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The Version Of Bully 2 You’ll Never Get To Play

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For some time within the late 2000s, builders at Rockstar New England thought they have been engaged on the subsequent large Rockstar sport.

They have been excited to push the corporate’s tech and to convey a cult hit into Rockstar’s imaginative and prescient for the longer term. They have been excited for the possibility to show themselves as a Rockstar studio, having just lately been bought by the corporate. They have been excited to guide growth on Bully 2, the sequel to Rockstar’s critically acclaimed open-world journey about life in a non-public college.

However issues don’t all the time go as deliberate, and different obligations on a launch schedule get in the way in which of ardour initiatives. Rockstar New England’s Bully 2 was shelved in favor of different, extra troubled initiatives in growth, like Max Payne 3 and Pink Useless Redemption.

“[Rockstar New England] wished to be kind of the golden little one within the Rockstar factor, but it surely’s actually exhausting when Rockstar North was the one which was producing all of the golden eggs at the moment,” one developer says. “Dwelling within the shadows of somebody who casts a giant shadow like Rockstar North, and attempting to usurp that function, it’s actually troublesome and almost inconceivable. However man, did they fight. Oh, did they fight.”

To search out out what precisely the studio was planning with Bully 2 and why it was finally let go in favor of different initiatives, we just lately spoke to 5 former staff from Rockstar’s New England studio and one from its New York Metropolis headquarters, most of whom requested anonymity out of concern of repercussions from Rockstar. Their story is one in every of shifting firm cultures, tech that might lastly discover its approach into Rockstar video games as late as 2018’s Pink Useless Redemption II, and disappointment over the way in which issues went.

The Identify Rockstar

Within the late ’90s to mid-2000s, Rockstar Video games was on a spending spree. After the preliminary success of its huge sequence Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar purchased numerous its third-party companion studios. A type of studios was DMA Design, renamed Rockstar North, developer of the primary Grand Theft Auto. One other was Angel Studios, the developer of Pink Useless Revolver, Pink Useless Redemption, and the Smuggler’s Run and Midnight Membership sequence, which the writer acquired and renamed Rockstar San Diego. 

Mad Doc Software program, based in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1999 by former Activision technical director Ian Lane Davis, was one other Rockstar acquisition. Davis holds a doctorate in synthetic intelligence and robotics from Carnegie Mellon College. In response to former builders Sport Informer spoke to, in addition to an archived model of Mad Doc’s web site, A.I. was a core pillar of the studio’s pedigree. The web site claimed that the studio’s workforce,  composed of builders who beforehand labored on franchises like Civilization, System Shock, and Thief, had an “unmatched experience” within the area.

For its first decade, Mad Doc operated on a work-for-hire foundation, taking initiatives for publishers reminiscent of Activision, Sierra Leisure, Disney Interactive, and Vivendi Video games. Previous to its buy by Rockstar, Mad Doc principally developed PC technique video games, such because the Star Trek: Armada and Empire Earth sequence. 

Empire Earth grew to become Mad Doc’s bread and butter as soon as the studio took over growth on the primary sport’s enlargement pack, The Artwork of Conquest. Although that preliminary launch was met with middling opinions, Mad Doc’s subsequent two Empire Earth video games, Empire Earth 2 and its enlargement The Artwork of Supremacy, have been profitable sufficient to result in offers with publishers like Bethesda Softworks and Rockstar. 

Bully

In October 2006, Rockstar launched Bully as a PlayStation 2 unique. The sport, developed by Rockstar’s Vancouver studio in Canada, was a subversion of the formulation that had made the writer’s video games well-known. The place in different Rockstar titles, just like the Grand Theft Auto sequence, gamers managed a felony free to trigger mayhem round an open-world metropolis or state, Bully put gamers in command of Jimmy Hopkins, a highschool pupil on the Bullworth Academy boarding college. Quite than kill individuals, Jimmy acquired in fistfights. As a substitute of weapons, he had stink bombs and slingshots. Quite than pull off robberies or heists, Jimmy pulled pranks and went to class. Coincidentally, the sport was set in New England, Mad Doc’s yard.

