Take Two, as CNN’s Chris Morris pointed out this week, is a games company with an edge; an edge which it has managed to convert into some serious wonga, with controversial games like Manhunt, the forthcoming Bully and - most lucratively - the Grand Theft Auto series.
“If the video game world were a high school, Take Two Interactive Software would be the guy in the leather jacket who blatantly smokes at his locker,” Morris wryly notes in his weekly Game Over column for CNN.
What with 2005's infamous 'Hot Coffee' scandal, plus more recent problems with rating changes on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Take Two has found itself regularly singled out as Public Enemy Number One from the industry's more vociferous games opponents (read: Jack Thompson and Hilary Clinton’s mob).
So with all this in mind, it’s interesting to see that the publisher has just quietly announced that it is no longer planning to release Snow, a drug-dealing strategy game in which you progress from a small-time pot dealer all the way up to a substance-pimping kingpin.
Rockstar’s Bully, a game about a kid who stands up to bullies and gets up to all kinds of schoolboy mischief is reportedly still in development, but to get Rockstar reps to discuss the project is harder than getting Jack Thomson to admit games can be a good thing. And damnit, SPOnG has tried to get them to talk, and we will continue to do so.
Back to the Frog City-developed Snow which, SPOnG is reliably informed, was shaping up to feature hilariously over-the-top comedy violence, with a cel-shaded comic book aesthetic. It was also - undoubtedly due to its themes and content - going to wind up the Jack Thompsons, Daily Mails and thousands of illiberals of this world.
Take Two has not yet offered any concrete reasons for the game being canned, although it’s a fair bet that self-policing or image control or whatever you want to call it has played a significant role in the decision.
One industry commentator told SPOnG earlier: "This had led to serious discussions at board level at Take Two regarding the uncertain future of a number of other projects currently in development, including 'That Twat Who Parks Opposite', 'Who Cut My Hedge?', 'Give the Traffic Warden the Evil Eye' and 'Guffer'.”
*My Little Pony’s First Gymkhana is not actually a Take Two product! – Ed.