Since the very beginning, PC gaming and modding have gone hand-in-hand as dedicated players use their technical abilities to alter their favorite PC games.
These user-generated modifications cover everything from performance and graphical improvements to adding back in-cut content, unlocking a powerful weapon, or giving your character a silly costume.
In this game list, we’ll show just how varied the modding scene can be by highlighting the best moddable PC games to play in 2023 on Steam and other platforms.
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American Truck Simulator
First up on our list is American Truck Simulator, a PC driving game that sees you hauling cargo across a picturesque American frontier from the comfort of a big rig.
Like many simulation-driven games, it features detailed gameplay systems that allow you to fine-tune certain mechanics for a more immersive experience.
Over the years, modders have cooked up all sorts of new content for the game, including an assortment of trucks, trailers, interiors, parts, and maps to help extend your playtime.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
Revered for its meaty mech-based combat and tactical gameplay elements, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is one of the best entries in the BattleTech series.
While the base game boasts a challenging campaign with as much wanton destruction as one would want, players can take things even further by installing mods.
The MechWarrior 5 modding scene covers everything from HUD and gameplay improvements to adding new mission packs and biomes.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas is one of the more fondly remembered entries in Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic RPG series and much of that stems from its healthy modding scene.
This has led to the game achieving a cult status of sorts wherein modders continue to churn out increasingly ridiculous content on a scale much larger than any other Fallout installment.
So, whether you’re in the market for wacky space-age weapons, unconventional perks, or a full-blown campaign created by fans, scour the internet for New Vegas mods and you’re likely to find them.
Following in the footsteps of city builders before it, Cities: Skylines offers intuitive controls, goals, and tools that make it easy for any player to pick up.
However, longtime players may find themselves hungry for more content after exploring everything the vanilla version has to offer.
That’s where modding comes into play, allowing you to refine your Cities: Skyline experience by adding new maps, props, tools, music, and more.
Factorio is a construction and automation game that gives players the tools and freedom to create complex factories on alien planets.
Progression throughout the game is steady and entails researching new technologies, creating defenses and supply chains, and finding ways to speed up production.
As a result, many players look to the Factorio modding scene for new assets, UI elements, and QoL improvements to help maximize their operation and become as efficient as possible.
Our next recommendation is the colony sim survival game RimWorld, in which players crash-land on an alien planet with a group of characters and try to build a community.
Much like Factorio, there is an array of factors to consider when expanding and growing your base, including colonists’ unique physical and emotional needs.
To add even more depth, players can explore a deep library of RimWorld mods that introduce new items, factions, and models as well as completely overhaul the game.
Without a doubt one of the best farming sims to support modding on PC, Stardew Valley has benefited from a wealth of user-generated content.
From visual changes to character portraits, sprites, and buildings to adding new locations, NPCs, and gameplay mechanics, you’ll find plenty of ways to make the world feel entirely your own.
So whether it’s your first time around the block or you need an excuse to start up a new farm, now is the perfect time to browse through the best mods for Stardew Valley.
This list wouldn’t be complete without including one of the most moddable PC titles in all of video game history, the original Doom.
By this point, the iconic shooter has been ported to just about every machine you can imagine and is still receiving new mods three decades after its release.
Popular Doom mods range from sensible to downright absurd, introducing new weapons, levels, and visual changes along with completely new gameplay elements that drastically change it.
Another legendary first-person shooter with an equally notable modding community, Half-Life is still receiving new user-generated content to this day.
While there have been several modding efforts to upgrade and refine the game’s now dated visuals, the best Half-Life mods in our opinion are those that branch out and do something completely different.
Without that mindset, we would have never gotten games like Counter-Strike, Cry of Fear, or Gunman Chronicles, all of which started as Half-Life mods before becoming standalone games.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
It’s not often that games like Resident Evil 2 Remake end up amassing a huge modding scene to the point of mainstream recognition.
Most of this can be attributed to viral clips of modded gameplay where character models or outfits were swapped out and replaced with random pop culture figures.
After all, watching Leon or Claire get chased around the RCPD by a blood-thirsty Thomas the Tank Engine is not the kind of memory one simply forgets.
Serving as a showcase for Valve’s Source engine, Garry’s Mod offers a digital playground where players can let their imaginations run rampant.
In fact, the game is almost entirely driven by user-generated add-ons that introduce new characters, gameplay, props, and map assets.
