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Articles > Gaming September, 24, 2015

Why don’t more games utilise user created content?

Mike Hayward
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The thing that captivates me the most about older games, is the creative freedom that they allowed you to exercise. I’m talking primarily about a game I played in my teens called Neverwinter Nights. It was a fantasy role-playing game that was based on the Dungeons & Dragons third edition rule-set.

Why don't games utilise user created content more?

Photo by JD Hancock

The single-player story mode was created using the same tools that they gave you for free, as part of the game in its 4-disc cardboard box. DVD-style cases were still in their infancy. The editor was both simple to grasp, and complex enough to suit the needs of any dungeon master. It had all of the tools (aptly named ‘Wizards’) to create seemingly infinite amount of content.

Online communities sprung up around it and would share, create and play each other’s levels or ‘modules’. Quests were easy to work into conversations, and could be generated with a few simple clicks in the Plot Wizard. Areas could be created with the Area Wizard, and characters with the Creature Wizard. After that, it was all down to the design and writing of your module. You could even string modules together to create a series of chapters with overarching stories. Over the past few years, there hasn’t really been a release that allows players to exercise their creativity in the same way. Frankly, I’m tired of being spoon-fed by triple-A titles.

There have been a few glimpses of genius in the current market. Crusader Kings II allows players to re-forge the course of history, and customise their own characters that rule certain regions of the world. The Might and Magic: Heroes series has always been good with including map editors. However, the games are much less focused on narrative, and their ever-decreasing popularity means that map-makers have a declining audience.

Perhaps there’s a rationale behind the lack of tools to create content in modern games. Would it hurt a developer/ publisher’s profits if user content out-performed future expansions or DLC? It’s understandable that a publisher would want to protect its revenue by keeping the intellectual property strictly inside the company, but this stance only holds water if they continue to add content at the rate that consumers find acceptable.

Considering the rate that an experienced RPG player exhausts content, it’s very unlikely that any developer could keep up. Also, if your content is sub-par compared with the content created by a team of amateur users, your DLC simply isn’t worth the money anyway. It begs the question: ‘why isn’t that publisher hiring that group of talented individuals?’ This has happened, by the way.

Portal 2 released a free patch called the Perpetual Testing Initiative (PTI), which was a simple yet effective tool which allowed players to build their own puzzles, complete with switches, timers, laser beams and choosing which surfaces are portal-friendly. It’s linked with the Steam-Workshop, which is essentially a forum which allows for the download of work from each user. Valve have actually hired level designers based on their stellar work on the PTI, which makes the PTI a great tool not only for appeasing gameplay-hungry users, but also as a talent scouting system. You might even say that it’s a… portal into the business? No? Please yourself.

Whichever way you look at it, you simply have to admire the creative potential within gaming as a hobby, particularly with regards to user content generation. It’s becoming more and more ubiquitous, and even more respected as the years pass, making the old stigmas attached it seem horribly out of date.

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  1. Jordon Lane

    The thing about gaming now a days is, the fact that its all based around money and not giving the audience/fans what they want. For that few extra coins out of out hard, well earned cash, they take away some content from the vanilla game and then decide to release it as DLC for the future. People prefer older games because back then it was all about you, how you enjoy the game and how the company wanted to make a good name for themselves so people will buy their stuff in the future. The old games had way more freedom within them because you never had any micro-transactions in the way, telling you that “you would look more awesome with this” or ” if you want to complete or make the game easier for you, buy this”. I agree with people saying that we should not buy DLC anymore mainly because it encourages the companies to keep doing it. It shows them that we give in to their little scams for extra money even if the content is ripped from the game. We also need to think about not pre-ordering games anymore. Pre-ordering games can be so dangerous now adays, they can easily show a well made trailer of the game, showing all this fancy stuff you can do within the game but then again completely lie to our faces and promise stuff which is shown within the said trailer which isn’t their at all. The user created content is a great way to show the companies and other people what you would like to be in the game which is also shown by the amount of time and effort which is put within them. Todd Howard has realised this from the amount of people who like to mod Skyrim or fallout, its because of the user created content that hes thought of the idea to apply mods to consoles now so we can all enjoy them. Maybe if we keep creating content for other games, we can kinda show that it can improve the game for companies who are trying to release games which has good content and are trying to improve on the experience rather than making us pay for content which isn’t needed for.

