Jagex backtracks on Runescape HD mod after massive backlash

Alec Mullins

The decision to shut down RuneLite HD drew intense backlash from the RuneScape community. As a result, the team behind Old School RuneScape will attempt to work with 117scape and Adam1210 to incorporate the mod as a bridge until the company can finish their own update. 

The world of mods has been a crazy one over the last few years. It used to be a surprise when companies like Valve would hire teams of modders to come work on their games, or even create entirely new titles based on another game’s engine. These days though, that kind of news is more common than ever, with CD Projekt Red being the latest studio to bring on some talent from within their fanbase to officially work on the game’s infrastructure.

It appears that popular community member and modder “117” did not receive that same kind of love for his work on Runelite HD, a visual upgrade mod based on the open-source RuneLite client for Old-School RuneScape.

After the news broke, it didn’t take long for fans to organize a response and begin their own official form of protest.

RuneScape shut down HD Mod

In a Reddit post, 117 said that RuneLite HD was set for release on September 6 but that Jagex contacted him “at the eleventh hour” and indicated they had plans of their own for a visual upgrade to the game.

“I offered a compromise of removing my project from RuneLite once they are ready to release theirs, in addition to allowing them collaborative control over the visual direction of my project. They declined outright,” he said. “I am beyond disappointed and frustrated with Jagex, and I am so very sorry that, after this long journey, I’m not able to share this project with you.”

Word traveled fast and a day later, fans were ready to let Jagex know exactly how they felt about this decision.

RuneScape fans organize protest in-game

Protest underway in Falador Square
YT/RuneScape Historian
This is only a small sliver of the chaos that filled Falador Square.

A sit-in demonstration was held in Falador, the capital city of Asgarnia, as fans flooded in to show their support for the modder and his canceled project.

The chat log was overwhelmed with players expressing their opinions with one user writing “we could be rioting in HD #Free117”. That quickly became a slogan for the group and was posted relentlessly throughout the event.

Old School RuneScape devs respond to protest

Oldschool Runscape team responds to protests
The statement issued from the Old School Runescape team promises to work with the Runlite and Runelite HD devs on a unified path forward

It only took 24 hours for the community pressure to draw a response from the Old School RuneScape team.

“We don’t always get it right, we are only human, now we are rectifying our approach,” they said.

How this attempt at a partnership plays out remains to be seen. Even in the moments after the shut down 117 made it clear that he had no ill will toward the team behind Old School RuneScape and would be open to working with them to achieve their common goal.