In early 2000, Rockstar propelled the world of Grand Theft Auto into the world of 3D and relied on cutting-edge technology. With ultra-efficient in-house tools and state-of-the-art machines, the developers give free rein to their imaginations. Equipped with this material, the decade 2000-2010 was then a whirlwind of creativity for the various branches of the publisher. Bully – or Canis Canem Edit – was started around this time. By dealing with bullying and teenage issues in a quirky way, the Houser brothers once again surprise the video game industry and find themselves, like GTA, in the eye of the storm. Banned in Brazil and in several shops in England, the game finally reached the shelves of stores and received the sympathy of the public. Dan Houser’s favorite title, Bully is a hit and the studio is quickly considering a sequel. Ultimately, the latter will never see the light of day.
As revealed Game Informer, Bully 2 was still in development. But at the dawn of the 2010s, he was faced with editorial choices symbolized by a new studio policy (fewer games, but each release must be an event and an example for the entire industry). It all started in 2008 when Rockstar took over Mad Doc Software to create a new studio: Rockstar New England. While most of the developers are working on Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption, the Houser brothers propose to this new antenna to create the sequel to Bully. Motivated as ever, the British set to work with the ambition of making Bully 2 a title in the vein of the best Rockstar productions. Unfortunately, not everything will go as planned …
Which is a shame if we base ourselves on the statements of the creators who were able to speak with the journalists of Game Informer.
At the time, just like Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption, Bully 2 had to be a big budget game and there were between 50 to 70 developers – depending on the period – to work on the continuation of the adventures of Jimmy Hopkins. . The idea is to sublimate the original by going much further, both in terms of the open world and the mechanics of gameplay or even staging. For many months, the developers will work hard by putting all their passion into it. And what we missed says a lot about the disappointment that those concerned must have been.
Without reaching that of GTA IV, the map of Bully 2 was at least three times the size of the original and it was possible to enter all buildings, either freely or by breaking and entering! Proof of Rockstar New England’s ambition, the studio was also experimenting with new artificial intelligence techniques. It was thus a question of a reputation system which caused more or less vehement reactions towards the avatar. But the developers wanted the NPCs to remember it and act on it whenever it came across the player. Another fad of the team: weed! The game had to offer a realistic system of a lawn that could be mowed and it grew back over time. The developers wanted to exploit this feature for the player to grab a mower and sow discord on the lawns of the inhabitants of the neighborhood! Funny ! The Game Informer article also refers to advanced climbing mechanics (trees, fences, roofs, etc.) or even a high-performance physics engine.
All of this shows that Bully 2 really had enormous potential. Unfortunately, this game never came to an end. Inspired by the Goonies or Porky’s, he was subject to intense periods of crush and underwent an internal restructuring at Rockstar. 10% of studio employees have been fired and Bully 2, despite its 6-7 hours of playable content, has fallen into oblivion. There was still a lot of work (2 to 3 years of work according to developers), but the interested parties hope that this sequel will see the light of day. Otherwise, it would be a huge waste. Rockstar preferred to put its workforce on other licenses, in this case GTA and Red Dead Redemption, more important in their eyes. It’s understandable, but we think this sequel to Bully could still have had its chance.
Although stopped definitively in 2009, Bully 2 is still the subject of special attention from Rockstar. Its base exists and it is undoubtedly no coincidence that noises from the corridors are regularly heard on the web. Right now and officially, Bully 2 is not in Rockstar’s plans, but with these revelations, it would be too premature to say that it will ever see the light of day. It is possible that the publisher will one day find a place for new adventures of Jimmy Hopkins. And many would welcome this decision. Because casually, this Bully 2 was promising from a decade ago!