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Dying Light Developer Silencing the Modding Community [Update]

by William Schwartz

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Update:  Techland has announced that Offical Mod Tools are coming to Dying Light and has since called modders a “massive part of our community” that they wish to see continue.  You can enter any mod ideas for Dying Light here.

This past week saw the highly anticipated release of Techland’s newest zombie title, Dying Light. As has been the unfortunate case with several AAA titles recently, the game did not launch without a handful of glaring technical flaws. The PC version in particular left players less than impressed with the game’s poor multi-GPU optimization and CPU utilization, which both led to ridiculously hefty FPS drops. We’re talking well below the “cinematic” line.

But, hey, this is the PC version we’re talking about. Surely the community will band together and find ways to improve the experience via mods, right? Of course they will. And they did. The modding community was quick to dive into the game’s files and begin tweaking. These weren’t major performance overhauls. Instead, the first mod simply removed the film grain to enhance the visual experience for those that wished it gone. It sounds harmless enough, but Warner Bros. and Techland seem to have a different opinion on the matter.

Dying Light’s 1.2.1 patch included a fix that “blocked cheating by changing game’s data files”. It would seem that “modding” and “cheating” are now one in the same. If that message wasn’t clear enough, DMCA claims have been sent to those nefarious modders who dared to remove the film grain aesthetic. It’s an unnecessarily blunt and extreme approach that shows how far a publisher is willing to go to punish its own fans for innocently modifying the game to their liking, even if those tweaks remain in the single-player experience.

Techland once welcomed mods. You may recall seeing sites post their lists of the best mods available for Dead Island shortly after release. That was back when Techland’s work was being published by Deep Silver. So this recent change in stance on the modding community may have more to do with Techland’s new publisher, Warner Bros., than anything else. But that is purely speculation at this point.

The fact of the matter is this: mods add replayability and extend the life of a game. Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto IV have been recent posterboys for modding. These titles, and countless others, have been given near life-like visual overhauls, all new campaigns with full voice acting and even entirely new maps. Developers should be embracing mods. And some still do!

It is disappointing to see Dying Light take such a strong stance against community created content. One could only imagine what that game could achieve it were able to take advantage of the collective creativity of the PC community. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any further actions or announcements regarding Dying Light’s mod censorship. Feel free to dive into the comments below and share your thoughts on the topic.

Update: Techland has issued a statement on modding of Dying Light.

Regarding the modding, this is such mix up that we are clearing up hopefully today!

With the recent patch (1.2.1) on Steam we blocked cheating to make sure the game’s PvP system (Be The Zombie) would not be abused. This, however, had the side-effect of hindering mod-makers from making changes to the game.

Creating obstacles for modders has never been our intention. We are now working on a quick patch that will re-enable common tweaks while stopping cheating in the game’s multiplayer mode.

At Techland, we have always supported the mod community, and loved seeing how our own game can be changed by the players. A big part of the original Dead Island’s success was the passion and creativity of mod-makers from our community. We want the same for Dying Light.

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