For some time within the late 2000s, builders at Rockstar New England thought they had been engaged on the subsequent massive Rockstar sport.
They had been excited to push the corporate’s tech and to carry a cult hit into Rockstar’s imaginative and prescient for the long run. They had been excited for the possibility to show themselves as a Rockstar studio, having just lately been bought by the corporate. They had been excited to steer improvement on Bully 2, the sequel to Rockstar’s critically acclaimed open-world journey about life in a personal faculty.
However issues don’t at all times go as deliberate, and different obligations on a launch schedule get in the best way of ardour tasks. Rockstar New England’s Bully 2 was shelved in favor of different, extra troubled tasks in improvement, like Max Payne 3 and Purple Useless Redemption.
“[Rockstar New England] wished to be kind of the golden little one within the Rockstar factor, however it’s actually onerous when Rockstar North was the one which was producing all of the golden eggs at the moment,” one developer says. “Residing within the shadows of somebody who casts a giant shadow like Rockstar North, and making an attempt to usurp that function, it’s actually tough and practically unimaginable. 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 in the end let go in favor of different tasks, 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 worry of repercussions from Rockstar. Their story is one in every of shifting firm cultures, tech that might lastly discover its method into Rockstar video games as late as 2018’s Purple Useless Redemption II, and disappointment over the best way 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 large sequence Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar purchased plenty of its third-party associate 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 Purple Useless Revolver, Purple 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 accordance with 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 group, composed of builders who beforehand labored on franchises like Civilization, System Shock, and Thief, had an “unmatched experience” within the subject.
For its first decade, Mad Doc operated on a work-for-hire foundation, taking tasks for publishers corresponding to Activision, Sierra Leisure, Disney Interactive, and Vivendi Video games. Previous to its buy by Rockstar, Mad Doc largely developed PC technique video games, such because the Star Trek: Armada and Empire Earth sequence.
Empire Earth turned Mad Doc’s bread and butter as soon as the studio took over improvement on the primary sport’s growth pack, The Artwork of Conquest. Although that preliminary launch was met with middling critiques, Mad Doc’s subsequent two Empire Earth video games, Empire Earth 2 and its growth The Artwork of Supremacy, had been profitable sufficient to result in offers with publishers like Bethesda Softworks and Rockstar.
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 method 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 legal 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 faculty. Slightly than kill folks, Jimmy obtained in fistfights. As an alternative of weapons, he had stink bombs and slingshots. Slightly 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 very best attainable assessment scores from shops like X-Play and 1UP, and a sport of the 12 months nomination from GameSpot. In March 2008, Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar’s mother or father 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 largely survived by engaged on IP from publishers, whereas making an attempt to develop and pitch its personal video games,” he says.
These robust occasions can be alleviated by a brand new associate: 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 gadgets. 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 mentioned that making Mad Doc a Rockstar studio would “improve our core expertise and additional help our dedication to creating progressive and progressive gaming experiences.”
“We’re desperate to carry our experience to bear within the character-driven, open-world tales that make Rockstar Video games titles so uniquely compelling,” Davis, who turned studio head of Rockstar New England after the acquisition, mentioned within the launch.
In accordance with builders Sport Informer spoke to, opinions on changing into a Rockstar studio had been constructive on the time. Some staffers, corresponding to 3D artist Tim Samuels, had been excited by the prospect of constructing video games for one of many greatest builders on this planet. “I assumed it was truly 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,’ folks had been actually in awe of that,” one former developer says. “It was good to have some clout to a job. You already know? I used to be excited to work on something that that they had, as a result of many of the video games that they’d churned out [had] been fairly golden.”
Nonetheless, some say that they regularly began to see Mad Doc’s office tradition disappear after the acquisition, and that crunch turned a extra prevalent problem throughout the studio as soon as it was beneath the Rockstar banner.
“Don’t get me fallacious – in the course of the making of Empire Earth 3 there was crunch [at Mad Doc], however it was dealt with effectively,” says a former developer. “There have been days to make up for it. Nobody was cracking a whip over our heads. Once in a while we’d have ‘hearth drills’ on Fridays. You may put the fireplace drills in air quotes as a result of it was actually simply the producer on the time; it was his method of letting us out early. There was a significantly better steadiness between work and life.”
Shortly after Rockstar bought Mad Doc, Rockstar’s former vice chairman of improvement Jeronimo Barrera visited the studio, the developer continues. Barrera was there to subject worker questions however left some feeling uneasy about their new employer.
“One of many first pink 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, ‘Effectively, 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,’ had been just a little disquieting of their impact.” (In 2019, a report from Kotaku detailed Barrerra’s fame 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 the entire allegations of misconduct.)
