Sep 27th, 2016 publishUpdated   Sep 30th, 2016, 2:38 pm

Have you ever been playing a game and thought to yourself “Man, this is really good. I wish someone could make it even better!” Or maybe you just want to play your favorite mod without being tethered to an unnecessary game? Well, lucky for you, you’re far from the only one whose mind has wandered in such a direction. Today, we’re looking at five games that started off as simple mods, but after some TLC (tender love and care), blossomed into full-fledged games.

The Stanley Parable


Originally designed as a side project to show to prospective employers, The Stanley Parable developer Davey Wreden started making this game as a Half-Life 2 mod in 2011. His secondary objective was to explore the ways stories could be told through video games.

After the mod was downloaded more than 90,000 times in its first two weeks, Wreden worked with award-winning environment artist William Pugh to create a remake for Steam. The remake went on to sell more than 100,000 copies in its first 72 hours on Steam.

League of Legends


League of Legends is essentially an anomaly on this list, because it wasn’t just a mod. No, League of Legends was a mod of a mod. League of Legends‘ origins can be traced back to a Warcraft III mod called Defense of the Ancients. Seeking to improve upon the gameplay seen in the original DOTA, Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill co-founded Riot Games in 2006, partnered with various DotA: Allstars developers¬†and the rest is history.

Now, League of Legends has become the catalyst of the eSports craze, spawning multiple teams (some owned by NBA legends and teams), and even introducing certain people to the world of video games.

Garry’s Mod


Conceived in 2004 as a mod of Half-Life 2, Gary’s Mod saw development until 2006 when it was released on Steam as a standalone title. From there, support for Valve’s wider catalogue of games like Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life 2 was added, allowing people to mix elements found in those games together to do whatever the hell they wanted, like create comedic videos.



So, this one isn’t technically out, but releasing an alpha of your game that consumers can purchase means you qualify for the list! That said, before leaving Bohemia Interactive (the developer of DayZ), Dean Hall was the mind who started it all. In 2012, DayZ was released as a mod for the game ARMA 2.

With one million downloads achieved in its first four months of availability, it’s hard not to call this a success. Did we mention you had to buy ARMA 2 to play DayZ? Yeah, people were buying this game specifically so they could join in on the fun that DayZ offered. In December 2013, Bohemia Interactive released a standalone, alpha version of DayZ. The game was announced for PS4 and Xbox One in 2014 and 2015 respectively, despite still being in alpha testing on PC.

Team Fortress


And finally, possibly the most popular title on this list: Team Fortress. For this one, we’re starting with the original Team Fortress. Team Fortress Software developed this game as a mod for Quake in 1996 (that also makes this game the oldest!). The team intended on following up on this title with Team Fortress 2, until they were approached by Valve to make Team Fortress Classic¬†as a Half-Life mod. So, they joined Valve and got to work, releasing Team Fortress Classic on April 1, 1999.

Following numerous updates to the game, Valve released the standalone sequel, Team Fortress 2 in 2007 both as a standalone game on Steam and packaged in The Orange Box, a collection of Valve’s critically-acclaimed portfolio.

What are some of your favorite mods that saw a standalone release? Let us know in the comments below!