For some time within the late 2000s, builders at Rockstar New England thought they had been engaged on the subsequent large 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 longer term. They had been excited for the prospect to show themselves as a Rockstar studio, having not too long ago been bought by the corporate. They had been excited to guide improvement 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 improvement, like Max Payne 3 and Pink Lifeless Redemption.
“[Rockstar New England] wished to be kind of the golden little one within the Rockstar factor, but it surely’s actually arduous 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 an enormous shadow like Rockstar North, and making an attempt to usurp that function, it’s actually tough and practically inconceivable. However man, did they struggle. Oh, did they struggle.”
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 initiatives, we not too long ago spoke to 5 former workers 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 among shifting firm cultures, tech that may lastly discover its method into Rockstar video games as late as 2018’s Pink Lifeless Redemption II, and disappointment over the way in which issues went.
The Title Rockstar
Within the late ’90s to mid-2000s, Rockstar Video games was on a spending spree. After the preliminary success of its large collection Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar purchased loads of its third-party associate studios. A kind of studios was DMA Design, renamed Rockstar North, developer of the primary Grand Theft Auto. One other was Angel Studios, the developer of Pink Lifeless Revolver, Pink Lifeless Redemption, and the Smuggler’s Run and Midnight Membership collection, 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 website, 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 discipline.
For its first decade, Mad Doc operated on a work-for-hire foundation, taking initiatives for publishers resembling 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 collection.
Empire Earth turned Mad Doc’s bread and butter as soon as the studio took over improvement 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, 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 components that had made the writer’s video games well-known. The place in different Rockstar titles, just like the Grand Theft Auto collection, gamers managed a legal free to trigger mayhem round an open-world metropolis or state, Bully put gamers accountable for Jimmy Hopkins, a highschool scholar on the Bullworth Academy boarding college. Relatively than kill folks, Jimmy obtained in fistfights. As a substitute of weapons, he had stink bombs and slingshots. Relatively 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 doable 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 dad or mum firm, introduced that the sport had bought greater than 1.5 million copies. For comparability, Grand Theft Auto IV, launched in April 2008, bought 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 unbiased sport studios in that it principally survived by engaged on IP from publishers, whereas making an attempt to develop and pitch its personal video games,” he says.
These robust instances could 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 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 news release announcing 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 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, stated within the launch.
In accordance with builders Sport Informer spoke to, opinions on turning into a Rockstar studio had been optimistic on the time. Some staffers, resembling 3D artist Tim Samuels, had been excited by the prospect of creating video games for one of many largest builders on the planet. “I believed 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,’ folks had been actually in awe of that,” one former developer says. “It was good to have some clout to a job. You realize? 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.”
Nonetheless, some say that they step by step began to see Mad Doc’s office tradition disappear after the acquisition, and that crunch turned a extra prevalent difficulty inside the studio as soon as it was beneath the Rockstar banner.
“Don’t get me fallacious – throughout the making of Empire Earth 3 there was crunch [at Mad Doc], but it surely was dealt with properly,” 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’d have ‘fireplace drills’ on Fridays. You might 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 a lot better stability between work and life.”
Shortly after Rockstar bought Mad Doc, Rockstar’s former vp of improvement Jeronimo Barrera visited the studio, the developer continues. Barrera was there to discipline 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 recollects. “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 a little bit disquieting of their impact.” (In 2019, a report from Kotaku detailed Barrerra’s reputation within Rockstar, citing a number of workers 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 initiatives. 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, resembling Grand Theft Auto IV’s two story expansions and Pink Lifeless Redemption. Along with assist work, Rockstar New England was given the prospect 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 path for Rockstar. For a lot of the corporate’s early historical past, it launched video games at a fee that co-founder Jamie King referred to 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 collection has been an enormous 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, resembling 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 this time, 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 out to be 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 Lifeless Redemption II in 2018.
The change within the firm’s launch schedule additionally marked a shift in path 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, usually centered on an older viewers and constructed round gunplay. The corporate touted the tech behind its video games extra – resembling L.A. Noire’s facial capture technology. Its improvement budgets generally 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 according to this imaginative and prescient, in keeping with builders on the venture. It was an opportunity to let the Bully collection sit alongside Rockstar video games of the time, resembling Grand Theft Auto IV and Pink Lifeless Redemption. It was an opportunity, as one former developer recollects, 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 loads of give attention to character, very deep techniques, seeing how far we may push that, and placing it up there alongside a GTA,” one developer on the venture says.