  2. Karolina Balcerzak

    I think… virtual reality games will make a new revolution.

  3. Oliwia Lewandowska

    Well, first of all I think that it depends on the game and the platform that you’re actually playing. As a PC gamer myself there are many communities even on Steam or other websites where user created content is usable. Take a look at Valve for example, Counter-Strike, Garry’s Mod, Team Fortress or even Dota 2 where all based on mods first which aren’t that difficult to create, of course the creators where or are still hired by Valve! When you buy any Bethesda game you also get a creation kit to create mods, e.g. Skyrim’s Falskaar was created by a 19 year old who now has a job at Bungie and probably worked on Destiny.
    Things aren’t as complicated as they seem!

  4. Vikas

    User generated content is all well and good, but people rely on it too much as a crutch for an unfinished or incomplete product. Examine the state of Epic, Valve, Bethesda, or any other developer who release titles and engines with mod support. Make no mistake about their successes however, all three enjoy very comfortable revenue, but the first two barely make games, and the latter releases nothing but arguably substandard, unoptimised, broken slag. Encouraging creativity is a good thing

  5. Bassel Ghazali

    It’s true that user created content opens up a new world of potential, I feel that theres also a problem with it. If we look at games which allow this, we see that there are thousands of levels created, but how many of them are really worth our time and can fairly be called added value to the game? I feel that this aspect of gaming just doesn’t pay off as well as it should

  6. Henri Christian Kurniawan

    I think game developers should hear and know what gamers ideas


    haha… :like:

  8. Dana Hanoon

    We do not deny that the old games were had entertaining and exciting adventure … but I think the new games it may be a gateway to a new and interesting experience, especially the games that used the 3D feature .


    I think it’s good to use the ideas of the users/gamers for newer and greater games

  10. Sawdah Khan

    I dont know how to think of this really. I’ve always really played and wasnt too fussed eitherway. I can say though, I loved playing on the computer- one GIANT reason being Skyrim and its mods. It makes the game waaay more fun and enjoyable. I immediately stopped the console version and just played the PC version over and over again aha. Heck, some mods are as big as an actual DLC – like faalskaar, I seriously think some of these modders have great talent.

  11. james loftus

    I think…that game’s company’s are just large TNC’s that want to maximise profits, so the idea of the uses creating their own content would never fully be implemented, the idea of improving the game is DLCs, which users simply continue to purchase because they are bored of the normal game. therefore the idea of user created content will not been seen for a long time

  12. rahmad ramadhan

    I think…game not realy good

  13. Leau Mihai Claudiu

    I think…really the game is a true live somewhere cause there is a mid of true

  14. Joe G

    User generated content is all well and good, but people rely on it too much as a crutch for an unfinished or incomplete product. Examine the state of Epic, Valve, Bethesda, or any other developer who release titles and engines with mod support. Make no mistake about their successes however, all three enjoy very comfortable revenue, but the first two barely make games, and the latter releases nothing but arguably substandard, unoptimised, broken slag. Encouraging creativity is a good thing, but relying on it to push your products and support older titles that end up running on indefinitely is just another way to ensure the degeneration of your style and skills, with your image following close behind.

  15. Chris Godier

    I think…most games do in fact have some form of map editor or map creator, the farcry series for example has had a map maker since the farcry 2 (however not the second game in that series confusing i know) but anyway that has a fairly decent map editor game type on it. you can upload that on too the games servers so other people can play your map. fallout 4 recently added that feature but as fallout is a story driven game and an open world offline game you cant share your base with others.

    also i agree with the ending of the second paragraph, about how the dev’s (game developers) wont want gamers making a better map in a week then the DLC they spent months working on, so they leave some feature and objects out that you cant get and only see.

  16. Chris Godier

    I think…the creative editors on most games whether it’s a map editor like the farcry series has or a now base building feature like fallout 4 most gamers will give it ago at one point or another but that’s mostly as far as it will go. No ones will upload a map they’ve made in ten minutes and it’s only really the die hard fans of a game that will spend hours on a single map and then upload it. And I can only think of one exception of that and that’s happy wheels. But even then that’s a really simple map editor. That a 11 yr old could get a handle on pretty easy.

