Rabid fans are both a blessing and a curse to developers across the entertainment spectrum.
Books, music, films, television series and games are consistently propelled into the stratosphere by word-of-mouth marketing that sees their audience multiply and multiply, but elements of this ever-growing base can quickly turn toxic when they don’t get specifically what they ‘want’ from new instalments.
The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones (and the general backlash to author George R.R. Martin’s inability to finish the source material novels in the time) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi are amongst recent high-profile examples where collective discontent has brought out the worst behaviours in many.
In the world of games, one way that developers are able to placate fans who think that they can do a better job than the creators is to enable modding, giving players access to source code that lets them build their own environments, features and even whole games.
Opinions on this practice differ, with the likes of Valve (who were gifted the cash cow of Counterstrike by modders) and Bethesda actively promoting it whilst the likes of Nintendo maintain a strict zero-tolerance policy for any unauthorised use of their intellectual properties, instantly taking legal action when anything arises.
Here are five games that could’ve been Counterstrikes if they hadn’t been almost immediately hit with cease and desists upon being showcased to the world.
5. GoldenCry (Far Cry GoldenEye)
The debate for and
against fan-made games and mods was reignited most recently by the emergence of
a full recreation of GoldenEye’s 18 maps within Far Cry 5, which offers a
comprehensive level builder as part of its online features.
Rare’s classic, based on the Pierce Brosnan led James Bond film of the same name, is widely regarded as one of the best first-person shooters of all time. It has never been remade, despite high demand and repeated efforts to the contrary, as a remake by Rare themselves in 2007 and a fanmade version crafted over the course of eleven years were both killed before they could be released.
The Nintendo 64 release, whilst ground-breaking in its day, is nigh-on unplayable in the modern era as a result of things like its clunky controls and graphics that were never intended to be displayed on anything more advanced than a 1990s 4:3 television.
Yet franchise owners MGM (recently acquired by Amazon) seem insistent on ensuring that it remains the only version of the game available, pressuring Ubisoft to take the maps, which took two and a half years to put together, down from Far Cry within days.
They’ve since made their way back online with all 007 references removed, though it remains to be seen if they’ll remain for the long term given MGM’s notorious attempts to not let anybody live out their spy fantasies on a console from this century.