Shots from the reverse-engineered version of Grand Theft Auto III showing off the graphical improvements over the 2002 original. [credit:
The reverse-engineered source code for the PC versions of Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City is back online today, months after it was originally posted and then quickly taken down due to a DMCA request from publisher Take-Two.
TorrentFreak reports on the restored version of the project, which was posted as a seemingly identical fork of the original by a New Zealand-based developer named Theo. While the original GitHub poster (who goes by the handle aac) has not contested Take-Two’s original takedown, Theo told TorrentFreak he filed a counterclaim to restore his copy of the project, saying it “contained no code owned by Take Two.”
A question of law
We’ve previously looked in depth at how video game fan coders use reverse-engineering techniques to deconstruct the packaged executable files distributed by a game’s original developers. This painstaking, function-by-function process creates raw programming code that can generate exactly the same binary file when compiled (though the code as distributed on GitHub still requires external, copyrighted art and sound assets from legitimate copies of the games).