Bully was critically and commercially profitable, receiving the best attainable evaluation scores from retailers like X-Play and 1UP, and a sport of the 12 months nomination from GameSpot. In March 2008, Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar’s dad or mum firm, introduced that the sport had offered greater than 1.5 million copies. For comparability, Grand Theft Auto IV, launched in April 2008, offered greater than 8.5 million copies inside its first month. 

Again over at Mad Doc, Empire Earth 3, launched in November 2007, was critically panned. The corporate was in a troublesome spot, a former Mad Doc worker says. “Mad Doc, up till being acquired by Rockstar, was fairly typical of most impartial sport studios in that it principally survived by engaged on IP from publishers, whereas attempting to develop and pitch its personal video games,” he says. 

These robust occasions could be alleviated by a brand new companion: Rockstar. After the success of Bully on PlayStation 2, Rockstar approached Mad Doc about growing Bully: Scholarship Version, a remaster with new missions, characters, and objects. Mad Doc led the event of Scholarship Version’s Xbox 360 and Home windows PC variations, launched in March and October 2008, respectively, whereas Rockstar Toronto developed the Wii port.

In April 2008, Rockstar introduced it had acquired Mad Doc Software program for an undisclosed quantity and renamed the studio Rockstar New England. Talking in a information launch saying the acquisition, Rockstar co-founder and president Sam Houser stated that making Mad Doc a Rockstar studio would “improve our core expertise and additional assist our dedication to creating progressive and modern gaming experiences.”

“We’re wanting to convey our experience to bear within the character-driven, open-world tales that make Rockstar Video games titles so uniquely compelling,” Davis, who grew to become studio head of Rockstar New England after the acquisition, stated within the launch. 

In response to builders Sport Informer spoke to, opinions on turning into a Rockstar studio have been constructive on the time. Some staffers, reminiscent of 3D artist Tim Samuels, have been excited by the prospect of creating video games for one of many largest builders on the planet. “I assumed it was really actually, actually cool,” Samuels says. “It’s like, Hey, Rockstar! I imply, these guys are triple-A. They’re No. 1, on the highest. […] We simply took it in stride and began working.”

“Rockstar itself […] you say, ‘I work at Rockstar,’ individuals have been actually in awe of that,” one former developer says. “It was good to have some clout to a job. You recognize? I used to be excited to work on something that that they had, as a result of a lot of the video games that they’d churned out [had] been fairly golden.”

Nevertheless, some say that they steadily began to see Mad Doc’s office tradition disappear after the acquisition, and that crunch grew to become a extra prevalent subject inside the studio as soon as it was below the Rockstar banner. 

“Don’t get me unsuitable – through the making of Empire Earth 3 there was crunch [at Mad Doc], but it surely was dealt with nicely,” says a former developer. “There have been days to make up for it. Nobody was cracking a whip over our heads. From time to time we might have ‘hearth drills’ on Fridays. You might put the hearth drills in air quotes as a result of it was actually simply the producer on the time; it was his approach of letting us out early. There was a a lot better stability between work and life.”

Shortly after Rockstar bought Mad Doc, Rockstar’s former vp of growth Jeronimo Barrera visited the studio, the developer continues. Barrera was there to area worker questions however left some feeling uneasy about their new employer. 

“One of many first crimson flags was when somebody requested about hours and weekends and stuff like that,” the developer remembers. “Jeronimo’s reply was one thing to the impact of, ‘Properly, we don’t work each weekend.’ He is like, ‘For instance, I’m not working this Saturday.’ The emphasis on the phrase ‘each,’ after which ‘this,’ have been a little bit disquieting of their impact.” (In 2019, a report from Kotaku detailed Barrerra’s status inside Rockstar, citing a number of staff describing him as “abrasive” and “risky.” One worker additionally accused Barrera of sexual assault whereas working at Rockstar. Barrera categorically denied all the allegations of misconduct.)