Shortly after the acquisition, builders at Rockstar New England started work on quite a few tasks. There was nonetheless work to complete on the PC model of Scholarship Version, however the studio additionally assisted within the improvement of different Rockstar video games, corresponding to Grand Theft Auto IV’s two story expansions and Purple Useless Redemption. Along with help work, Rockstar New England was given the possibility to develop its personal sport, a sequel to Bully.
In accordance with some builders, it was an opportunity to show themselves.
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 fee that co-founder Jamie King known as “relentless,” typically 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 because the 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, corresponding to 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 at present, its variety of annual video games dropped to at least one or two. After the launch of Grand Theft Auto V in 2013, which went on to develop 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 Purple 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 dearer, extra prestigious releases, usually centered on an older viewers and constructed round gunplay. The corporate touted the tech behind its video games extra – corresponding to L.A. Noire’s facial seize expertise. Its improvement budgets typically reportedly pushed greater than $250 million. A brand new Rockstar sport turned an occasion, one thing that didn’t occur usually.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Rockstar New England’s plan for Bully 2 was consistent with this imaginative and prescient, in response to builders on the undertaking. It was an opportunity to let the Bully sequence sit alongside Rockstar video games of the time, corresponding to Grand Theft Auto IV and Purple 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 just a little bit decrease.”
“There was plenty of give attention to character, very deep methods, seeing how far we might push that, and placing it up there alongside a GTA,” one developer on the undertaking says.
“I feel that they wished to carry 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 sources into its creation. Whereas Sport Informer wasn’t in a position to get an actual variety of folks engaged on the undertaking, three folks say nearly your complete studio labored on Bully 2, in some unspecified time in the future, with total headcount estimations being round 50 to 70 folks.
“At one level, I feel it was all people,” one former developer says. “The studio itself, that was going to be their sport.”
Three completely different builders advised us that the sport’s open-world map wouldn’t have been as massive 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 faculty map. What it could have lacked in total measurement it could 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 pressured entry. “Should you might see it, you would go into it,” one former developer on the undertaking says.
“[The player] was not going to be driving a automobile anyplace, so the whole playable area [and] land measurement [was] positively going to be smaller,” one other developer says. “Largely as a result of children – he’s not going to be driving – and likewise as a result of we wished these very deep methods. Like, should you can go into each constructing, that’s plenty of work. We’d somewhat not have a extremely large world; possibly scale that again just a little bit simply in order that we are able to be sure that we now 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 respect system within the first Purple Useless Redemption. If protagonist John Marston helps a nonplayer character, his honor score 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 this planet, particular NPCs don’t keep in mind his particular person actions.
In Bully 2, nonetheless, Rockstar New England was making an attempt to develop methods for characters to recollect Jimmy, for there to be good and dangerous penalties for his actions.
“We actually wished to be sure that folks remembered what you probably did, so should you pulled a prank in your neighbor, they’d keep in mind it,” says one developer. “That your actions had extra which means past a 20-foot radius and the five-second reminiscences of the [non-playable characters] close to you.”
Components of this method might be seen in Purple Useless Redemption II, two builders inform Sport Informer. Gamers see modifications in protagonist Arthur Morgan’s conduct 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 depart.
“The way in which that you simply work together with different characters on this planet, extra than simply along with your gun or along with your fist, they’ve some sense of reminiscence – plenty of 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 folks is that you would construct relationships with characters on this planet,” he says about Bully 2. “You’d be, like, greatest pals with the chef within the mansion or no matter, or the chef might 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 obtained pared down right into a normal ‘you’re good Jimmy’ versus ‘you’re dangerous 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 this 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 might see particular person blades. “You may go and mow the garden, after which it could truly be decrease,” one former developer says. “You may truly do job, commute, and create traces on folks’s lawns, that form of factor.”
“It sounds so foolish, however it was one thing that we had 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 present gamers the choice to interrupt into homes, the group 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 method into later titles. “Should you’ve performed Max Payne 3 and also you shot some glass, as an alternative of simply the glass breaking the identical method each time, we had constructed this complete system in order that this chunk proper close to the impression of the primary bullet would get away, and you’ll see just a little spiderweb of glass,” one developer says. “Then should you shot some extra of the glass, little particular person chunks close to the place you truly shot would fall out. [It made] it look life like.”
Footage courtesy of Jacob Geller
Glass fragmentation in Max Payne 3
A number of folks on the undertaking 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 prime of roofs, in addition to out of his window when sneaking out. “Timber had 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 kinds of issues like paintball weapons or water balloons, all of that kind of stuff,” a former developer says.
