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PC gamers making mods for the newly launched zombie game Dying Light have run into a serious problem. It seems the game's creators are now blocking any attempts to modify it.
Patch 1.2.1, released on Friday, includes the following note: "blocked cheating by changing game’s data files." While this change may be motivated by Techland's desire to keep the game balanced, it's also devastating to would-be modders. It prevents players from either creating new items or modifying existing ones.
Even mods that have little effect on gameplay are being restricted. This patch prevents players from disabling shadows. That's extremely unfortunate because it helped many PC gamers improve their framerate.
Dying Light publisher Warner Bros. is also taking down mods from sites like MediaFire and TinyUpload that merely remove the film grain effect from the game. They're removing the mods through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In other words, they're alleging that these mods are infringing on their copyright.
This is understandably upsetting to PC gamers. They expected mods to be permitted as they were in Techland's previous zombie game Dead Island. Dead Island has a wide range of fan mods that can make the game considerably easier or harder. One of them even gave players parkour abilities. The modding community was able to toy with the game and create experiences tailored to a wide range of players.
There's enough evidence throughout gaming at this point to argue that mods are a net positive for a game. Dark Souls' PC version has significantly better performance thanks to resolution and framerate fixes built by the community. Skyrim players have hundreds of hours of additional gameplay thanks to the various adventures built by its community. It's a financial boon to the developers and publishers, too. A game's significantly more attractive when it's enhanced by a robust modding community. After all, how many people bought Arma 3 just to play the zombie mod DayZ?
Techland most of all should know how useful mods are. As a Reddit user points out, their upcoming medieval game Hellraid actually started as a mod. A member of the development team created a Dead Island mod that let players use magic and two-handed sword to kill zombies. The team had so much fun with this mod that that decided to create a full game based on it.
I do hope that Techland and WB reconsider their stance toward mods. In the meantime, though, players will have to play the game as-is.