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Grand Theft Auto 2The past few days have not been the relaxing post-GDC weekend hoped for by the Multiplayer crew. Thanks, Electronic Arts!

The blogosphere has been digging deep into EA's public attempt to purchase Take-Two Interactive, but while most of the world is wondering "what's next?," Multiplayer figured it was worth a trip into the past, too.

How did a company responsible for some of our industry's most influential and controversial video games become a source of financial instability and a revolving door of managerial problems?

Take-Two emerged in 1994 with FMV-heavy adventure game "Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller" (a project we're sure Dennis Hopper was quick to forget) and 3D space combat title "Star Crusader." Both actually appeared on the ill-conceived 3DO platform.

Their first notable move -- in retrospect, at least -- came during the release of 1996's "Grand Theft Auto" from then-DMA Design (who they eventually purchased in 1998, when picking up BMG Entertainment's games division). Knowing how big the series would eventually become, the box art's description of the game is especially funny:

"Grand Theft Auto -- Murder, road rage, pimping, bank raids, hijacking, armed robbery, extortion, adultery, smuggling, petty thievery, drug busts, police bribes, unlawful carnal knowledge and double parking!"

I wonder if they'll bring back pimping in "Grand Theft Auto IV"?

While Take-Two is best known for "GTA" these days, that hasn't always been the case. Read on for more about how Take-Two became the Take-Two of today, and a look at the strangely simultaneous rise of "GTA" and corruption within the publisher's upper echelons.

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