Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it certainly does in a sprawling playground of crime where the most frivolous can get ahead by opening their wallets. With the popularity of GTA Online (and its many different tiers of Shark Cards), many of us were resigned to not seeing a new game from Rockstar for years and years, or a sequel to a beloved franchise, such as Bully 2 or that weird table tennis thing.
The five-year gap between new releases is a huge one for a AAA studio, but with the microtransactions pulling serious money for the developer and its publisher, it was easy to understand, if supremely disheartening. But then 2017 rolled around and the reveal of Red Dead Redemption 2 to prove that Rockstar weren’t completely complacent.
With the Wild West open for business once again, it appears as if Rockstar is open to making new games again, which has led to calls for some of its other properties to be given a fresh lease of life. Bully 2 could very will be at the top of many wishlists with concept art showing that it isn’t something the studio have forgotten about completely.
If, and it’s a big if, Rockstar decide to make Bully 2, here are just a few of the things we’d like to see.
1. Deeper relationships
I recently replayed Bully because it was the Christmas break and I will be damned if I play any of the hundred modern games I have in my library that are turning to dust. It stood the test of time and did a lot of things well, though the way it approaches romance and friendships was shallow – understandable considering its age.
For a sequel, Jimmy (or whichever miscreant we get to play as) should be able to cultivate deeper relationships with his peers. Rather than simply giving a girl one box of chocolates and suddenly getting a love interest, it should be a longer process that needs you to take them out on dates and chat with them often to maintain a connection.
Elsewhere, Jimmy could be able to form strong friendships with his classmates that can be developed outside of the classroom. Maybe you can go watch a movie with them or grab a milkshake. Heck, maybe there might even be the option to go bowling. These friends could back Jimmy up in fights and get him stuff when he needs it, such as a bowling bal–listen, I miss Roman so much.
2. Better cliques that have a lasting impact on the game world
In the original Bully, I always sided with the geeks. Not because they are the downtrodden and needed some protection, but because, really, I am one. Rather than simply becoming friends with all cliques, however, you should be able to “specialise” in just one and then build up their status to help you rule the roost.
For instance, if you should align with the geeks, you would able to pass all your tests with ease thanks to crib sheets and a heavy helping of cheating. Elsewhere, choosing the jocks could help you out physically and make you even handier in a fight. Perhaps joining with the preps could also give you instant privilege and mean that you don’t have to even try to succeed because your future is already determined, who knows.
An interesting quirk to bring to the table for Bully 2 could be that the dominant clique moulds the school in their image. If the geeks come out on top, Bullworth (or its sequel counterpart) will be a tranquil place of learning, but if the jocks are the alphas on campus, expect plenty of discontent and a heavy emphasis from the board on sport over academia. Or, Jimmy could just try this next idea out instead.
3. Jimmy’s own clique
If Jimmy were to have his own clique (The Jimmies? The Hoppers?) in Bully 2 that he could recruit for and build from the ground up, this might just bring back the gang mechanics that we haven’t really seen in a Rockstar game since San Andreas.
Jimmy would be able to cherry-pick the members of his group with certain people giving buffs to his stats: geeks give Jimmy more intellect, jocks help his agility, and so on. The clique could then wage war to take over certain areas of campus, such as the playground or the toilets, which Jimmy could then use to set up shop and sell contraband from, such as cigarettes and alcohol.
If he is the leader of the dominant clique in Bully 2, Jimmy could face off all challengers, which may enrich the endgame – kind of like Shadow Wars, but not terrible. If ratings boards and parents regularly have tantrums over GTA and its bloody mayhem, you have to wonder how they will react to letting players make their own gags filled with children, though.
4. Character creation
As much as it might irk some to leave Jimmy Hopkins, perhaps the best thing for Bully 2 might be for it leave Jimmy and Bullworth behind altogether. A lot of my suggestions are straying towards RPG territory more than anything else, but if I have the ability to create a six foot Adonis who is the exact opposite of myself when I was in school, I am going to take it.
Just imagine being able to walk around school corridors and digitally undoing your most unhip years by being everybody’s favourite pupil. It’s certainly a lot more cathartic than therapy and could lead to some really interesting gameplay quirks.
Seeing as how every studio and publisher is obsessed with multiplayer these days, it may also make sense to make your own character for Bully 2’s online counterpart. A battle royale full of Jimmy Hopkins’ is going to be too much bad attitude for one game to handle.
5. More mature handling of teenage life
This might run counter to my four previous ideas, but I think you could balance all of those and a more in-depth look at teenage life at the same time in Bully 2. Why couldn’t Jimmy be running his Bugsy Malone empire and also get “the talk” from his school nurses?
Being a teenager is difficult and if Rockstar has one big demographic, it’s teenagers. Rather than making crass jokes all the time, maybe Rockstar could take the time to try and help kids in their own little way by teaching them that are fine as they are, rather than walking stereotypes.
It would be pretty brave of Rockstar to do it, but there could be more LGBTQ members of the school who you could talk to, as well as the game approaching themes such as depression. We all loved the caricature of being a schoolkid that the original Bully was, but just like all kids, it might be time for the series to grow up a little if a sequel ever gets made.
3 More Quick Bully 2 Things We’d Like To See
Modern technology Pretty straightforward this one. Give the protagonist a smartphone that will help them keep in touch with their classmates and routine.
A bigger world It doesn’t need to be the size of Los Santos. If Rockstar can take the content-packed world of Bully and enlarge it while adding some trimmings, it could work wonders. Career aspirations Perhaps at the start of the game you could be sat down by a counsellor and asked about your future plans. After choosing from a career, it’s up to you to make sure you strive towards that job by completing all your classes, homework, and generally being a good student.