From Manhunt to Grand Theft Auto to State of Emergency to Bully, Take-Two Interactive is no stranger to publishing controversial games that push both political and parental buttons.
So when 2K Games quietly shelves development of a PC strategy title in which the player manages an international drug smuggling operation, you have to wonder, has parent corporation Take-Two, long the industry's wild child, decided to tone its act down?
CNN: Money's Chris Morris recently reported that 2K Games quietly canceled Snow, a PC-only title in which players seek to advance from small-time pot dealer to drug kingpin.
Although Take-Two was characteristically tight-lipped, Morris speculated several reasons for the move. The first is that Take-Two has taken a P.R. as well as financial beating lately over edgy game content, in particular the Hot Coffee scandal surrounding GTA San Andrea. It's very possible that the certain public outcry over a drug-dealing game might have been enough to make T2 rethink its marketing strategy and game catalog.
But then again, the developer, Frog City (Imperialism, Tropico 2), was recently merged with several other Take Two subsidiaries, including PopTop Software (Tropico, Railroad Tycoon 3, Shattered Union) and Firaxis (Sid Meier's Civilization IV). Viewed in that light the cancellation could simply be part of the reshuffling of resources.
CM: Even webcomic Little Gamers agrees that another sex, violence, and drugs-themed game is probably not a wise move for Take Two right now, although narcotics trafficking games are not unheard of. They've just always been either simple games you can play on your Palm Pilot or cell phone (Dope Wars), or integrated into a more expansive game where illegal smuggling is just one of many options available to a player (Wing Commander: Privateer).
-Reporting from a secret smuggler's route near the spice mines of Kessel, GP Correspondent Colin "Jabrwock"McInnes
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