  17. florentina terholli

    I think…PC games are much better than the console based games today

  18. Madeleine Payne-Heneghan

    I think if people were to stop buying DLC’s it would seriously help. The gaming industry now seems to buy into the idea that they can produce mediocre games, and then release DLCs to make the games worth playing, however there are many cases where the user created content, i.e mods packs and such, are actually better than what the main producers managed to come up with. If we decided that the only additional game play we would download is from the users, it would encourage the gaming community to interact more with their games, AND lead to game companies being forced to produce better content in competition.

    Mods are the way forward everyone!

  19. Danny Hanrahan

    Little Big Planet has always had a whole host of user created, stickers, shapes and levels so there are still games out there that do this and to those who argue oh console gaming sucks get a pc… if i had an extra 500-1000 quid laying about i would buy myself a gaming pc that wouldnt make any games like battlefield lag but for now console gaming is cheaper and more efficient power wise as you dont need massive industrial fans for cooling the thing !!

  20. Yousef Alrefaie

    the improving is only in graphics but no new concepts in Games.

  21. Tom Jefferis


  22. Thomas Kemp

    I think…that PS4 and Xbox One games would be better if there were more options to build your own maps or characters. For example Last of Us was very good and have some really stunning in game locations..but I have always wondered what it would be like to use a map editor to build a mock up of my street where I live or somewhere well know i.e. the Eiffel Tower?

    Although this isn’t a specifically user created content idea it would allow for greater personalisation.

  23. rachid allaoui

    In this day, everything revolves around money

  24. Alan Wong

    I agree with everyone who say’s its about the money, that’s a given. Without money there is no game, there is no quality or content, you cannot house thousands of jobs, facilities etc with a game that is run on a F2P model. Yes some games are a joke when it comes to in game transactions mostly mobile games, I think the only way to justify in game purchases is if its for cosmetics or to speed up gameplay.

    Some people don’t have time to wait for a building to upgrade in 5 hours, if they have the money and want to enjoy the game asap then pay for it. If someone likes a shiny golden hat which has no actual purpose other cosmetic then its their choice to buy it. I think this is the only and best way when it comes to in game transactions.


    At the end of the day if you want a good game you have to pay for it some how, its not free to make. That’s like showing up to work and not getting paid afterwards.

  25. Fibi Lau

    Its the money, just look at EA…

  26. Simran Last name

    The issue is the gaming sector is all about money. User-made content is doesn’t make money so it’s seen as a pointless business move. —


    the gaming system is all about money, they have forgotten the negative impact on our societies that is depending what type of games you play. most violent kids of this days strictly are influence by some games they play.

  28. Conner Naismith

    How something is utilised is VERY important. The attempt to merge mods with the steam workshop for money received a lot of backlash and controversy, keeping this in mind is vital.

  29. Alexandre Peixe

    Well, I really like to create and play user created content. But some studios still sponsor modders, like the swedish Paradox Studio.

  30. mohammed habib


  31. kosanay lord


  32. jason burke

    People should just be PC gamers, You can customize 90% of games It’s cheaper in the long run and they isn’t a new thing you have to get each year to keep up with the trend, a good graphics/video card can last you 5+ years. Steam also have a range of free game from RPGs to FPSs. get on PC and get creative.

  33. mc burberry


  34. Anees Khan

    I think…its because of the quality that is produced by users compared to big companies like Ea(not saying ea make the best games). The detail is lacking quite alot of the time in facial features of characters and minor things are missed as usually users focus on the major issues whilst forgetting the minor stuff. This adds up to make a experience which is lacking by abit which is one the main reason gamers don’t play as much user created games. Further Downloading extra files is normally needed which take storage and time plus not many people are online which creates a dead atmosphere for the gamer.

  35. isa halimah

    I think…This days it about money but I have always think that playing games is fun. Yeah it is for me and when ever I do so I just feel like I’m free. But now if you dont have money you can’t game. It shouldn’t be like that

  36. Shehry

    I think…this is a cool article for cool people.

  37. Tia

    I think…that games should be there to be enjoyed and gamers should be able to try new and interesting games

  38. Andi

    I think… that many games now allow you to create your own world/environment and many top games like Minecraft were you can mod or create a terrain suitable for yourself and those you want to play with

  39. sara

    Hello all….v haps 2be ere!!!

