Modding Resident Evil with Thomas the Tank Engine in place of Mr. X/Lady Dimitrescu/Nemesis/the monster of your choosing is so much a tradition at this point that Capcom may as well set the inevitable Resident Evil Zero remake aboard the interior of the chirpy children’s TV character. While players might be having fun modding Thomas, Shrek and Barney the Dinosaur into its survival-horror series, Capcom has expressed concern that some mods may cause “reputational damage” to the company and their games.
That’s per an internal presentation from Capcom’s R&D department shared via their YouTube channel, which covers the company’s efforts to tackle cheating and piracy – which modding falls under as the result of it being “impossible” to distinguish between tools used for mods and those used for cheating. (Thanks for the spot, Eurogamer.)
“For the purposes of anti-cheat and anti-piracy, all mods are defined as cheats,” the presenter explains.
While dealing with pirated copies of its games is one problem, the presentation’s section on mods appears to be more worried about the content of mods themselves rather than just how they’re accessed. Specifically, Capcom issues a warning about mods with “offensive” content that may have a knock on the rep of both the game and the company.
“There are a number of mods that are offensive to public order and morals,” the presenter says. “When these are disseminated, the image of the product is tarnished and branding is affected. Also, these offensive mods may be mistaken for legitimate implementations and cause reputational damage.”
While it’s hard to imagine anyone finding goofy mods swapping cartoon characters or kids’ TV characters for grisly monsters all that scandalous – something that Capcom seems to recognise by acknowledging that “the majority of mods can have a positive impact on the game” – it’s apparently nevertheless a concern that some mods might be deemed offensive in a way that requires tighter controls on modding. Still, it’s not really clear exactly what Capcom defines as “offensive to public order and morals” under the fairly puritanical-sounding statement.
In a separate slide that’s explained a little more fully, the company adds that the impact of mods on their reputation isn’t just the result of someone stripping Leon Kennedy down to his knickers. Players who install mods only to suffer performance problems such as crashes, freezing or save data corruption can end up turning to Capcom for support, which can then eat up workload and development budget that might otherwise be spent on creating higher-quality games.
“This situation can cause delays in the production of the game. Furthermore, it causes delays in support for users who are not using the mod,” the presenter says.
“As the customer support load increases, it will eventually circle back around and affect development costs.”
Even so, I have to admit it’s hard to imagine that fighting Aliens’ queen xenomorph in Monster Hunter or fending off zombies with a banana is suddenly going to cause massive problems for a company like Capcom. Apparently it’s enough of a worry to require some serious-sounding PowerPoint slides, at least.