While almost everyone is losing their mind over the tease Rockstar released for what appears to be Red Dead Redemption 2, a few gamers spent the day honoring one of their masterpieces that so rarely enjoys the spotlight: Bully.
Released in 2006 to highly positive reviews from critics, this unusual take on an open-world game resonated with millions of fans. Its quirky characters, bizarre narrative, innovative gameplay and tendency towards stirring up controversy made Bully a natural Rockstar video game, and now, ten years down the road, we're here to pay our respects with some awesome facts!
Remembering Rockstar's Masterful Bully 10 Years Down The Road
1. Its Music Has Won Awards
One of the aspects of Bully that strikes everyone almost immediately is its soundtrack. Reminiscent of John Williams' exceptional score for the Harry Potter franchise—but far more playful—Shawn Lee perfectly encapsulated the mood for the game from its title screen. It went on to win him several gaming awards and is often considered the greatest original soundtrack in Rockstar's history. Take a listen:
2. It's One Of The Only Open World Games With Seasons
While games like Red Dead Redemption have featured areas within their open worlds with various forms of weather, it's rare to see a title that changes over time. GTA V had an update that brought Winter to Los Santos along with tons of snow, but this wasn't a feature of the base game. Bully however, along with a limited amount of games (like Shenmue), incorporates the seasons from the get go.
You spend a whole year at Bullworth Academy so the game reflects that. The environments completely change based on the weather, and some of the changed weather conditions introduced new mechanics along with them! We'd love to see more games follow suit.
3. You Could Kiss Other Boys In The Game (And It Caused Quite A Stir)
Though Rockstar games are used to their fare share of controversy, even before their video games hit shelves, Bully received a great deal of negative attention. But one of the more surprising controversies centered around the fact that Jimmy Hopkins could court and make out with a few of his male counterparts. People weren't happy.
One such individual was a lawyer by the name of Jack Thompson, who ultimately failed in having the game banned in his State of Florida. Thompson was furious over the decision to release the game, and compared its arrival on store shelves to the Iran nuclear crisis. Relax, Jack. In one of his many letters to ESRB president Patricia Vance—who headed the board that ultimately gave the game a 'T for Teen' rating—he said the following:
"Dear Ms. Vance,
We just found gay sexual content in Bully, as Jimmy Hopkins makes out with another male student.
Good luck with your 'Teen' rating now, Patty."
Seems like a swell dude.
4. Someone Rendered The Game's Environments In Unreal Engine 4
Ever wondered what a HD remake of Bully would look like were it to arrive on PS4? Something like this, we imagine.
Does it seem likely that we'll ever get another Bully? The game's director has frequently expressed an interest in the idea, but we've yet to hear even a whisper pertaining to its existence. Are you one of the people harping on about a sequel?!
5. The Game Was Banned In Brazil
The decision to ban Bully from Brazil was taken by judge Flávio Mendes Rabelo from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The prosecutor who brought the issue to court had a rather bizarre reason for doing so:
It "takes place inside a school [and] that is not acceptable." The judge who heard this puzzling objection ruled that all sales of the game were to be suspended in the region. Makes sense... wait. - Movie Pilot on prosecutor Alcindo Basto's comments
The prosecutor claimed that the setting of the game would be potentially harmful for children and adults and based his theory on "psychological findings by the state psychology society." Thus the game was banned, and any retailer caught selling the title would face a daily fine of R$1,000.00. That's a lot of dinheiro.
6. Bully Exists In The Grand Theft Auto Universe
There are many things you can watch on the TV in good old Grand Theft Auto IV. But one of the most memorable episodes of 'I'm Rich' (I'm kidding, none of them are memorable) Bully's Bullworth Academy is shown during the reality TV show. Could we see a game take advantage of this crossover in the future?
Imagine if Rockstar somehow tied Bully 2 into Grand Theft Auto 6! You could start out the game making your way through school and then track your character's life all the way to adulthood with childhood friends by your side. It'll probably never happen, but I'd play it!