Frans “Otis_Inf” Bouma created the Universal Unreal Unlocker mod that adds a powerful photo mode for many Unreal Engine 4 games. This software is a truly impressive piece of software, allowing videogame photographers to capture far more images than traditional screenshots. He also made similar mods for Crysis Remastered 2/3 last year, which he shared (alongside the most recent version of UUU). Crytek asked Bouma for permission to remove those Crysis Mods.

Crytek PR Manager Adam Grinsell requested that Bouma remove mods from his Patreon page. Grinsell informed Bouma that both the EULAs do not allow mods. Grinsell requested that Bouma remove mods from his Patreon page and any other places they may be found. He warned that they would not be removed from the Patreon page within seven days.

Bouma countered, pointing out that the mod was built entirely from his code and did not use any Crytek assets. This is where things get confusing. Grinsell responded that the software’s main issue is that it is monetized. Therefore we request that you remove the paywall,” a reference to the fact that the Crysis Remastered photo mode mods are only available to Patreon subscribers, at prices ranging from $6.50 to $63.50 per month.

Reddit eventually brought the dispute to Crytek’s attention, prompting Crytek to apologize for its handling of the matter. Utku Cakir, Crytek PR manager, wrote that the initial message caused miscommunication and apologized to the modder. We are grateful for all the support from the community. However, we must also balance this with our copyright. It can be difficult to find the right balance, and we should have approached this situation differently in retrospect.

Crytek did not apologize for its base position. It demanded that Bouma give away the Crysis Remastered mode mods to anyone or take them down completely. Bouma chose the latter because there was no other choice.

He wrote that he had decided to remove the tools from Patreon because he didn’t have the energy nor the time to fight them. I know how much it hurts for those who want to use Crysis 2 or Crysis 3 remastered tools. They know how sorry I am. These tools took me more than a week to create, and I would love to continue using them, but Crytek will only benefit if I do so.

It’s not surprising that Bouma said that he would no longer be working on photo mods for other Crytek games.

While it’s unfortunate that the mod has been removed, the dispute raises larger questions for other Patreon-supported mod creators. Game companies don’t tend to worry too much about mods as long as they aren’t making any money. Sometimes, they will even give them an official blessing. Installation 01 is an example of a fan-made Halo video game. It was granted a noncommercial license that required the developers not to accept any money for the work, including donations. Bouma’s monetization was obvious. Even though his claim that it was entirely his code is valid, it doesn’t matter if he refuses to contest it in court. This is something most mod makers are unable or unwilling to do.

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