  40. Samuel Langley

    User generated is a great concept for communities across the globe, just look at the Nexus and, where countless content creators post and share their own content on the forums for everyone to enjoy. Many go and create little bug fixes and changes to game play to change the way people enjoy the game. others go further and create expansions worth hours of game play, which give those who may have ran out of things to do a whole new experience to enjoy. Gaming companies need to realise that their games become more appealing, once they provide people with the creation kits/tools to create great things for the community, it allows expression of skill, artistic attributes and to give something back to the industry that doesn’t cost to enjoy.

    Additionally, we have seen a lot more YouTubers displaying these great mods people have access to. I was a big fan of the AlChestBreach modding series, which really showed how modding could influence someone and create such a great community around him, eventually helping his channel grow and introducing so many to the Fallout: New Vegas modding community. As somebody who saw this grow, I see how modding has grown from a niche market to mainstream as seen through being introduced to Xbox One and PS4 (If the OS problem ever gets resolved).

  41. Robert Shaw

    I think…hahha

  42. fredy piravin raj

    i think if people were to stop buying DLC’s it would seriously help. The gaming industry now seems to buy into the idea that they can produce mediocre games, and then release DLCs to make the games worth playing, however there are many cases where the user created content, i.e mods packs and such, are actually better than what the main producers managed to come up with. If we decided that the only additional game play we would download is from the users, it would encourage the gaming community to interact more with their games, AND lead to game companies being forced to produce better content in competition.

  43. Keagan Furlong

    Those parts are just seen as unnecessary coding and work but if creativity and a little room to play around are what you are after then for your medieval thrill go look at two worlds 2 where they allow you to mix different magic types to create your own attack, it’s obviously preset but you still feel the sense of accomplishment. Try DC Universe online, you get to create your own DC universe superhero/villain where it comes to ability and costume and go around on a server and play against other users or the npc’s. Or for some anime fun look at the latest dbz Xenoverse game where you can create your own character and pick their race as well as make their attacks while learning some of the series famous moves from the users. So theirs a whole training thing too.

  44. Shaur Budree

    That is so very true

  45. Jade Gibson

    The issue is the gaming sector is all about money. User-made content is doesn’t make money so it’s seen as a pointless business move.

  46. Sam O'Brien

    The whole thing is money, if you were to follow the money you’d find the person or company who actually made this decision

  47. mohammed habib

    they only care about money

  48. Tahmid Choudhury


  49. chloe chapman


  50. Darren Lester

    Games with mod support gives them hours and hours of gameplay, more games should be utilizing this feature

  51. Richard Mitchell

    I think that the games should have level editors because the replay ability increases.. Especially for games with a monthly fee like wow because then it’s like.. hey i’m gonna go pay monthly so i can continue making my level or something.. just like think if wow had quest editors?? and and.. dungeon editors?? or like runescape or something.. you know sh*t like that..

  52. Connor McLean

    Mods are just another way of saying, “okay, this game has run it’s course, how can we trick people into continuing to play?” and I hate that. Bearing that in mind however I would have to agree that the mods for Skyrim rewarded players with this incredible creative freedom in the game that actually made it fun again. Scratch that, it made the game damn awesome again, cannot wait to see what is done with these ideas in the future, hopefully a lot more in the way of the whacky “do what you want” type mods is yet to come.

  53. Witu Mulambya

    If you liked the freedom then watch sao then ggo. a game is coming based on those anime series. Age of Aincrad

  54. Jack O'Donnell

    Mods = extend life of game

  55. Christopher Dawson

    Mods only benefited my games like skyrim and fallout. It helps extend the life cycle of the game

  56. Sarah Keirle

    I think games like Skyrim and Fallout that allow users to mod them give players huge amounts of creative freedom. I also loved the workshop in portal that allowed players to create their own chambers – I spent hours doing that. Great article, thanks!

  57. John Whames

    I think it’s good to use the ideas of the users/gamers for newer and greater games. But if you’d use the stuff that gamers – amateur modders make , the chances are that what you get from them takes way more time to adjust to the settings of the game than a professional developer creates the ‘stuff’ prop , house , city…

  58. Benjamin Eddy

    Firstly, content created by users primarily exists for PC games, therefore I think it’s quite difficult to create a game that’s suitable for multiple types of computer builds and operations systems etc. In my opinion I think that’s why publishers tend to keep games very vanilla and allow their communities to expand upon the games, without having to offer any type of support should something go wrong. A perfect example of this is Minecract, which in it’s basic form is extremely vanilla and can get quite boring, but by the time you add additional mod pacts it’s ridiculously advanced. Another point is that the community members often stop updating mods so they become removed, something that publishers would struggle to get over unless they claimed all rights to anything incorporated into the game.