Shortly after the acquisition, builders at Rockstar New England started work on quite a few initiatives. There was nonetheless work to complete on the PC model of Scholarship Version, however the studio additionally assisted within the growth of different Rockstar video games, reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto IV’s two story expansions and Pink Useless Redemption. Along with assist work, Rockstar New England was given the possibility to develop its personal sport, a sequel to Bully.

In response to some builders, it was an opportunity to show themselves.

Homes

The late 2000s marked a shift in course for Rockstar. For a lot of the corporate’s early historical past, it launched video games at a price that co-founder Jamie King known as “relentless,” generally growing or publishing as many as 9 or 10 new releases a 12 months, not together with ports. Whereas the Grand Theft Auto sequence has been a large moneymaker for the corporate for the reason that success of 2001’s Grand Theft Auto III, the majority of the writer’s library from its first decade was padded out with forgotten video games, reminiscent of Browsing H3O, Austin Powers: Oh, Behave!, and State of Emergency.

After Grand Theft Auto IV launched in 2008, that schedule slowed down. Whereas Rockstar nonetheless launched loads of ports of its older video games on new platforms, which it continues to do right now, its variety of annual video games dropped to 1 or two. After the launch of Grand Theft Auto V in 2013, which went on to turn into some of the profitable leisure properties of all time, Rockstar stopped placing out new video games on a yearly foundation. Its subsequent tentpole launch wouldn’t come till 5 years later with the discharge of Pink Useless Redemption II in 2018. 

The change within the firm’s launch schedule additionally marked a shift in course for its video games. Early on, Rockstar put out a hodgepodge of titles of various genres and qualities, however after 2008, the writer started to lean additional into costlier, extra prestigious releases, typically centered on an older viewers and constructed round gunplay. The corporate touted the tech behind its video games extra – reminiscent of L.A. Noire’s facial seize expertise. Its growth budgets generally reportedly pushed greater than $250 million. A brand new Rockstar sport grew to become an occasion, one thing that didn’t occur typically. 

Grand Theft Auto IV

Rockstar New England’s plan for Bully 2 was in step with this imaginative and prescient, in keeping with builders on the challenge. It was an opportunity to let the Bully sequence sit alongside Rockstar video games of the time, reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto IV and Pink Useless Redemption. It was an opportunity, as one former developer remembers, to “shoot for the moon as a result of even when we don’t fairly make it, we’re already a lot additional than if we had aimed a little bit bit decrease.”

“There was numerous concentrate on character, very deep programs, seeing how far we may push that, and placing it up there alongside a GTA,” one developer on the challenge says.

“I believe that they wished to convey that form of [world] to the Bully universe,” one other says.

For builders at Rockstar New England, this meant making the world of Bully 2 greater and deeper than that of the unique sport – and placing a substantial quantity of assets into its creation. Whereas Sport Informer wasn’t in a position to get an actual variety of individuals engaged on the challenge, three individuals say virtually the complete studio labored on Bully 2, in some unspecified time in the future, with general headcount estimations being round 50 to 70 individuals. 

“At one level, I believe it was all people,” one former developer says. “The studio itself, that was going to be their sport.”

Three completely different builders instructed us that the sport’s open-world map wouldn’t have been as large as that of, say, Grand Theft Auto IV, however their estimates on its deliberate scope describe it as starting from the dimensions of Grand Theft Auto: Vice Metropolis’s open world to “thrice” the dimensions of the unique Bully’s college map. What it might have lacked in general measurement it might have made up for with depth. For instance, Rockstar New England deliberate to make each constructing within the sport enterable, both by regular means or by compelled entry. “When you may see it, you might go into it,” one former developer on the challenge says.  

Bully

“[The player] was not going to be driving a automobile wherever, so the overall playable area [and] land measurement [was] positively going to be smaller,” one other developer says. “Principally as a result of youngsters – he’s not going to be driving – and likewise as a result of we wished these very deep programs. Like, when you can go into each constructing, that’s numerous work. We’d slightly not have a extremely huge world; perhaps scale that again a little bit bit simply in order that we are able to ensure that now we have all these significant issues in there.”

