Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Suddenly, I Want a New Bully Game

A few days ago, Take-Two took out a trademark for "Bully" which you might remember as a Rockstar-developed Playstation 2 game that saw a few ports thereafter.  Being a Rockstar title, it was a sandbox action title in the vein of Grand Theft Auto, but scaled down quite a bit in terms of language and violence considering the characters were more or less kids.  Of course it didn't -lack- violence completely, which is something that a lot of groups at the time came out in arms about, though ultimately it didn't lead to much I don't think.  The trademark casts a rather wide net for use, so the obvious line of thought for the internet is that it's an indication of a sequel.  At the mention of that, I thought about it for only a brief moment before deciding that yes, that would indeed please me.

The interesting thing about Bully is that it is pretty much a game that had to be very, very careful with what it contained, given that it was doing something that most developers wouldn't even dare try to touch.  It was giving us characters that were kids doing things we don't want to believe kids do:  Fighting, cursing, scheming, bullying, vandalizing and just generally being bad.  It was all mostly parody, of course and despite the name of the game, the character you play wasn't really much of a bully, in that yeah, you could do some jerk-ish things to other kids, but the actual bullying generally had to do with the story and, more often than not, our main character was set out against it.  Still, despite the parody aspect of it, it was surprisingly candid in the story aspect of it while also striking a rather nice balance of funny and serious.  At least, some people thought so, since it won some awards for its script, and being a Rockstar game meant that it was...well, a good game, that's for sure.

A sequel to the game is tantalizing because Bully was a good game by its own merits and Rockstar has upped their game several notches on the whole Sandbox front, so a sequel in the same hands as the original could be fantastic.  If there was anything I didn't like about the original Bully, it was that, for as large as the surrounding area around Bullworth was, it felt by-and-large empty which is something that wasn't exclusive to that single Rockstar game since they were still in the process of refining the techniques of it.  While I understand we are talking about different branches of Rockstar here, I can't imagine that things are not shared between them all, so the vibrancy that we've seen in recent releases would likely be present in whatever setting a Bully 2 would have.  The end result will likely be something that makes a go-kart an excellent reward, given how fast and easily it'll let you get around and explore, rather than just being something fairly neat to drive around places fast and...go...back to school when you're done.

Unfortunately, I am wary about thinking of another Bully game getting made in today's world, given the renewed vigor people were using in going after video games not too long ago.  Schools and video games are even more touchy than they were back when Bully came out the first time and not without merit, even if, as stated, Bully was not bad nor dangerous in any way.  By all accounts, it was extremely tame and restrained for a Rockstar game, even with the different team working on it.  Still, perception and reality are often far too far apart, and I do worry what would actually come out of a Bully sequel as much as I want one made on the merits of the original.  That's partially why I'm wondering if this just isn't a preface to porting the game again somewhere else (like the iOS/tablet audience) or simply just....registering the trademark so nobody else can have it.  The coming months will let us know -something-, I'm sure, but regardless what comes of it, if it just reminds everyone what a good game Bully actually was, well, that ain't a bad outcome at all.

yes, I know there were things to do in Bullworth's vicinity but they were kind of boring things so they don't count

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