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Cancelled Bully 2 Had ‘Very Deep Systems,’ Says Former Dev

Remember that Game Informer tease about Bully 2 earlier this month? Turns out, the website was teasing a comprehensive feature about the cancelled sequel that’s based on interviews with former Rockstar Games developers who worked on the project. Talk about putting salt on a wound! But this is a wound that just doesn’t heal for Bully fans (us included), so here we are, reporting on it yet again.

First, a brief refresher: Bully 2 was in development at Rockstar New England, which was known as Mad Doc Software prior to its acquisition. At least six to eight hours of the game were playable, but Rockstar had other plans and kept pulling developers off of the project to support games like Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption. According to two former developers who requested anonymity due to fear of repercussions, once Rockstar pulled people off of Bully 2, they would never return to the project.

“There was a lot of focus on character, very deep systems, seeing how far we could push that, and putting it up there alongside a GTA,” one developer told Game Informer. Bully 2‘s map was to be approximately “three times” the size of the original, and the scope was very ambitious. For instance, Rockstar wanted players to be able to enter every single building, which is a monumental task in terms of development.

Then, Rockstar wanted to add an AI system that would set a new benchmark in the industry at the time. The AI system would make players’ actions more meaningful by ensuring that NPCs remembered Jimmy’s actions, and there would be consequences for both good and bad behavior.

“We really wanted to make sure that people remembered what you did, so if you pulled a prank on your neighbor, they’d remember it,” one developer explained. “That your actions had more meaning beyond a 20-foot radius and the five-second memories of the [non-playable characters] near you.”

Parts of this system were later used in Red Dead Redemption II whereby Arthur Morgan’s behavior is linked to his honor. “The way that you interact with other characters in the world, more than just with your gun or with your fist, they have some sense of memory – a lot of that stuff [originated in Bully 2],” the developer added.

Game Informer’s feature dives deep into Bully 2‘s cancellation and Rockstar’s crunch culture (that was scrutinized in recent years), so we highly recommend reading it.

For now, we keep our fingers crossed for Bully‘s future.


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