Bully 2’s former Project Lead has shared details about the title as it existed in 2013 before Rockstar Games pulled the plug.
Rumors and leaks regarding Bully 2 have circulated for the last several years. In 2019, sources familiar with Rockstar’s operations claimed Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser worked with a small team in 2008 to outline sequel possibilities.
This version of the project didn’t last very long. But Bully reared its head again somewhere between Red Dead Redemption’s May 2010 rollout and 2013. During this period, a crew at Rockstar New England – formerly Mad Doc Software – spent 18 months producing a concept and vertical slice.
Reportedly, these efforts culminated in a playable Bully 2 build using Rockstar’s proprietary RAGE technology. It, too, ended up falling by the wayside. Now new information has surfaced about this iteration of the sequel.
Ex-Rockstar lead shares fresh details about Bully 2
Speaking to an unnamed developer who worked on the sequel’s 2013 build, YouTuber SWEGTA learned it would’ve taken place roughly six months after the original. A slightly taller Jimmy once more served as the protagonist, returning to his hometown with various tasks laid out before him.
According to the ex-Rockstar developer, the New England team created about 16 missions, some of which involved Jimmy rescuing kids at a summer camp.
In addition, the former lead claimed the vertical slice boasted approximately six to eight hours of playable content.
A proper beginning and ending hadn’t come to fruition at this juncture, but the sandbox was “fully rendered, fully realized.” As such, the game loops were there, manifested in kart racing and several other GTA-style minigames.
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The open world itself bore an “Americana summer vacation style,” vibrant and full of life. Fans have likely seen as much in leaked concept art, which the developer confirmed did indeed come from the New England crew’s version of Bully 2.
Overall, the concept didn’t deviate too far from the original adventure. Non-lethal attacks had returned, along with a bow and arrow weapon that replaced arrowheads with plungers.
But there was an effort to push the limits by blurring the line between T and M-rated games while still upholding the ESRB’s “Teen” requirements.
Bigger ideas were formulated during the 18-month period, too, such as Jimmy’s ability to have pets and make in-game acquaintances that remembered him throughout the story. The ex-dev said these recognizable concepts present in Red Dead 2 were “all ideations from Bully 2.”
Developers had expanded upon the cliques, or factions, as well. The system worked dynamically, such that players who joined a faction and acted against it could be summarily kicked out.
On top of the faction and remembrance systems, the team also built Mass Effect-like “good vs evil” morality choices, akin to Bully but far more in-depth.
However, none of these efforts were final, not until the Houser brothers gave their seal of approval. Evidently, their seal of approval stopped short of the project’s continued development and completion.