Bolstered by Rockstar New England’s pedigree in synthetic intelligence, the studio was experimenting with methods to make the participant’s actions extra significant than in earlier Rockstar video games. Take, for instance, the distinction system within the first Pink Useless Redemption. If protagonist John Marston helps a nonplayer character, his honor ranking rises. But when the participant directs Marston to commit crimes, then Marston’s honor falls. Whereas this impacts how NPCs react to Marston out on the planet, particular NPCs don’t keep in mind his particular person actions.

In Bully 2, nonetheless, Rockstar New England was attempting to develop methods for characters to recollect Jimmy, for there to be good and unhealthy penalties for his actions. 

“We actually wished to ensure that individuals remembered what you probably did, so when you pulled a prank in your neighbor, they’d keep in mind it,” says one developer. “That your actions had extra that means past a 20-foot radius and the five-second recollections of the [non-playable characters] close to you.”

Components of this technique might be seen in Pink Useless Redemption II, two builders inform Sport Informer. Gamers see modifications in protagonist Arthur Morgan’s habits based mostly on his honor. If Morgan has excessive honor, he’s a extra compassionate character. If Morgan has low honor, he’s pushed by greed and apathy. Equally, if Morgan robs a retailer, he can’t simply stroll again into it a couple of minutes later as if nothing occurred. The shop clerk remembers Morgan and denies him service, asking him to go away. 

“The best way that you simply work together with different characters on the planet, extra than simply along with your gun or along with your fist, they’ve some sense of reminiscence – numerous that stuff [originated in Bully 2],” one developer says. 

“From what I keep in mind studying [in] a number of the design docs and my conversations with individuals is that you might construct relationships with characters on the planet,” he says about Bully 2. “You’d be, like, finest associates with the chef within the mansion or no matter, or the chef may actually hate you or one thing, and that might open up completely different choices. I don’t know to the extent of the place that ended up – if that acquired pared down right into a basic ‘you’re good Jimmy’ versus ‘you’re unhealthy Jimmy’ or what – however I do know in a number of the early concepts being thrown round, you’ll have that fine-grained degree of relationships to different characters on the planet.”

Past the sport’s open world, builders describe a breadth of various interactivity choices and new options. One element recalled by two builders was a progressive grass-growing system, the place grass all through the world would develop realistically and gamers may see particular person blades. “You might go and mow the garden, after which it might really be decrease,” one former developer says. “You might really do an excellent job, travel, and create strains on individuals’s lawns, that form of factor.”

“It sounds so foolish, but it surely was one thing that we have been all enthusiastic about as a result of [of] the expertise behind it,” one other developer says of the grass-growing mechanic. 

As a result of Rockstar New England wished to offer gamers the choice to interrupt into homes, the workforce developed a brand new glass fragmentation system, new tech made for Bully 2 that hadn’t been utilized in prior Rockstar video games – although it’d discover its approach into later titles. “When you’ve performed Max Payne 3 and also you shot some glass, as a substitute of simply the glass breaking the identical approach each time, we had constructed this complete system in order that this chunk proper close to the influence of the primary bullet would escape, and you’ll see a little bit spiderweb of glass,” one developer says. “Then when you shot some extra of the glass, little particular person chunks close to the place you really shot would fall out. [It made] it look lifelike.”

Footage courtesy of Jacob Geller

Glass fragmentation in Max Payne 3

A number of individuals on the challenge describe an in-depth climbing mechanic deliberate for the sport. When exploring the open world, Jimmy would have the ability to climb bushes, fences, and ledges, on high of roofs, in addition to out of his window when sneaking out. “Bushes have been clearly a giant one; we wished the participant to have the ability to climb up the tree to cover or do some hijinks with all types of issues like paintball weapons or water balloons, all of that kind of stuff,” a former developer says. 

Whereas the builders put numerous work into determining how the climbing could be applied in Bully 2, they by no means acquired far sufficient into growth to fully nail it down, in keeping with three former builders on the challenge. 

