detailing the progress that the project had made in the years since it entered development.
GTA Underground wasn’t just a simple melding of maps and items, though, as it also had several unique features. For instance, players were able to travel through airports to other cities if they didn’t want to fly themselves, and each map had their own shops, using a variety of interiors from the other games. There was even a multiplayer component, which was built off of the GTA: San Andreas multiplayer mod.
Take-Two, which publishes the Grand Theft Auto series, seems to be the culprit behind the shutdown, taking on a hostile stance towards modding projects recently. It’s not entirely clear why that is, though it most likely has something to do with the Grand Theft Auto remastered trilogy, which is reportedly releasing soon. While the trilogy hasn’t been officially confirmed, it’s said to include GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas. That would explain the general hostility toward the project, as it could be seen as a “threat” to a paid remaster.
The GTA Underground project has been posting updates for years, so it’s sad to see it go. Mods tend to walk a delicate line when it comes to their legality, and situations like this are common. Regardless, though, it’s disappointing that this one will never be finished.