Top 10 Games that Started as Mods



Top 10 Games that Started as Mods

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Script Written by C. Nuan

Video game mods allow fans to change and enhance their favorite games, but some mods are whole new games in themselves. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Games that Started as Mods

Special thanks to our user Jack Diep for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script Written by C. Nuan

Top 10 Games that Started as Mods

Video game mods allow fans to change and enhance their favorite games, but some mods are whole new games in themselves. Welcome to, and we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Games that Started as Mods

#10: “Chivalry: Medieval Warfare” (2012)

Originally Mod of “Half-Life 2” (2004) as “Age of Chivalry” (2007)

“Half-Life 2” is a indisputably classic first-person shooter, pitting player against alien threat, so it's no surprise that it's spawned a number of FPS mods based around shoot. But, the “Age of Chivalry” mod went Medieval with a lot more of a focus on bludgeoning and stabbing. The mod implemented both multiplayer and an original storyline in which knight factions clash, and HL2's typical arsenal of guns and crowbars were naturally swapped out for pointier instruments. Eventually, this concept would get a retail release as “Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.”

#9: “Natural Selection 2” (2012)

Mod of “Half-Life” (1998) as “Natural Selection (2002)

Take the Aliens franchise, add a dash of Starcraft, set it in the Half-Life Engine and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re dealing with. The original NS mod introduced a new gametype with a unique, asymmetrical approach to multiplayer. Gamers divide up into the two races, however the human team has a marine commander. This commander views gameplay as a top-down RTS, rather than in traditional FPS mode, and supplies the team with tactics, buffs, and upgrades. With this interesting team dynamic and a passionate fan community, demand for an updated, standalone version was fierce. 2012’s Natural Selection 2 did deliver upon most of it’s promises, but with the community didn’t quite take off as well as some had hoped.

#8: “The Stanley Parable” (2013)

Mod of “Half-Life 2” (2004)

“The Stanley Parable” is notorious for making a mundane situation extraordinary, but the mod began with doing the opposite. Uninspiring background props from HL2's science labs became a foundation for Stanley's office space. However, clever scenery changes, a multitude of path choices, and great narration transformed the dull setting into a humorous rabbit hole for players. Despite fairly simple gameplay, the mod's concept proved a witty critique of traditional game conventions. In its first two weeks of release, it saw more than 90 thousand downloads, and an equally successful standalone remake launched two years later. Since then it keeps on making #8 on all the Watchmojo lists its eligible for because someone won’t stop pushing THAT DAMN EIGHT BUTTON!

#7: “Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41 – 45” (2006)

Mod of “Unreal Tournament 2004” (2004) as “Red Orchestra: Combined Arms” (2004)

As the winning entry of an NVIDIA modding competition, “Red Orchestra: Combined Arms” quickly spawned its own standalone title which gained a number of mods of its own. Set in World War II, the game hoped to create a more realistic FPS experience. It instituted bullet drop and pared down the heads-up display, switching the reticle for functional gun sights, a novel idea at the time, and eliminating the ammo counter. A splash debut for developer Tripwire Interactive, the game prompted the genre to reconsider shooter UI and ammo management at large. If you’re hoping to get a taste of this realism nowadays, you can check out the latest iteration, Rising Storm – set in the Pacific Theatre.

#6: “Killing Floor” (2009)

Mod of “Unreal Tournament 2004” (2004)

The original “Killing Floor” mod, released in 2005, had a co-op horde mode, barricade mechanics, and a unique gun upgrades and perks system. Praised as a guilty pleasure, a standalone version was published by Tripwire Interactive four years later. This timeline resulted in dated visuals, but the infectious gameplay snagged “Killing Floor” a brief top-seller spot on Steam and a number of awards. A sequel with grittier visuals and a more complex enemy system was released on Steam early access last year, boasting some of the most impressive gore effects you’ll ever see.
Yellow is irrelevant. The gameplay is focused around wave based assaults, but World of War would not be the best comparison.

#5: “Garry's Mod” (2006)

Mod of “Half-Life 2” (2004)

An introduction to modding and the Valve fandom, “Garry's Mod” is a sandbox game with its own special potential. The mod granted easy access to Source Engine's library of objects, allowing players to spawn and populate custom maps. Gamers enthusiastically took advantage of the modification, producing machinima videos, big builds, replicating gametypes and creating new ones. In fact, “Trouble in Terrorist Town” and “Prop Hunt,” two famous user-created game modes, were made available with the final retail version. As of 2015, more than six million copies have been distributed, and a sequel is currently in production.

#4: “DayZ” (2013) (Early Access)

Mod of “ARMA 2” (2009)

As a game, “DayZ” puts the survival in “survival horror.” As a mod, it drops a zombie apocalypse into a military sim. While the Arma games still struggle to find mass appeal, Day Z took off like wildfire throughout the gaming community – not so much for it’s awesome zomibes, but moreso for the fact that the freedome the game allowed helped create an innumerable amount of tense and hilarious situations as players interacted with eachother. With such wide audience appeal, the mod inspired many similar games and catapulted “Arma 2” to the top of the Steam charts three years after the game's initial release. Although it seems to be stuck in Early Access hell, the standalone version is still trucking along – as are the Arma 3 versions.

#3: “Team Fortress: Classic” (1999) and Team Fortress 2 (2007)

Mod of “Quake” (1996) as “Team Fortress” (1996)

Many mods change a game's objectives, but the Team Fortress mod changed the player. As one of the earliest examples of classes in a multiplayer shooter, Team Fortress Quake transformed from mindless mayhem to team based extravaganza overnight. Years later, Valve would hire the team behind the Team Fortress to build a standalone version on their Half Life Engine: GoldSrc. The standalone version was a successful in itself, although it wasn’t until the cartoony sequel that the series would see runaway– now free to play on Steam. Bring your Hats.

#2: “Dota 2” (2013)

Mod of “Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos” (2002) as “Defense of the Ancients” (2003)

“Defense of the Ancients” is one of the earliest and most enduring examples of the MOBA genre. The original mod was developed using “Warcraft III's” world editor, but its innovative gametype was based on a modded map from “Starcraft” called “Aeon of Strife.” For more than a decade, DotA has been developed by mostly anonymous mapmakers and modders with new heroes, maps, and modes introduced by the fandom. And now with the even more successful Dota 2 developed by Valve, the game has turn became one of the biggest eSports today, with the largest prize pool ever for an eSport: set at a whopping $18 Million. And as for MOBAs, they’re here to stay too.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Black Mesa” (2012)

Mod of “Half-Life 2” (2004)

“Dear Esther” (2012)

Mod of “Half-Life 2” (2004)

#1: “Counter-Strike” (2000)

Mod of “Half-Life” (1998)

One of the most famous FPS titles of all time, “Counter-strike” was the perfect storm of real world weapons and crushingly competitive permadeath – arriving smack dab in the middle of a genre that was currently overflowing with rocket jumps and rail guns. At one point the most popular multiplayer game in the world, Counter-Strike soon outgrew it’s humble beginnings as a mod for Half-Life. Half-Life 2 then shipped with the updated Counter-Strike: Source, which was in turn followed up by Global Offensive in 2012. Much like DOTA and DOTA 2, its popularity has only increased as the eSports genre has taken off – CS:GO is currently sitting as the most profitable FPS in the international competitive scene. Not bad for something that began in a basement.

Agree with our list? What new mods do you think deserve a full game release? For more blockbuster top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to
Support the military community by joining us in our volunteering activities, find more information about it @