It’s been over a decade since Rockstar North released Bully, an open world game based around the adventures of 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins as he tries to survive at infamous Bullworth Academy. Since it’s release fans of the game have demanded a sequel. For years fans have been met with either no response from Rockstar or fake rumors. As the years roll on it seems it seems more and more likely that fans will never get the game that they have yearned so long for.
Yet there is a new rumor circulating the internet that has fans of the game hopes renewed. Unlike the other rumors that have arisen over the years; this rumor came from a Rockstar insider. According to the insider, following the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 the next major Rockstar project will be Bully 2. Could this finally be the news that fans have been waiting so long for? If years of erroneous rumors are any indication, this could just be a set up for more disappointment.
Which begs the question, should Rockstar proceed to develop a sequel to Bully? For fans the obvious answer is yes. But it’s not so simple. This article is set up to explain why Rockstar should make a sequel while explaining the obstacles that stand in the way of one.
It may come as a surprise to many that a PS2 game from 2006 managed to accumulate a massive cult following. What’s even more staggering is that this fanbase’s loyalty has generated a strong presence all over the internet. Take the time to search for rumors surrounding Bully 2 and you’ll find videos with views in the hundreds of thousands. Over the years speculation of a sequel have sprouted up causing fans to flock to the internet for answers. Unfortunately, they time and time again they were left disappointed.
One Youtuber by the alias of SWEGTA has devoted his entire channel to Bully. His channel has amassed nearly 24,000 loyal Bully subscribers. Think about that. Bully is over a decade old and not only is still popular enough to have fans regularly check up on any news or Bully related content. This same channel even has its own website, bullymods.net. Now that is devotion. The most impressive thing about SWEGTA’s channel is that he managed to get the voice of Jimmy Hopkins himself, Gerry Rosenthal, to appear on several occasions.
And it’s not just fans who have spoken out in favor of a new Bully game. Popular Youtube channels like Watch Mojo and others have included Bully on their lists for games that should have a sequel. Take notes Rockstar, your game is getting some pretty good recognition.
With Bully’s popularity, why isn’t Rockstar jumping on the opportunity to make a game while demand is high? If this were a movie production there would have been five sequels and three spin-offs already with Jason Statham playing Jimmy. So, what is it that is keeping Bully 2 from being made?
Is the demand from fans alone really enough to coerce Rockstar to get started on the long awaited sequel? Not quite.
Let’s not forget Rockstar is the same company that made Grand Theft Auto 5, the fourth highest growing game of all time. With an estimated 75 million copies sold world wide. Then there’s Rockstar’s other famous franchise, Red Dead Redemption, which sold 15 million copies and was considered the best game of 2010. The sequel was just announced to be released later this year. Even other GTA games have sold copies in the millions and tens of millions. Compare that to Bully’s 1.5 million total copies sold and it’s easy to see why Rockstar would be interested in pursuing more lucrative projects.
To be fair, GTA is Rockstar’s most iconic franchise. It propelled Rockstar to the forefront the industry and earned it a reputation as one of the best game developers in the world. Obviously, a sequel to one of the most famous game series of all time would sell well. Red Dead Redemption also had the advantage of being released later with access to better technology for an open world game. It also didn’t have the same level of controversy surrounding it like Bully did.
Bully is one of those rare games that only got better with age. It continues to have support from both fans and a few of the most popular channels on the internet. One would think that would be incentive enough for Rockstar to begin production. So, why hasn’t Rockstar started development on a sequel? There’s no doubt it will sell. But will it sell enough for Rockstar?
To compare, let’s look at another Rockstar property, Red Dead Redemption. When it was announced that Rockstar was going to release the sequel to their 2010 masterpiece, the internet went in an uproar. No surprise there. Red Dead Redemption won several best game of the year awards along with numerous others. Bully, on the other hand, didn’t have the same success as other Rockstar titles.
This shouldn’t necessarily eliminate the potential for a Bully 2. Selling 1.5 million copies is a respectable feat for any game, especially considering the adversity it had to face upon release. If not for the controversy surrounding the game, it very well could have had such more success.
The controversy that surrounded Bully was the main factor that impacted distribution the game in terms of sales. Institutions like Bullying Online and Peaceaholics led a crusade against the game before it was even released to the public claiming that it glorified and normalized bullying. Bullying Online went so far as to advocate for banning the release of the game all together.
The controversy doesn’t stop there. Jack Thompson attempted to have the game banned in Florida. Fortunately, the judge overseeing the case ruled in Rockstar’s favor. In the United Kingdom, Labour MP Keith Vaz wanted ban the game or rated 18 before its release. A huge blow for a game whose target audience was teenagers. And Bully was banned all together in Brazil until 2016. After so much controversy Bully made Yahoo Games top ten most controversial games of all time.
It didn’t help that Rockstar already found itself the center of another major controversy prior to Bully’s release. The segment, Hot Chocolate from GTA: San Andreas had stirred much negative attention towards the company’s already shaky reputation for making violent and sexual games.
Yet despite all the controversy Bully still received acclaim from players and critics alike. Bully even received IGN’s award for best PlayStation2 Action Game of year, and was a finalist for GameSpot’s 2006 Game of the Year award. Bully was also included in the 2010 release of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
It’s a shame Bully didn’t get the chance it deserved. Fortunately, the gaming industry has grown exponentially since Bully’s original release. Opponents such as Jack Thompson have faded into memory, and much of the controversy surrounding video games has almost dissipated.
Regardless of adversity Rockstar has flourished over the years. They have prospered with success after success. With a lack of controversy coupled with Rockstar’s reputation and Bully’s popularity, it is undoubtedly certain that the long awaited sequel can get the chance its predecessor never had.
So Much Potential:
With the advancement of technology in the gaming, Rockstar is poised to make another huge surge in the gaming world like they did with GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption. Bullworth is already a world full of adventure, imaginative weapons, a carnival, go-kart racing, bike racing, Greasers and one of the best fighting dynamics in gaming. The world of Bullworth is poised to stand along other great Rockstar worlds like Liberty City, the American west and Los Santos.
Bully is one of those few, precious games that you can play over and over and over again. Many fans salivate at the chance to continue the journey, even though each passing year makes it appear less likely. One thing is for certain. It’s time for Rockstar to take their fans back to school!
A multi-ethnic, racially confused hermaphrodite commonly referred to by his online alias "A Bad Password" - real name Kevin - slightly selfishly and completely uncreatively named the gaming news and related content website ABadPassword.com after himself.