The New England studio suffered from the squeeze.
New details have emerged on the previously planned sequel to Bully, Rockstar’s brilliant schoolyard simulation, as part of a new Game Informant report.
Bully 2 would have featured a dramatically expanded playable world three times the size of the original game, where each building could have been entered (legally or via forced entry).
Interactions with NPCs were said to have been influenced by a game-wide morality system, similar to that found in Red Dead Redemption. A new climbing system has also been planned, with the possibility of climbing trees.
About “six to eight hours” of the game were playable, said a former employee, before the project kicked off around 2010.
The original Bully was the work of Rockstar Vancouver, but it was Massachusetts-based Rockstar New England who was commissioned to develop a sequel, following his work on the remastered edition of the Scholarship of Bully.
The staff at Rockstar New England, formerly Mad Doc Software, would be delighted to be acquired by Rockstar and work on a planned Bully sequel alongside other Rockstar greats such as Grand Theft Auto 4.
But the familiar claims of a culture of intense crisis – of working long hours and weekends – quickly set in after exposure to Rockstar’s internal work practices.
âIt didn’t even fit into the off-peak hours where it was right – it was like a hard-working fraternity house,â said another former developer. “There is an age and a person who are really drawn to this. Rockstar, in my opinion, is well aware of it.”
Between 50 and 70 people would have worked on Bully 2 once, but that number declined when Rockstar management later pulled staff from the project to help with other games in development such as Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption.
A decade later, there’s no indication Bully 2 will be back anytime soon. Rockstar continues to raise money on Grand Theft Auto Online and fight fires after the disastrous launch of its GTA Trilogy remaster.