“I feel that they wished to carry that sort 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 capable of get a precise variety of folks engaged on the venture, three folks say nearly your complete studio labored on Bully 2, sooner or later, 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 totally different builders informed 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 scale of Grand Theft Auto: Vice Metropolis’s open world to “thrice” the scale of the unique Bully’s college map. What it might have lacked in total 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. “In the event you may see it, you can go into it,” one former developer on the venture says.
“[The player] was not going to be driving a automobile anyplace, so the entire playable area [and] land measurement [was] positively going to be smaller,” one other developer says. “Principally as a result of children – he’s not going to be driving – and likewise as a result of we wished these very deep techniques. Like, for those who can go into each constructing, that’s loads of work. We’d reasonably not have a very large world; possibly scale that again a little bit bit simply in order that we will guarantee that we’ve 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 Pink Lifeless 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 the planet, particular NPCs don’t bear in mind his particular person actions.
In Bully 2, nevertheless, Rockstar New England was making an attempt to develop methods for characters to recollect Jimmy, for there to be good and unhealthy penalties for his actions.
“We actually wished to guarantee that folks remembered what you probably did, so for those who pulled a prank in your neighbor, they’d bear in mind it,” says one developer. “That your actions had extra which means past a 20-foot radius and the five-second recollections of the [non-playable characters] close to you.”
Components of this technique may be seen in Pink Lifeless 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 depart.
“The way in which that you simply work together with different characters on the planet, extra than simply together with your gun or together with your fist, they’ve some sense of reminiscence – loads of that stuff [originated in Bully 2],” one developer says.
“From what I bear in mind studying [in] a few of the design docs and my conversations with folks is that you can 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 may open up totally 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 unhealthy Jimmy’ or what – however I do know in a few of the early concepts being thrown round, you’d have that fine-grained stage 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 a very good job, commute, and create traces on folks’s lawns, that sort of factor.”
“It sounds so foolish, but it surely 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 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 method into later titles. “In the event 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’d see a little bit spiderweb of glass,” one developer says. “Then for those who shot some extra of the glass, little particular person chunks close to the place you really shot would fall out. [It made] it look sensible.”
Footage courtesy of Jacob Geller
Glass fragmentation in Max Payne 3
A number of folks on the venture describe an in-depth climbing mechanic deliberate for the sport. When exploring the open world, Jimmy would be capable to climb timber, fences, and ledges, on high of roofs, in addition to out of his window when sneaking out. “Bushes had been clearly an enormous 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 loads of work into determining how the climbing could be carried out in Bully 2, they by no means obtained far sufficient into improvement to utterly nail it down, in keeping with three former builders on the venture.
“We labored with loads of GTA property simply in order that we may get one thing prototyped rapidly,” one developer says concerning the climbing. “We tried to work loads 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? Can we wanna do [a] foot-over-foot balancing act for those who’re strolling alongside a department? Versus aspect stepping, aspect to aspect, for those who had been working alongside the department however to the aspect? It was stuff like that, and making an attempt to determine what labored, or what appeared 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 accordance with 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 – resembling 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 loads 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 loads of these sorts of issues. It’s positively in that type.”
As one developer on the venture recollects, the workforce had mapped out all of the terrain for the sport’s world. Moreover, NPCs had been strolling round doing numerous day-to-day duties. Buildings and homes inside the sport had been additionally beginning to turn out to be feature-complete, although he factors out that they weren’t in a shippable type but.
“The sport was at the very least six to eight hours playable,” says Marc Anthony Rodriguez, a former sport analyst for Rockstar’s New York Metropolis headquarters and one of many venture leads on Bully: Scholarship Version. “So, totally rendered, totally realized.”
“That sounds about proper for the scale of vertical slice that Rockstar initiatives had been being constructed round [at] that point,” a second supply says when requested about whether or not, throughout his time engaged on the venture, 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 3 or extra years earlier than being able to be shipped.
However these years wouldn’t come. Over time, Rockstar started pulling folks off the venture 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 stating that Rockstar Vancouver, developer of the primary Bully, was main improvement on Max Payne 3 right now. The builders say they felt that the chance to work on Bully 2 was an opportunity to show that Rockstar New England was definitely worth the cash Rockstar had spent to accumulate it, which was a sentiment shared by workers at different studios bought by the corporate across the similar time.
“I imply, that’s a fairly frequent factor that – I’ll discuss with them as ‘New York’ – the New York workplace sort of asks of any new Rockstar studio, is for them to show that they’re definitely worth the funding,” one ex-Bully 2 developer says.
Rodriguez echoes this sentiment, saying the Bully 2 venture was New England’s “heavy elevate” 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 may state it’s, that they had a confirmed observe report, and that was the one cause 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. 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 had been both ignored or turned down.
