Modding communities are an integral part of gaming and often conjure up improved versions of the games shipped by developers. Be it revamped levels, new characters, improved graphics, and even full-blown DLC content, modders are responsible for some of the best additions to games going. In some cases, mods are so good that they morph into their own standalone games. Here are the top 5 games that took the leap from mod to game.
Originally developed as a open world survival mode for ARMA 2, DayZ is all about staying alive in the face of a zombie plague in a fictional Soviet-inspired world. The game gained so much traction due to its compelling narrative, open-ended gameplay, the uncertainty of staying alive, and the importance of inter-player relationships, many players opted to buy ARMA 2 just to get their hands of the DayZ mod. This led to ARMA 2 developer Bohemia Interactive hiring DayZ modder Dean Hall to create a standalone version. The game is currently available on steam, though remains in alpha with a release marked for this year.
The mod turned fully-fledged game par excellence, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was created using ARMA 3, or more specifically a re-imagining of the DayZ mod titled DayZ: Battle Royale. One thing led to another and before we knew it creator Brendan Greene was working on battle royale H1Z1, then was hired by Korean developer Bluehole to author a brand new game, which came to be known as PUBG. After a stint in early access and widespread acclaim, PUBG has become a staple of the battle royale landscape with a vibrant eSports scene, hundreds of thousands of daily players, and ports to Xbox One and mobile.
3. DotA 2
Setting in motion the still rising popularity of MOBAs, DotA 2 was initially created as a mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, known as Defense of the Ancients. The collaborative effort of a community of modders, DotA warped into different iterations until a certain IceFrog deepened the complexity and mechanics of the game. This attracted the attention of no other than Valve, who hired IceFrog to create a standalone version of the game, which came to be known as DotA 2. Copycat MOBAs sprung up like weeds from the massively popular League of Legends to less impactful alternatives like Heroes of the Storm.
4. Counter Strike
Counter Strike needs no introduction and stems from a Half-Life mode that was acquired by Valve due to its popularity. The game spurred a whole series of releases culminating in Counter Strike Global Offensive, an inherent part of the global eSports scene with an equally active worldwide community of players.
5. Garry’s Mod
Not necessarily seen as a game per se, Garry’s Mod was crafted using Half-Life 2 and more specifically the Source game engine used for many Valve games. Seen as a sandbox physics playground, Garry’s Mod offered a number of tools that players could use to manipulate all and any assets from Valve games to create maps, mini-games, scenarios, and really anything they could conjure up. The mod was developed by Garry Newman and his Facepunch Studios development team, who later launched a standalone version, selling over 10 million copies on Steam.