'Modding is where the next big game idea will come from,' says Counter-Strike creator Minh Le

'Modding is where the next big game idea will come from,' says Counter-Strike creator Minh Le

One of the creators of shooter Counter-Strike Minh 'Gooseman' Le says that the modding scene is where new ideas come from in games.

Speaking to, the co-creator of the popular online shooter, which started out as a mod for Valve's Half-Life, says that toying around with existing content lets developers experiment in way that is safe and has how expectations.

Modding is where the last two major genre innovations took place with the MOBA and the battle royale genres emerged from. The former was kickstarted by IceFrog's Defence of the Ancients (DOTA) mod for WarCraft III, while the latter grew to notoriety from a series of game mods from Brendan 'Playerunknown' Greene, starting with the DayZ mod for military simulator ARMA 2.

Furthermore, Le says that triple-A firms can't compete with these smaller project in terms of coming up with new, interesting and innovative ideas. 

"Modding is one of the best ways for the next big game idea to come about," he told

"For one, creating small mods has low expectations; no-one expects anything from it. Mods usually end up being small, but it allows you to see what works from an early point. When you create a mod and release it to the world, and as the players start to come on-board, you see instantly that your game idea has legs. That motivates you to carry on and refine your idea. That's exactly what happened with Counter-Strike - I feel that's how Dota and Playerunknown's Battlegrounds came about. A lot of these huge IPs you see today like Dota and PUBG all started as mods. It couldn't have happened any other way. 

"I don't think a triple-A developer can just go to their think tank and come out with a game as popular as PUBG. The way that triple-A studios work is they see an existing game that is successful and they copy it, put their own spin on it and make it look really great. League of Legends is a great example of that. All the great IPs and innovative games start out as mods because they are able to flourish in a very low-pressure environment. Usually, when triple-A companies make games, there are huge expectations. Players are always expecting them to be huge - a lot of them are setting themselves up for failure. A lot of times, players won't even give them a chance because triple-A games have that disadvantage. When you're some nobody making a mod, you work on your game in a very open environment because you're so close to the community. That's really crucial to refining your game."

You can read more about Le and the creation of the original Counter-Strike in our upcoming interview with the development vet which is going live later today.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.