GTA San Andreas Hot Coffee Mod: All you need to know

GTA San Andreas
GTA San Andreas' 'Hot Coffee Mod' was the one occasion where Rockstar relented (Image via Rockstar Games)

The GTA franchise has never been one to shy away from controversies, nor has Rockstar Games been one to curb its artistic expression, even under heavy political fire, which the company has faced multiple times in the past due to the level of wanton violence and explicit content in its video games.

While Rockstar has consistently defended its games and not altered them even under immense public scrutiny, there was one instance where it relented - the Hot Coffee mod in GTA San Andreas.


The infamous Hot Coffee Mod in GTA: San Andreas

GTA San Andreas gives you the option to go on dates with your girlfriend (Image via Rockstar Games)
GTA San Andreas gives you the option to go on dates with your girlfriend (Image via Rockstar Games)

The GTA games have always pushed the boundaries of what can be considered artistic expression in video games. Rockstar has never held back when it comes to portraying its characters, whether they are borderline stereotypes or controversial psychopaths. However, the exception to this rule came with GTA San Andreas, where they had to cut back on the content they had originally planned for.

The Hot Coffee Mod came about as a result of data miners discovering sexually-explicit hidden content in the game files. They found that GTA: San Andreas originally had inappropriate minigames involving CJ and his girlfriends. This was part of Sam Houser's original vision for the game, which was scrapped in order for it to get a "Mature" rating.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas version 1.0 was shipped out with this minigame hidden in the game code. When the PC version of the game was released, modder Patrick Wildenborg disabled the controls surrounding the code and released the modified code online as "Hot Coffee."


The result of the Hot Coffee disaster

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Rockstar Games and its parent company Take-Two Interactive experienced severe legal criticism as a result of the "Hot Coffee" minigame's revelation. Rockstar Games issued a statement suggesting that modders were accountable for the minigame, but both corporations mostly avoided comment.

This led to an "Adults Only" rating by the ESRB in the US, and the game was banned outright from sale in Australia. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning to Rockstar Games and Take-Two for failing to disclose the level of the game's graphic material. Meanwhile, a class action lawsuit claimed that Rockstar had deceived buyers who thought the game's content was rated "Mature."

Rockstar had to release a new patch for the PC version of the game which made it impossible to access the explicit minigame. This incident, however, did not deter the developer from continuing to make controversial content. Grand Theft Auto 5's torture scenes and the drug dealing minigame in Chinatown Wars both caused controversy, but not on this scale.

For all the criticism Rockstar has received over the years, the company hasn't caved in to the pressure against any of its content. However, this is one rare instance when even Rockstar Games deemed their content too explicit.

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Edited by Utkarsh Rampal
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