“We labored with numerous GTA property simply in order that we may get one thing prototyped shortly,” one developer says in regards to the climbing. “We tried to work numerous that in. It’s like, Properly, when he’s hanging for this lengthy, how lengthy does he hold for earlier than he lets go? Can we wanna do [a] foot-over-foot balancing act when you’re strolling alongside a department? Versus facet stepping, facet to facet, when you have been working alongside the department however to the facet? It was stuff like that, and attempting to determine what labored, or what seemed the very best because the participant.”

Housing these new options was a vertical slice of Bully 2 that Rockstar New England had up and working. In response to 4 builders on the studio and one individual at Rockstar’s New York Metropolis headquarters, Bully 2 was playable. Builders may run around the globe and work together with objects and non-player characters, and there have been some missions – reminiscent of one involving go-karts, one other with a beekeeper, a Kamp Krusty-style mission, and one which had Jimmy in his underwear, even that includes a crotch bulge. 

“It was positively going to be a little bit risqué,” a former developer says. 

“There have been numerous ’80s-kids-on-bikes motion pictures, like Goonies, that got here up as reference. Porky’s was one other generally used film for reference,” he says. “We [looked] at numerous these sorts of issues. It’s positively in that model.”

As one developer on the challenge remembers, the workforce had mapped out all of the terrain for the sport’s world. Moreover, NPCs have been strolling round doing varied day-to-day duties. Buildings and homes inside the sport have been additionally beginning to turn into feature-complete, although he factors out that they weren’t in a shippable kind but. 

“The sport was no less than six to eight hours playable,” says Marc Anthony Rodriguez, a former sport analyst for Rockstar’s New York Metropolis headquarters and one of many challenge leads on Bully: Scholarship Version. “So, totally rendered, totally realized.”

“That sounds about proper for the dimensions of vertical slice that Rockstar initiatives have been being constructed round [at] that point,” a second supply says when requested about whether or not, throughout his time engaged on the challenge, the sport was playable for six to eight hours. 

Two builders Sport Informer spoke to estimate that if growth had continued, Bully 2 would nonetheless have wanted two to 3 or extra years earlier than being able to be shipped. 

However these years wouldn’t come. Over time, Rockstar started pulling individuals off the challenge and placing them on different in-development video games that wanted assist. For the builders Sport Informer spoke to, as soon as anybody acquired pulled off of Bully 2, they by no means returned.

Payne

Not one of the builders Sport Informer spoke to is aware of precisely why Rockstar New England was chosen to develop Bully 2, although it’s value stating that Rockstar Vancouver, developer of the primary Bully, was main growth on Max Payne 3 at the moment. The builders say they felt that the chance to work on Bully 2 was an opportunity to show that Rockstar New England was well worth the cash Rockstar had spent to accumulate it, which was a sentiment shared by staff at different studios bought by the corporate across the identical time. 

“I imply, that’s a reasonably frequent factor that – I’ll confer with them as ‘New York’ – the New York workplace form of asks of any new Rockstar studio, is for them to show that they’re well worth the funding,” one ex-Bully 2 developer says.

Rodriguez echoes this sentiment, saying the Bully 2 challenge was New England’s “heavy raise” for Rockstar, although he admits the studio had a historical past with the corporate earlier than the acquisition. “This [was] not their first rodeo with working with Rockstar,” Rodriguez says. “The one approach I may state it’s, that they had a confirmed monitor report, and that was the one purpose they have been acquired.”

“The primary acquisition was to have a foothold that was nearer than [Rockstar] North and that was going to have the ability to deal with the A.I. facet of what the interplay inside this sport was going to be, the communication instruments inside this sport,” he provides. “Mad Doc wasn’t, like, one thing to f—ing flip your nostril up at.”

Rockstar declined to take part on this story. All different interview requests Sport Informer despatched to present or former members of the New York workplace have been both ignored or turned down. 

