Bully by Rockstar Games is one of the timeless classics that has been a part of gaming discourse since its release in 2006. The fictional world of Bullworth housed many delinquents, one of which includes the infamous James "Jimmy" Hopkins, who is the protagonist of the game.
The game has amassed a massive following, and it is played even to this day by many, whether by returning players out of nostalgia or the newer ones out of curiosity. It has been years since its release, and we've had several rumors and leaks about a potential Bully sequel unofficially known as Bully 2.
In earlier reports, we learned of the possibility of Bully 2. We knew that the game was already being worked on, only to be flushed in favor of the higher-priority flagships like Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto 5.
According to reports, Rockstar New England had already spent almost 18 months working on a viable concept for the game which resulted in a playable Bully 2 early build on Rockstar's very own proprietary RAGE engine.
Fast forward to today, and even more information has surfaced regarding the Bully sequel that almost came to be. SWEGTA, an unofficial Rockstar Games content creator, recently interviewed an anonymous former Rockstar Games lead developer who was working on Bully 2. The former employee provided some surprising insight into how far the development was, the missions, the vertical slice, and more.
According to the former lead, the sequel would have taken place not less than six months after the event of the first game, where Jimmy still has the same scars and body structure but is a bit taller. The developer also claimed that the vertical slice had well over six to eight hours of playable content with around 16 missions.
One of the missions is described as a "Kamp Krusty Style" rescue mission where Jimmy rescues kids from the summer camp. The game also featured a lot of Native American styles of decor and unique outfits.
The game also had boomerangs and tomahawks that would be used as weapons. Many of these things were mostly something the studio was experimenting with and weren't finalized. "So, working at Rockstar, you have to understand that nothing is final until Sam and Dan say it's final," says the former project lead.
SWEGTA also asked them about the scope of the story, its beginning, and its end. According to the former developer, the game was purely sandbox and had no real beginning or end. However, the idea and the core part of the game were "fully rendered, fully realized." The game had significant chunks, and game loops of mini-games, such as go-kart races and even law-mowing efficiency timed missions. Pretty much similar to the mini-games you find in GTA but in a much more silly "Americana summer vacation style."
Speaking of the Americana summer vacation style, the world setting was super vibrant and super green. This is also reflected in the recently leaked Bully 2 concept art, and the former project lead confirms they are real. The developer also mentioned something very interesting where the devs wanted to experiment with blurring the lines between a Teen and a Mature rating for this game. The game still had non-lethal takedowns but introduced a bow and arrow, albeit the arrow was replaced with plungers.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is still known as one of the most realistic games, and one of the reasons why it still holds that status is because of the interactions Arthur has with NPCs. If you've met someone in-game early on, they will most likely remember you later in the game. And so was the case with dogs in RDR2 and petting them.
The former developer says that a lot of the "ideation" for the treatment of the dogs and the NPCs remembering you were originally for Bully 2. The feedback was taken and implemented in RDR2. This is another proof that the priority was always given to the Red Dead Redemption series, hence why Bully 2 has been on the back burner for far too long. This was like a remembrance system which was also integrated into a faction system.
Yes, the game also had a faction system with factions like the Prefects, The Jocks, etc. Jimmy could become their camp counselor and do missions for the factions that may increase his reputation among the factions. They could kick you out if you did something that may put your faction in an unfavorable position.
It also had a choice system similar to the original Bully but a more "in-depth" version where players could be given a sort of "good vs. evil" choice. We've seen a similar feature in the form of the Honor System in RDR2. You can tell that this is probably a feature taken from the Bully 2 ideations.
While all the above sounds phenomenal, it is sad to see it fall under the "what could have been" category until Rockstar Games finally decides to work on it and actively see it through to completion. Still, seeing how much the studio has worked on the sequel on and off gives us some hope that the game is still on the table. We just don't know when the Houser brothers will approve the game for good.