  59. Blane Walker

    User created content is primarily available to PC users. Consoles do not have the privilege. Bethesda are a brilliant company for this sort of thing as they release the software they use to design their games such as Skyrim. They also took an individual modders weapon design from Fallout 3 and implemented it into Fallout New Vegas.

    I enjoy user created content because it freshens up an 5+ year old game and allows people to play they want and add pieces they believe should have been in it.

  60. leon allen

    interesting article and very true in some cases
    you should at the arma 2 and arma 3 community as they have a large amount of user created content as well as dlc’s. Even the new dayz standalone started out as a free user created mod for arma 2. I think a large part of it is down to call of duty kids who just want to shoot things up

  61. Akshit Talwar

    User created content has a high probability of reducing the overall quality of the game. Plus, profits decrease and the developer has to use more advance coding to create a user friendly environment.

  62. Orestis Cleanthous

    You forget that to create User-Created content, the developer must create a platform that is comprehensive yet user-friendly enough that players can create their own content.

    That is something extremely hard to do, especially when deadline day is looming. Also some games, due to mechanics or other reasons, simply cannot facilitate custom content.

    Additionally, if all games pushed for User Created content and it became a trend, the over-saturation would cause the creativity of the people creating that content to dry up. Besides, I buy a game to play the experience the developer intended. If I liked the game, sure I would like to have more, be that in the form of DLC or User-Generated content. I don’t want to buy a game and feel it’s half finished or unpolished because the the developer spent time creating a way for people to create content the developers should have made in the first place.

  63. Kieran Martin

    The devolopers just want the money for themselves and allowing users to make custom maps ect means they can lose money.

  64. Chloe Wells

    they only care about the money they’re making

  65. Daniel Stembridge

    The companies don’t want to lose out on money. If, for example there was player created content on Call of Duty Activision would struggle to make gamers pay for their purchasable downloadable content.

  66. Charlotte Flanders

    They mainly seem to care about profit.
    If you’re that bothered by the lack of editing etc. there’s Minecraft. If it’s character customization you’re after, there’s a large number of games, but I can’t be asked to name them all.

    I’m interested in games which have good reviews, part of a series I already play or what I prefer (family-friendly, cartoon fighting or something).

    Just my thing. =

  67. Mathew Birks

    It seems that the new games only seem to care about profit and not put much thought into the customers interest. Then again, if there is zombies in a game, I will be drawn towards it 😉

  68. James Loftus

    BeamNG is a good example of this, the games still basic and the Dev’s have out the game out to be open to improve the experience … its a step forward for the gaming genre!!!!!

  69. Dominic Bourke

    Yeah, people with just develop better mods and share them, and the standard packages will not compete

  70. Luke Hill

    A lot of games now allow you to mod and create new characters/items to share, best example i think would be Skyrim.

  71. Harrison Fowler

    Many companies are worried that the users will create beter mod content than the DLC packages they would release.

  72. Joseph Butt

    It’s also useful to have this creative mode from a social aspect. RPG players are typically seen as hobgoblins residing in their own bedrooms at their parents house, only leaving to get more Mountain Dew and Doritos but the creative aspect could help to break that stereotype, get people more interested in gaming and increase the employability of hardcore gamers

  73. Joshua Strange

    I disagree, I think a lot of games allow editing, but they don’t publish it for the larger community.
    Games like Minecraft however are the very basis of ‘Heres a single player game, create whatever you want!’
    Halo – Forge Mode
    Morrowind – Elder Scrolls Construction Kit
    I believe in fact the majority of games from Bethesda allow modding and these mod’s can easily be graphic patches, weapon fixes or even entire map re-works! (Oblivion mod, changed Tamriel into Halo check it guys)
    All the above examples are PC games, so its obvious your a PC gamer, and if so how can you say games don’t utilise user creations when majority of companies promote mod usage, its just the few who don’t and who utilise DRM that hit the headlines.

  74. arthur caulfield

    Andrew Cooper, comment below, is right, even call of duty allowed a PC map creator for zombies, this article clearly has little power behind it and furthermore, if you are such an experienced RPG player, go by farcry 3 and use its map creator? thank you, goodbye

    • Andrew Cooper

      yeah i mean at the end of the day this is all of our opinions i guess. if im honest i havent really played much pc gaming, im more of an alround gamer. i play all consoles and most game types. i shall give far cry 3 ago and get back to you on that one. one day id like to design my own game as at the minute im doing my first year of Games design.

