Developers may have been chucking soil on modding’s face for years, but that doesn’t make it dead. Not in founding DayZ modder Matt Lightfoot’s book, anyway.
“The exec producer on Battlefield: Bad Company said something along the lines of ‘modding is dead’; well we certainly buried it alive didn’t we,” he laughed in a chat with AusGamers. “I loved ArmA because of the customisability: you could download a mod and get a new aircraft. There was so many mods for it, and that’s what kept me playing. I’ve sunk thousands of hours into ArmA before DayZ even came about, and it expanded the lifecycle of the game indefinitely.
“So I certainly don’t think modding is dead,” he went on. “When you look at Half-Life and Black Mesa on the Source Engine, these things are huge games. So I don’t think it’s likely to die in the foreseeable future.”
In Battlefield producer Patrick Bach’s defence, he didn’t exactly say that modding was dead – rather that is was a “declining trend”. In fact, he seemed rather cut up about it:
“It’s sad to say,” Bach told Gameplanet in 2011. “We’ve seen some cool mods but since games are getting more complicated to build, it’s also getting more complicated to mod them, so it’s a declining trend as we see it. Sad but true.”
That said, DICE are doing precisely nothing to uphold the proud tradition of FPS modding id helped instigate in the ‘90s. Instead, they’ve spread hacker horror stories, blathered about inter-platform equality – a dubious concept at best – and clamped down on harmless Battlefield 3 palette-tweaking tools.
To quote Tripwire co-founder Alan Wilson, another great proponent of user-created content: “It’s something we really can’t wrap our heads around – why would you stop people from modding your game? Why would you prevent people from being creative with your material?”