The most popular one to come out of Garry’s Mod would have to be Prop Hunt, a modified version of hide-and-seek that uses player-possessed objects as a starting point for chaotic fun.
BeamNG.drive is a driving sim that boasts realistically accurate soft-body physics that allows for impressive-looking car crashes.
Since its release, players have taken the liberty of supporting the game with an exhaustive number of mods that add new vehicles, parts, maps, etc.
This has led to BeamNG becoming the preferred sandbox game for simulating realistic driving conditions and scenarios that push the envelope for virtual car destruction.
Positioned as a direct sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 benefits from a host of refinements to the series’ classically turn-based tactics gameplay.
And much like its predecessor, it’s backed by a healthy modding community that has continued to generate new content throughout the years.
The bulk of XCOM mods looks for ways to optimize the flow of battles as well as improve gameplay and progression for an overall better experience that’s more respectful of the player’s time.
Next up, Arma 3 is a tactical shooter that gives players insight into the harsh realities of war through extremely challenging combat scenarios that require thoughtful planning and coordination.
Due to its demanding nature, some players may seek out mods to adjust gameplay or simply add more content to the base game.
One of the more notable examples of this is DayZ, an Arma 3 survival mod with zombies that would go on to become a full-fledged game.
While it may not be the most recent game in the series, Civilization V has a relatively large modding community compared to other installments.
Even now, a full decade after its release, players are still cranking out new content for the turn-based strategy game with no signs of slowing down.
Many of these mods focus on adding quality of life improvements in regards to gameplay, animations, and UI for the purpose of bringing Civ 5 closer to the level of detail afforded to Civ 6.
Europa Universalis IV
Europa Universalis IV is another grand strategy game with 4X elements and a very active modding scene that continues to thrive almost a decade after its release.
Such is par for the course with games of this nature with open-ended gameplay that warrants multiple playthroughs from different perspectives.
You’ll find many mods for Europa Universalis IV are created with this exact goal in mind and seek to expand the number of cultures, decisions, and viable strategies to pursue.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Long-considered one of the best fantasy RPGs ever created, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has greatly benefited from a deep library of mods addressing players’ concerns.
From improvements to fast travel to adjusting the game’s HUD and even adding in a photo mode, The Witcher 3 modders have kept themselves busy all these years.
There are even overhaul mods that take the already fantastic base game and dial it up to 11 with changes to combat, alchemy, and progression for a more immersive experience.
Considering the very basis of Minecraft’s formula is building and altering objects to your heart’s content, it seems only fitting to include it on this list.
On top of that, it boasts one of the most massive modding communities that, much like Doom, have worked tirelessly to create every type of mod under the sun.
Whether it’s pushing the game’s graphics to achieve hyper-realistic results, creating modified servers with custom game modes, or adding tons of new crafting recipes, Minecraft players have it all covered.
Grand Theft Auto V
Despite having much of its success wrapped up in GTA Online, one could make the case that Grand Theft Auto V’s modding community is the real driving factor behind the game’s popularity.
At least, this is the picture that gets painted by looking at the number of times certain mods and servers have been either downloaded or connected to.
One of the most popular avenues for GTA modding are role-play servers such as FiveM, wherein players fully embody their avatars and live out their daily lives alongside other players.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If you’re searching for highly moddable PC games, look no further than the Elder Scrolls franchise, particularly the fifth installment Skyrim.
In addition to holding the series’ record for most copies sold, the game has grown a fervent modding community that’s always pumping out new content, bug fixes, and gameplay/visual overhauls.
To see just how far down the rabbit hole goes, consider checking our top picks for the best Skyrim PC mods.
Aside from being a fun puzzle platformer and one of Valve’s best games to date, Portal 2 has garnered a ton of support from a passionate community of modders.
This has led to some truly great custom levels with puzzle designs and story-telling that all feel like they could have come from the Valve itself.
Standouts include Portal Stories: Mel, a fan-made expansion that features full voice acting and additional puzzle levels for players to tackle after the main game.
Left 4 Dead 2
As if this list didn’t include enough Valve games as is, we couldn’t resist throwing in Left 4 Dead 2 for good measure.
Heralded as the granddaddy of zombie games, it offers a simple yet satisfying gameplay loop that becomes infinitely better with the addition of mods.
Whether you’re interested in fleshing out the co-op shooter with new weapons, enemy skins, maps, or graphical enhancements, rest assured the Left 4 Dead 2 modding community has you covered.