Remember that notorious episode from last summer in which Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) programmers inserted a ribald tryst that could be unlocked in its Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game? The "hot coffee" hack cost the company plenty in retailer returns and redistributing, and it may not be done paying the price for its naughtiness. Last night, the company revealed that the District Attorney of the County of New York issued a pair of subpoenas last week to investigate the matter.

Let's assume that no insiders have sold shares over the past week. It would stir up another controversy if execs were dumping stock between when the company had received the subpoenas on June 19 and last night's admission. That would be rich.

Take-Two seemed to be coasting along until last summer, riding high on the turbo engine of its Grand Theft Auto franchise. Then some renegade Wall Street thugs ripped open the door and took off with the company's growth vehicle.

The "hot coffee" incident broke so quickly that there wasn't even agreement in Fooldom as to what this meant for Take-Two. Some argued that "the tumble may be just the beginning," while others thought this was a golden opportunity for some great publicity.

However, as chains such as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) wiped their shelves clean of the title as the "M for Mature" sticker was replaced with an "AO for Adults Only," any chance of Take-Two winning "street cred" for its crude humor was overcome by the financial reality that the title was sinking quickly.

It doesn't help that this incident has gone public just as the industry is languishing, in anticipation of having all three next-generation video game systems on the market before diehard gamers stock up on fresh titles.

Take-Two joined its rivals in hosing down its profit targets over the holiday selling season just as similar announcements were coming out from the Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) camps.

Investors hate uncertainty, and the cloud of subpoenas was enough to send the already depressed shares off nearly 20% last night. The stock was at $27.07 the day before the "hot coffee" news hit and has now fallen by more than 60%.

That may bring the vultures around. I can just imagine EA, Activision, or even a more family-friendly publisher like THQ (NASDAQ:THQI) making a move to acquire Take-Two as a way to cash in on the still-valuable Grand Theft Auto franchise and perhaps tone down its graphical violence.

Take-Two will argue that it's not fair. It responded when the "hot coffee" hack was made public and accommodated angry retailers. The company's share price -- like its games -- shouldn't be stuck in the pre-teens. Crying won't do any good, though. The stock is unlikely to bounce back until the investigation is cleared, and that will give potential suitors plenty of time to size up what the company is packing under the hood and then steal it at a rock-bottom price.

EA and Activision are bothMotley Fool Stock Advisorrecommendations. Wal-Mart is anInside Valuepick. Try out any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is old enough to remember playing on an Atari 2600 before it became a relic. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story.The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.