Whatever the why behind it, former builders on the venture describe loads of pleasure for the prospect to develop a sequel to Bully. “It was actually simply, ‘Let’s do every part that they’re asking rather well as a result of we wish 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 venture. “We had been hustling to show ourselves as a result of I feel nearly anyone engaged on Bully 2 simply completely liked it. It was definitely a labor of affection by nearly anyone that was engaged on it. I feel the general public that labored on it look again on it fondly and sort 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 focus. In 2010, Rockstar New England started pulling folks 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 converse fondly and excitedly about their work on Bully 2, when speaking about initiatives resembling Max Payne 3 and Pink Lifeless 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 venture solely to instantly begin crunching or crunching on one venture simply to be rolled onto one other venture and having to crunch on that one, too. One developer talking to 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 Pink Lifeless 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 outdoors of labor under consideration.”
“You realize, 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 arduous for, like, every week, two weeks. However then when the milestone ended, they’re like, ‘Effectively, 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 folks had been sort of breaking. It was breaking folks rapidly.”
The opposite factor builders carry up is a tradition change inside Rockstar New England. It wasn’t immediate, 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 affix Mad Doc Software program.
As some builders describe it, they felt they had been anticipated by different folks inside the firm to show their dedication to Rockstar by way of lengthy hours, and that they’d be “harassed” when making an attempt to depart the studio. “When it got here time so that you can go away, it was loads of simply making an attempt 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 those who beforehand I actually favored turn out to be simply sycophantic. After which there was the entire ‘our bodies in chairs’ factor, you understand? 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, in my view, is properly conscious of this.”
Pink Lifeless Redemption
A few of the builders Sport Informer spoke to explain how they determined to depart the studio because the workload elevated and the tradition stored altering. One describes it as voting along with his toes.
Others had that call made for them.
In June 2009, Rockstar New England went by way of a sizable layoff. Sources inside the studio informed Kotaku that “at the very least 10 p.c of the studio” had been let go. This included the whole thing 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 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 really occur. He additionally says he wasn’t informed why he was being let go. As a result of timing of the cuts – earlier than the discharge of Pink Lifeless Redemption, which was the final venture that Samuels and others affected by the layoffs had labored on – none of them acquired 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 more than 15 million copies of Red Dead Redemption. It’s thought-about among the best 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. Increased-ups at Rockstar have additionally talked a number of instances about their curiosity within the collection.
In 2009, Shawn Lee, composer on the primary Bully, told 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 told Gamasutra that the corporate may work on Bully 2 after it launched Max Payne 3, which ended up launching in Could 2012. In 2013, Houser told Polygon he wished to make a Bully sequel. “There’s loads of instructions I may go along with that one,” he stated. In February 2020, Rockstar introduced that Houser would be leaving the company the next month.
There have additionally been a small variety of experiences and leaks concerning the improvement of Bully 2. In 2017, the Twitter account Bully 2 Info posted numerous pieces of supposed idea artwork and in-game screenshots. In accordance with Sport Informer’s contacts, the massive majority of these leaks are reliable. 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’ choice to shelve the venture in 2009. In October 2019, VGC published a report concerning the sport, saying the venture was in improvement at Rockstar New England for between 12 and 18 months earlier than really fizzling out. The report stated that whereas Dan Houser had a script and story define as early as 2008, improvement at New England occurred someday between Pink Lifeless Redemption’s launch in 2010 and the tip of 2013. That roughly traces up with what Sport Informer has heard, although builders we talked to say they bear in mind the sport being in improvement between 2008 and 2010, earlier than the discharge of Pink Lifeless Redemption.
Rockstar Video games has by no means stated something publicly about Bully 2 being in improvement. We weren’t capable of verify whether or not there was anybody at Rockstar New England – or every other Rockstar studio – nonetheless engaged on the venture. Though, one developer says a construct of the sport nonetheless existed at Rockstar New England as not too long ago as a couple of years in the past, components of which had 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 improvement, those who labored on the venture 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 superb, particularly given the very quick period of time that we had been engaged on it. […] It definitely would’ve been very distinctive, very fascinating, definitely loads of enjoyable. Lots of cool and fascinating 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 might be a missed alternative for them to let it go perpetually.”
Particular thanks: Matt Leone, Jacob Geller
If any present or former workers of Rockstar’s numerous studios want to discuss their experiences, the writer may be reached by e-mail, Twitter, or through Sign. The author’s e-mail is [email protected] Attain out by way of Twitter direct messages for Sign info. Sport Informer can assure anonymity to anybody that requests in change for his or her tales.