  75. Andrew Cooper

    you say there hasn’t really been a game in years that allows people to say show off their creativity. but for that matter there has been plenty for that. for Example PC minecraft, then about 2-3 years it go comes to Xbox. and Games like halo with forge mode giving the player a chance to build their own maps and game modes for thousands to play. also a lot of games are spending time on the customisation side of things and all these little things bring out the creativity you say that is lacking. on the new Gen console for example Xbox one theres a game called project spark coming out where anything you can literally think of you can create you can give a rock a purpose. now if that’s not creavtive I don’t know what is you should check it out. my facts might not be entirely correct but that’s what makes it my opinion im quite the game fanatic if that’s the right way to use it aha.

  76. Lukasz Malec

    This is why it’s rare to give players power:

    • Andrei Badoiu

      Still, it’s a free choice, should you decide to modify your character like that

  77. Elliot Vale

    It is certainly a shame that user-generated content is fizzling out, there are many many people out there with absolutely amazing ideas that could take the game beyond what even the developers thought possible, but they simply do not have the resources to build their own engine and game. Not to mention people get really into certain genres, especially MMORPGs. Unfortunately towards end-game they stagnate, become less inviting to the players, because they’re left with nothing to do. As Michael said, the main reason is money. Developers and publishers would rather churn out DLC and make profits off of the extra game time than provide users with a way of making their own content. We have a few exceptions, things like Kickstarter or the new crowd-funding project Square Enix are starting. Unfortunately these models aren’t the best, you have to put money towards them to help the development along and there’s no guarantee you get returns. Plus it doesn’t actually give the funders any creative liberty over what goes on, they simply support production of an idea generated by somebody else. These days, changes are only made based on majority feedback, or in some cases changes are made when no-one asked for them
    Consumers are treated as cash machines essentially.

    Modding is also a fear for developers. The amount of DRM many companies produce these days is a sign of that. Not only are they against piracy, but modding has become almost synonymous with hacking. In the eyes of companies, give someone the power to mod a game, someone will find a way to manipulate it to give themselves an unfair advantage. Which in multiplayer might be an issue, but not single player. Gaining an advantage over NPCs? Oh no(!) The only fun they’re ruining is their own. And hey, if you gave people the option to mod, people will generally stick to making the game better and more diverse. Look at Team Fortress 2! Or GMod! The original servers have Valve Anti-Cheat, but custom servers can be made for mod-specific things. It’s so easy to do. But no.

    It’s also laziness of the companies. CoD Ghosts was quite universally panned by anyone with a brain. Especially on PC. It’s the same stuff each time. In fact, this was worse. For a next-gen game, it looked really bad. The company isn’t trying. Because lots of people seem to have made it clear that their expectations are low and they don’t WANT companies to try. They don’t want to spend that little bit extra and forfeit that little bit more to give people the ability to create their own content. Because to them, we don’t want that. It shows in their sales.

  78. Michael Bergamini

    As you said, having mod-tools available is a nice gesture by a company towards its consumers, but not a sound business decision. With DLC becoming more and more prominent in the games industry, no one wants to release mod-tools as that would cut into their DLC profits. It’s all about the money, unfortunately.

  79. Robert Peck

    it would make sense to redesign games so one could import ones own 3d models rather than just using the stock ones in the package. one could for example alter the player character to something one had created in blender, or change all the enemies to low poly copies of david cameron, LOL!

  80. Nick

    There’s a couple of reasons why developers and publishers aren’t huge on supporting mods:

    The engine does not allow for mod creation – remember that many modern PC games are developed alongside console counterparts, quite often ported. In order to fit in with Microsoft and Sony requirements modding isn’t really allowed. Many of these titles can still be modded, but they are not supported. Crusader Kings II and Might and Magic are PC only titles and therefore modding is much more at the forefront of the developer’s minds. CKII in particular uses such an old engine, the chugging Clausewitz, that the modding is well established and easy to implement in new iterations.

    Assuming your game is using a newish engine, any formal mod support (eg. steam workshop) is usually only viable AFTER release and some form of commercial success, such as Red Orchestra 2 or Torchlight II. The development of official tools is expensive and time consuming. Again, note that these are PC only titles.

