That didn’t take long.
Take Two Interactive’s new management team, which seized control of the company via stockholder revolt late Thursday afternoon, is facing its first public relations crisis. Not surprisingly, the uproar is related to the controversial Grand Theft Auto series.
Just hours after new chairman Strauss Zelnick and his team wrestled control of Take Two from embattled former CEO Paul Eibeler, the company released the first video trailer for GTA IV, scheduled to hit retail on October 16th. The picture at left is a screen shot from the trailer.
While game websites analyzed the trailer frame-by-frame in an obsessive hunt for clues to GTA4’s game play, officials in New York City began doing a slow burn over the Big Apple’s obvious inclusion as Liberty City, the setting for the crime-oriented game.
As reported by the NY Daily News:
The latest version of an ultraviolent video game will unleash its murderous mayhem on the streets of New York. And outraged political leaders say the rampant brutality of the game, Grand Theft Auto IV, has little in common with reality.
…(GTA4) is set in a mythical city that bears a striking resemblance to New York… the trailer shows well-known landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Cyclone in Coney Island…
Said City Councilman Peter Vallone, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee:
Setting Grand Theft Auto in the safest big city in America would be like setting Halo in Disneyland.
A spokesman for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg added:
The mayor does not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers.
Take Two, of course, had no comment. So even though management has changed, the company’s unfortunate duck-and-cover P.R. strategy apparently remains.