Whereas the builders put plenty of work into determining how the climbing can be applied in Bully 2, they by no means obtained far sufficient into improvement to utterly nail it down, in response to three former builders on the undertaking.
“We labored with plenty of GTA belongings simply in order that we might get one thing prototyped rapidly,” one developer says in regards to the climbing. “We tried to work plenty of that in. It’s like, Effectively, when he’s hanging for this lengthy, how lengthy does he dangle for earlier than he lets go? Will we wanna do [a] foot-over-foot balancing act should you’re strolling alongside a department? Versus facet stepping, facet to facet, should you had been working alongside the department however to the facet? It was stuff like that, and making an attempt to determine what labored, or what appeared one of the best because the participant.”
Housing these new options was a vertical slice of Bully 2 that Rockstar New England had up and working. In accordance with 4 builders on the studio and one individual at Rockstar’s New York Metropolis headquarters, Bully 2 was playable. Builders might run all over the world and work together with objects and non-player characters, and there have been some missions – corresponding to 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 just a little risqué,” a former developer says.
“There have been plenty of ’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 plenty of these sorts of issues. It’s positively in that model.”
As one developer on the undertaking remembers, the group had mapped out all of the terrain for the sport’s world. Moreover, NPCs had been strolling round doing varied day-to-day duties. Buildings and homes throughout the sport had been additionally beginning to develop into feature-complete, although he factors out that they weren’t in a shippable kind but.
“The sport was a minimum of six to eight hours playable,” says Marc Anthony Rodriguez, a former sport analyst for Rockstar’s New York Metropolis headquarters and one of many undertaking leads on Bully: Scholarship Version. “So, totally rendered, totally realized.”
“That sounds about proper for the dimensions of vertical slice that Rockstar tasks had been being constructed round [at] that point,” a second supply says when requested about whether or not, throughout his time engaged on the undertaking, the sport was playable for six to eight hours.
Two builders Sport Informer spoke to estimate that if improvement had continued, Bully 2 would nonetheless have wanted two to a few or extra years earlier than being able to be shipped.
However these years wouldn’t come. Over time, Rockstar started pulling folks off the undertaking and placing them on different in-development video games that wanted assist. For the builders Sport Informer spoke to, as soon as anybody obtained pulled off of Bully 2, they by no means returned.
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 price declaring that Rockstar Vancouver, developer of the primary Bully, was main improvement 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 similar time.
“I imply, that’s a fairly widespread factor that – I’ll discuss 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 undertaking was New England’s “heavy carry” 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 method I might state it’s, that they had a confirmed monitor report, and that was the one motive they had been acquired.”
“The principle 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. side 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 had been both ignored or turned down.
Whatever the why behind it, former builders on the undertaking describe plenty of pleasure for the possibility to develop a sequel to Bully. “It was actually simply, ‘Let’s do all the pieces 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 certain, staying till midnight, 1, 2 within the morning,” says one other developer on the undertaking. “We had been hustling to show ourselves as a result of I feel nearly anyone engaged on Bully 2 simply completely cherished it. It was definitely a labor of affection by nearly anyone that was engaged on it. I feel most people that labored on it look again on it fondly and form of wistfully, wishing that it could’ve labored out.”
However Rockstar had different priorities. There have been different video games within the firm’s pipeline that wanted assist and a focus. In 2010, Rockstar New England started pulling folks off of Bully 2, builders say, having them focus solely on tasks like Max Payne 3.
This level in Rockstar New England’s historical past marks a determined shift in tone. Whereas most builders converse fondly and excitedly about their work on Bully 2, when speaking about tasks corresponding to Max Payne 3 and Purple 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, typically between 12- and 16-hour days. Others describe becoming a member of a undertaking solely to instantly begin crunching or crunching on one undertaking simply to be rolled onto one other undertaking and having to crunch on that one, too. One developer chatting with Sport Informer makes use of the phrase “limitless” to explain the crunch on the studio.
“I imply, it was simply ridiculous,” one former developer says, describing the event of Purple Useless Redemption. “I do know that it gained sport of the 12 months, and that was nice and satisfying, however the strategy to improvement was simply – it was ridiculous. It took nobody’s life exterior of labor under consideration.”
“You already know, often you’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta get this out. We wanna attempt to hit this,’” one other developer says. “So all people works actually onerous for, like, every week, two weeks. However then when the milestone ended, they’re like, ‘Effectively, let’s attempt to preemptively repair the issues that we all know that they’re going to say. So we’ll simply hold crunching till we get phrase again.’ After which we wouldn’t get phrase again for six extra weeks or one thing like that, so folks had been form of breaking. It was breaking folks rapidly.”
