Mods That Made Real Developers Look Bad

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
Some video games get rushed out the door, and leave it up to modders to fix the game after the fact. Here are our picks for the times that mods made a video game better.
Top 10 Mods That Made Real Devs Look Bad

Well… that’s gotta be embarrassing. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 mods that made real devs look bad.

For this list, we’re not looking at mods that are outstanding in their fun or creativity, but rather ones that either fixed a game or added new features that should have been there all along.

#10: SkyUI

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (2012)

Sometimes in-game menus can be a pain to navigate, and this goes double for RPGs in which there are typically a lot more tabs and overall inventory management required. “Skyrim’s” original menu system left much to be desired, so when the “Skyrim User Interface” mod was released it quickly became a must-have. It added the ability to search through the menus looking for keywords, to quick-select items, and to see way more item stats without having to click on them all individually. There’s even a “Witcher”-style active effects read-out on the heads-up display, all for ease of use.

#9: “Team Fortress”

“Quake” (1996)

The ‘90s were the golden age of first-person shooters and id Software were the rockstars leading the charge. Though they left a huge mark on the genre, a mod for their pioneering competitive shooter “Quake” took on a life all of its own. It became “Team Fortress”, which was eventually picked up for full release by Valve. The sequel, “Team Fortress 2,” has become one of the most popular competitive video games around, still boasting a huge player base considering it came out in 2007. Even if Valve never get around to making a third game – Story of Valve’s Life – “TF2” is going to be around for a long time.

#8: “Fallout 4” Fixes

“Fallout 4” (2015)

If there’s one developer synonymous with broken, buggy games we’re nonetheless desperate to play, it’s Bethesda. With the release of “Fallout 4” and the Xbox One supporting mods, they seemingly put more importance on mods and user-generated content than ever before – leaving it to their players to fix the numerous issues present in the game. The fact that it’s the modders who have to repair the many, MANY bugs in a huge AAA title definitely doesn’t reflect well on the company. Though they have tried to fix some of the most game-breaking issues, they still seem perfectly content to let the modding community fix everything else.

#7: “VTMB” Unofficial Patch

“Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines” (2004)

On PC, this niche game has become something of a cult phenomenon over the years, helped in part by dedicated modders who have continuously been fixing its glitches and improving the game. On release it was a buggy mess with whole areas completely unrendered and impossible-to-complete quests, but now it’s the quintessential vampire action RPG. The man leading the charge to fix it is a chemistry professor named Werner Spahl, who has created new items, characters and even whole levels in his free time. To think that without modders this game would never have become what it is today.

#6: “Defense of the Ancients”

“Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos” (2002)

It’s easy to make a case that “Defense of the Ancients” basically invented the gargantuan MOBA genre. Using a design based on a “StarCraft” map called “Aeon of Strife,” in a modified version of “Warcraft III,” players battle to destroy the opposing team’s Ancient on the other side of the arena. At one point, “League of Legends” was even described as a “DotA clone” - that’s how influential it is. Suddenly, nobody wanted to play the multiplayer for “Warcraft III” anymore, everything was about “DotA”. Its sequel, “Dota 2,” remains one of the most popular MOBAs and competitive games around.

#5: “Fallout: New Vegas: Project Nevada”

“Fallout: New Vegas” (2010)

With the development of “Fallout 3’s” follow-up crammed into a tiny eighteen-month period, it’s no wonder that Obsidian were hard-pressed to fix the myriad of issues in the fan-favorite instalment. Along came “Project Nevada” a few months later, which added a wide array of features you’d expect from any modern shooter. While the gunplay can’t compare to “Fallout 4’s” much more dynamic combat system, the additions of bullet-time, sprinting, and improved crosshairs make for a better overall experience. There’s even a system of cybernetic implants to take advantage of the advanced technology “Fallout” is known for.

#4: Project: M

“Super Smash Bros. Brawl” (2008)

Upon release of 2008’s entry into the huge “Smash Bros.” series, lots of fans weren’t pleased with how different “Brawl” was to its predecessor, “Melee.” The brunt of the criticism levered against “Brawl” was that it was slower than Melee, it removed many fan-favorite characters and had some unbalanced gameplay. Thus, Project M was born, a mod released in 2011 and updated until 2015. It never looks good for a developer when the most dedicated fans decide to completely rework the entire physics engine and gameplay of a AAA release. Regardless, we’re glad that people behind Project M took the time to make “Brawl” into the experience players deserved.

#3: Hot Coffee

“Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (2004)

In Rockstar’s bid for “San Andreas” to be rated M instead of Adults Only, they decided to remove the now-notorious “hot coffee” minigame, which enabled players to control CJ as he had sex with female NPCs with the goal of filling an “excitement” meter. While they took it out of the game, the code was still present, meaning that when one modder looked at the code in detail he unlocked it and released it. Now in breach of it’s M rating; Rockstar found itself in yet another huge scandal, forcing the game to be recalled from store shelves and costing Take-Two Interactive an estimated $50 million in lost sales. Clean up after yourselves guys.

#2: Repair for “Aliens: Colonial Marines”

“Aliens: Colonial Marines” (2013)

Critically panned when it released, “Aliens: Colonial Marines” was widely deemed to be one of the most disappointing games in recent memory. It went through development hell and was barely even finished when it came out, reducing the “Alien” franchise to run-and-gun action with the formidable xenomorphs being relegated to the status of generic enemies. This overhaul mod didn’t just drastically improve the graphics, however; it also improved the broken alien AI. While they were still nowhere near as advanced as the xenomorph in “Alien: Isolation”, this fix made the game look good, made it scary, and (most importantly) made it actually worth playing.

#1: DSfix

“Dark Souls” (2011)

When FromSoftware’s hit game “Dark Souls” was first ported to the PC it had a host of issues, namely the resolution would go higher than 1280x720, there was no mouse support and the frame-rate was locked at 30 frames per second. So one modder called Durante took it upon himself to fix it and allow PC gamers to play the game at its full potential. FromSoftware themselves released a remastered version in 2018 which essentially performed the same as Durante’s mod on PC – only Durante released the mod for free while FromSoftware wanted gamers to cough up another $50 to $60. Go figure.