Take-Two Interactive ( ATAR) took another step toward broadening its lineup on Wednesday, signing a multiyear publishing deal with developer Firaxis Games and acquiring the rights to Firaxis' popular Civilization franchise.As part of the deal, Take-Two will release Civilization IV under its new 2K Games label in the latter part of this year. The companies did not release the financial terms of the agreement or its length. In addition to royalty payments, Take-Two agreed to pay an unspecified amount up front, said Take-Two spokesman Jim Ankner. Firaxis, which previously released titles through Atari ( ATAR) and Electronic Arts ( ERTS), will develop titles exclusively for Take-Two for a limited period, Ankner said. He did not know how long that exclusive relationship would last. A Firaxis representative did not respond to a request for comment. Owner of the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto series, Take-Two has had a good deal of success developing adult-themed, violent games. But the company has struggled to diversify beyond that niche. Last year, Take-Two teamed up with Sega to take on Electronic Arts in the sports-game market. Offering games at less than half the cost of EA's rival titles, Take-Two sold millions of copies and established itself as a legitimate threat to EA's dominance. But EA hindered Take-Two's sports effort by recently signing exclusive deals with the National Football League and ESPN. Take-Two answered EA by signing a semiexclusive deal with the Major League Baseball Players Association and by buying from Sega the studio behind their sports games. The Firaxis deal represents another move in another direction. A strategy game that involves economic development, city building and warfare, the Civilization franchise has sold more than 5 million copies. The series was created by Sid Meier, Firaxis' director of creative development, who also developed such hit titles as Railroad Tycoon and, more recently, Sid Meier's Pirates! In recent trading following the announcement, Take-Two's stock was up $1.39, or 4.1%, to $35.02.