    Finally, even PC is starting to come under similar control rules as Xbox and PS3. With the popularity of Steam, mods are a risk to some extent – they can allow users to cheat at online modes or auto-obtain difficult achievements. The former is stopped with anti-cheat software but the latter is harder to do unless you disable them as soon as a player boots up a mod, which kind of ruins the fun.

    Games can only offer modders the tools, and even that is expensive. To offer formal support can only be managed in very limited modes or the game could potentially fall apart. I’m sure you’ve installed a dodgy mod at some point and screwed a save. How do you expect a support team to manage that in a full-sized game? The best we can hope for are map-editors and minor examples of content creation like custom character sharing in Dragon’s Dogma or notes/hints in Dark Souls.

    A smart developer and level-headed publisher will assume that the player community will mod their game regardless of how much support they offer. And they know modders will potentially make better content than their own. But modders are a minority of players, ones to be loved and nurtured as they can be learned from, but hardly a group to threaten a dev/pub financially. After all, modders are working for free, so definitely not motivated by money!

    • Ben

      I do believe that all of his examples were PC-only titles. I think that the point of the article was more a case of want than actual possibility.

      You can hardly criticise a piece based on previous developer decisions. In my experience it is certain studios and certain publishers which provide dev tools rather than them deciding whether or not to post-launch. Why simply use CK2 when you can look at the majority of Paradox games? More often than not they are shipped with user manipulation in mind.

      Obviously modders are always going to be lowkey, if they weren’t they would probably get paid to make games. He actually makes reference to that in the article, while talking about Portal 2 levels.

      I don’t agree that the modding scene should be on an equal presence to the gaming market, rather it should be a niche which acts as a critical bulwark to the shady activities of some mainstream publishers.

      • Nick

        I got the impression Mike was asking why more studios don’t follow his examples. Paradox, Bethesda Game Studios and others that have a history supporting modding will hopefully continue to do so despite the industry trends that may act against freedom of content creation.

        Should studios consider hiring modders? Absolutely, they can potentially obtain smart people to develop their team in new ways. However, creating an efficient way to do so if you’re not Valve, and therefore lack your own globally dominant gaming platform, is a huge challenge – and would be a waste of resources unless you could pin down the specific skills (technical and transferable) you needed and match them to the specific skills present in your modding community to head hunt. This is not appealing to a Studio Head when their alternative is to dial up a recruiter and shout “I need a level designer with 6 years experience and I need them now!”

        Modders as a critical balwark? Absolutely! From Making Halo 2 run on non-Vista systems to all those graphical fixes for Dark Souls! Just some of the ideas that come to mind. However, with games becoming more and more online-focused, console paired and competitive, I will expect a decline in the number of games that allow modding. This isn’t because of shady, evil publishers, its because this is what the people who buy games seem to want – they’re just not interested in mods.

  81. Mark Hopper

    Pc gaming definitely has the edge on console gamers due to the better graphics and bigger choice of games. Yet console gaming is still very enjoyable.

  82. Christopher Ostrom

    Creative games i would say are better for the PC. But most big titles are usually made for just console.

  83. Mariam Kanadjigui

    Yep… Definitely true

  84. Mariam Kanadjigui

    Yep…definitely true talk

  85. Saifuddin Behnod

    I think…today everything is money

  86. Sasha Dowman

    It depends on the type of gamer. An example where creativity in a modern AAA game that is utilised differently by different players is the base building of Fallout 4. You can ignore basic base building if you choose and ignore minutemen quests and focus entirely on the main campaign or you can do what I do and spend hours building different types of bases for different settlements. Some people are simply not interested in the more creative/customisable aspects of games and that’s fine! Its just about supply and demand and also whether customisation would fit into the game your trying to create. Some games more customisable aspects could distract from what the game is trying to say and that’s the beauty of games- they each have different aspects that appeal to different groups to create a wider variety of content.

    Not to say that games, particularly on console, couldn’t explore more creative ideas- hell more games based on such creative content would be interesting. Whilst I’m a PC gamer some people cant afford the short term cost of a good PC and the long term problems that come with having to update the PC so those of console lose out on a lot of the more creative/indie experiences on the PC. But ultimately it must just be because the money isn’t there- a company wont invest in a concept that wont make a decent profit. Sad but that’s capitalism.