Whatever the why behind it, former builders on the challenge describe numerous pleasure for the possibility to develop a sequel to Bully. “It was actually simply, ‘Let’s do the whole lot that they’re asking rather well as a result of we need to impress these of us,’” one former developer says.

“There [were] some late nights for positive, staying till midnight, 1, 2 within the morning,” says one other developer on the challenge. “We have been hustling to show ourselves as a result of I believe nearly anyone engaged on Bully 2 simply completely cherished it. It was actually a labor of affection by nearly anyone that was engaged on it. I believe most people that labored on it look again on it fondly and form of wistfully, wishing that it might’ve labored out.”

However Rockstar had different priorities. There have been different video games within the firm’s pipeline that wanted assist and a spotlight. In 2010, Rockstar New England started pulling individuals off of Bully 2, builders say, having them focus solely on initiatives like Max Payne 3.

This level in Rockstar New England’s historical past marks a determined shift in tone. Whereas most builders communicate fondly and excitedly about their work on Bully 2, when speaking about initiatives reminiscent of Max Payne 3 and Pink Useless Redemption, their tone turns dour. 

The builders make two details concerning this particular time in Rockstar New England’s historical past. One is the crunch. Builders describe months-long crunch intervals the place they’d must work late into the evening and on weekends, generally between 12- and 16-hour days. Others describe becoming a member of a challenge solely to right away begin crunching or crunching on one challenge simply to be rolled onto one other challenge and having to crunch on that one, too. One developer chatting with Sport Informer makes use of the phrase “infinite” to explain the crunch on the studio.

“I imply, it was simply ridiculous,” one former developer says, describing the event of Pink Useless Redemption. “I do know that it received sport of the 12 months, and that was nice and satisfying, however the strategy to growth was simply – it was ridiculous. It took nobody’s life outdoors of labor into consideration.”

“You recognize, often you’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta get this out. We wanna try to hit this,’” one other developer says. “So all people works actually exhausting for, like, per week, two weeks. However then when the milestone ended, they’re like, ‘Properly, let’s try to preemptively repair the issues that we all know that they’re going to say. So we’ll simply maintain crunching till we get phrase again.’ After which we wouldn’t get phrase again for six extra weeks or one thing like that, so individuals have been form of breaking. It was breaking individuals shortly.”

The opposite factor builders convey up is a tradition change inside Rockstar New England. It wasn’t prompt, they are saying, and wasn’t a lot of an issue on Bully 2, however three builders Sport Informer spoke with say that as time went on, the studio acquired farther from the tradition that had attracted them to hitch Mad Doc Software program. 

As some builders describe it, they felt they have been anticipated by different individuals inside the firm to show their dedication to Rockstar by way of lengthy hours, and that they might be “harassed” when attempting to go away the studio. “When it got here time so that you can depart, it was numerous simply attempting to get out with out being harassed on the way in which out of the door,” one former developer tells Sport Informer

“The tradition simply – it simply modified,” one other former developer says. “I noticed people who beforehand I actually favored turn into simply sycophantic. After which there was the entire ‘our bodies in chairs’ factor, you recognize? You don’t have work to do, however you’re going to be right here on the weekend, as a result of there’s some studio head that’s going to be strolling round. This doesn’t even get into the off-work hours stuff the place it was simply – it was like a hardworking frat home. There may be an age and an individual that’s actually drawn to that. Rockstar, for my part, is nicely conscious of this.”

Pink Useless Redemption

A few of the builders Sport Informer spoke to explain how they determined to go away the studio because the workload elevated and the tradition saved altering. One describes it as voting along with his ft. 

Others had that call made for them.

In June 2009, Rockstar New England went by way of a sizable layoff. Sources inside the studio instructed Kotaku that “no less than 10 p.c of the studio” had been let go. This included everything of the standard assurance division, as Rockstar shifted all of its QA to a devoted studio. Members of the studio’s artwork workforce and different departments have been additionally let go. 

