Why the most controversial video game franchise ever created is a tour de force of murder, mayhem—and marketing.

Seated around the table were executives from the top video game companies—including Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Rockstar Games.

Zelnick made no public statement about the meeting, but the critical proceedings must have seemed familiar to him, considering that the executive was pulled into a similar session in 2012 during the Obama administration.

There is perhaps no whipping boy more popular with critics of violent video games (who remain convinced, despite a wholesale lack of evidence, that the games engender real-life violence) than Rockstar, which produces Grand Theft Auto.

The franchise—which is famed for its misogyny, ferocity, bloodshed and all-around feloniousness—serves as proof of how profitable those themes can be.

As Britain’s Daily Mail wrote in 2013: “If the Devil had to invent a game, it would be this one.”

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