The opposite factor builders carry up is a tradition change inside Rockstar New England. It wasn’t on the spot, 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 obtained farther from the tradition that had attracted them to hitch Mad Doc Software program.
As some builders describe it, they felt they had been anticipated by different folks throughout the firm to show their dedication to Rockstar by means of lengthy hours, and that they might be “harassed” when making an attempt to depart the studio. “When it got here time so that you can depart, it was plenty of simply making an attempt to get out with out being harassed on the best way out of the door,” one former developer tells Sport Informer.
“The tradition simply – it simply modified,” one other former developer says. “I noticed those that beforehand I actually favored develop into simply sycophantic. After which there was the entire ‘our bodies in chairs’ factor, you already know? 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’s an age and an individual that’s actually drawn to that. Rockstar, in my view, is effectively conscious of this.”
Purple Useless Redemption
Among the builders Sport Informer spoke to explain how they determined to depart the studio because the workload elevated and the tradition saved altering. One describes it as voting together with his toes.
Others had that call made for them.
In June 2009, Rockstar New England went by means of a sizable layoff. Sources throughout the studio advised Kotaku that “a minimum of 10 % of the studio” had been let go. This included the whole lot of the standard assurance division, as Rockstar shifted all of its QA to a devoted studio. Members of the studio’s artwork group and different departments had been additionally let go.
On the time of the layoffs, shops reported that Rockstar would assist these affected discover new jobs. In accordance with 3D artist Tim Samuels, who misplaced his job on this spherical of layoffs, that didn’t truly occur. He additionally says he wasn’t advised why he was being let go. As a result of timing of the cuts – earlier than the discharge of Purple Useless Redemption, which was the final undertaking 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 duplicate 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 Purple Useless Redemption. It’s thought-about among the finest video games ever made. In April 2020, Kotaku reported that Rockstar was taking steps to handle its crunch issues throughout all of its studios.
Through the years, information of Bully 2’s improvement has unfold across the sport business. Greater-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, advised The Gaming Liberty, “It appears to be like like I might be doing the soundtrack for Bully 2 within the not so distant future.” In 2011, Dan Houser advised 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 advised Polygon he wished to make a Bully sequel. “There’s plenty of instructions I might go together with that one,” he mentioned. In February 2020, Rockstar introduced that Houser can be leaving the corporate the next month.
There have additionally been a small variety of studies and leaks in regards to the improvement of Bully 2. In 2017, the Twitter account Bully 2 Information posted quite a few items of supposed idea artwork and in-game screenshots. In accordance with Sport Informer’s contacts, the massive majority of these leaks are legit. 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’ determination to shelve the undertaking in 2009. In October 2019, VGC printed a report in regards to the sport, saying the undertaking was in improvement at Rockstar New England for between 12 and 18 months earlier than really fizzling out. The report mentioned that whereas Dan Houser had a script and story define as early as 2008, improvement at New England occurred someday between Purple Useless Redemption’s launch in 2010 and the top of 2013. That roughly traces up with what Sport Informer has heard, although builders we talked to say they keep in mind the sport being in improvement between 2008 and 2010, earlier than the discharge of Purple Useless Redemption.
Rockstar Video games has by no means mentioned something publicly about Bully 2 being in improvement. We weren’t in a position to verify whether or not there was anybody at Rockstar New England – or another Rockstar studio – nonetheless engaged on the undertaking. Though, one developer says a construct of the sport nonetheless existed at Rockstar New England as just lately as a number of years in the past, components of which had been used as reference materials for later tasks.
We don’t know if a model of Bully 2 will ever see the sunshine of day. However a decade after improvement, those that labored on the undertaking nonetheless specific 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 superb, particularly given the very quick period of time that we had been engaged on it. […] It definitely would’ve been very distinctive, very attention-grabbing, definitely plenty of enjoyable. A number of cool and attention-grabbing mechanics that we had been engaged on that also aren’t in different video games.”
“It’s nonetheless an idea, in my view, price exploring,” one other says, “and I feel that it could be a missed alternative for them to let it go ceaselessly.”
Particular thanks: Matt Leone, Jacob Geller
If any present or former staff of Rockstar’s varied studios want to talk about their experiences, the creator might be reached by electronic mail, Twitter, or through Sign. The author’s electronic mail is [email protected] Attain out by means of Twitter direct messages for Sign data. Sport Informer can assure anonymity to anybody that requests in trade for his or her tales.