On the time of the layoffs, retailers reported that Rockstar would assist these affected discover new jobs. In response to 3D artist Tim Samuels, who misplaced his job on this spherical of layoffs, that didn’t really occur. He additionally says he wasn’t instructed why he was being let go. Because of the timing of the cuts – earlier than the discharge of Pink Useless Redemption, which was the final challenge that Samuels and others affected by the layoffs had labored on – none of them obtained bonuses for his or her work. “We didn’t even get a replica of the sport,” Samuels says. 

“That layoff was fairly devastating to lots of people within the studio, and caught with me even after I had left,” says one developer who spoke to Sport Informer anonymously. “It by no means actually made a lot sense to me as to why it occurred, and I don’t recall there ever being an official clarification.”

As of February 2017, Rockstar had shipped greater than 15 million copies of Pink Useless Redemption. It’s thought-about probably the greatest video games ever made. In April 2020, Kotaku reported that Rockstar was taking steps to deal with its crunch issues throughout all of its studios.

Eternally

Over time, information of Bully 2’s growth has unfold across the sport business. Increased-ups at Rockstar have additionally talked a number of occasions about their curiosity within the sequence.

In 2009, Shawn Lee, composer on the primary Bully, instructed The Gaming Liberty, “It seems like I might be doing the soundtrack for Bully 2 within the not so distant future.” In 2011, Dan Houser instructed Gamasutra that the corporate would possibly work on Bully 2 after it launched Max Payne 3, which ended up launching in Could 2012. In 2013, Houser instructed Polygon he wished to make a Bully sequel. “There’s numerous instructions I may go along with that one,” he stated. In February 2020, Rockstar introduced that Houser could be leaving the corporate the next month. 

There have additionally been a small variety of studies and leaks in regards to the growth of Bully 2. In 2017, the Twitter account Bully 2 Info posted numerous pieces of supposed idea artwork and in-game screenshots. In response to Sport Informer’s contacts, the massive majority of these leaks are authentic. In July 2019, YouTuber SWEGTA uploaded a video based mostly on a dialog with a former Rockstar New England worker about Bully 2 and Rockstar Video games’ resolution to shelve the challenge in 2009. In October 2019, VGC revealed a report in regards to the sport, saying the challenge was in growth at Rockstar New England for between 12 and 18 months earlier than petering out. The report stated that whereas Dan Houser had a script and story define as early as 2008, growth at New England occurred someday between Pink Useless Redemption’s launch in 2010 and the top of 2013. That roughly strains up with what Sport Informer has heard, although builders we talked to say they keep in mind the sport being in growth between 2008 and 2010, earlier than the discharge of Pink Useless Redemption.

Rockstar Video games has by no means stated something publicly about Bully 2 being in growth. We weren’t in a position to affirm whether or not there was anybody at Rockstar New England – or some other Rockstar studio – nonetheless engaged on the challenge. Though, one developer says a construct of the sport nonetheless existed at Rockstar New England as just lately as just a few years in the past, components of which have been used as reference materials for later initiatives. 

We don’t know if a model of Bully 2 will ever see the sunshine of day. However a decade after growth, people who labored on the challenge nonetheless categorical fondness for the sport and their work. They usually say they nonetheless hope they’ll get an opportunity to play a full launch. 

“It was going to be actually cool,” one former developer says. “What we had was fairly wonderful, particularly given the very brief period of time that we have been engaged on it. […] It actually would’ve been very distinctive, very attention-grabbing, actually numerous enjoyable. Loads of cool and attention-grabbing mechanics that we have been engaged on that also aren’t in different video games.”

“It’s nonetheless an idea, for my part, value exploring,” one other says, “and I believe that it might be a missed alternative for them to let it go endlessly.”

Particular thanks: Matt Leone, Jacob Geller


If any present or former staff of Rockstar’s varied studios want to discuss their experiences, the writer might be reached by electronic mail, Twitter, or by way of Sign. The author’s electronic mail is blakehester@gameinformer.com. Attain out by way of Twitter direct messages for Sign data. Sport Informer can assure anonymity to anybody that requests in change for his or her tales. 





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