Rockstar prioritises the creation of Grand Theft Auto 6, but this is delaying the release of sequels to its other intellectual properties, such as Bully.
Rockstar has decided to focus on developing Grand Theft Auto 6 above all else. Although fans are looking forward to the next film in the series, their excitement has come at a price, as other planned sequels, such as Bully 2, have been scrapped.
By looking at the games that Rockstar Games has released, it’s clear that the company has focused on just two major series: Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption 3 release.
When comparing these two series, it is clear that Rockstar has prioritised Grand Theft Auto. Red Dead Redemption 2 was released in 2018, and it has gotten rave reviews for its superb storytelling and detailed Western open environment. Red Dead Online, an online component developed by Rockstar, was released as a Western analogue to GTA Online.
Even still, loyal players claim that Rockstar didn’t give Red Dead Online a fair shake by releasing so few patches and ultimately shelving the game in 2022.
Rockstar Released A Greater Variety Of Games Before GTA 5
It seems that every game in Rockstar’s library is of very excellent quality. Until 2013, they released games in franchises like Bully, Grand Theft Auto, Table Tennis, Manhunt, L.A. Noire, Red Dead, Midnight Club, and Max Payne.
However, since 2013, Rockstar has only released GTA and Red Dead titles and has either discontinued or not revisited its other acclaimed IPs, resulting in a far less diverse and ultimately less engaging portfolio of games.
Rockstar has stated that it will be devoting all of its resources to developing GTA 6, and as the game is still many years away from release, this doesn’t appear likely to alter any time soon. It isn’t good because the audiences for the other IPs would have loved to see more adventures in those settings and with those characters.
One such game is Bully, developed by Rockstar and based on the true story of a young man named Jimmy Hopkins who attended Bullworth Academy and attempted to make his way to the top of the social food chain by befriending the leaders of each of the school’s various cliques.
Bully’s gameplay is similar to that of classic Grand Theft Auto games, but instead of weapons and explosives, he uses slingshots and stinks bombs. Bully 2 was confirmed to be cancelled by former Rockstar devs, who also revealed some of the game’s features, such as character systems that would have expanded on the social rivalry of the original game and a hopefully more expansive scope to compete with GTA.
Five former employees of Rockstar New England have revealed new details on the development of the cancelled Bully 2 and share some exciting details on what could have been. https://t.co/85dRC8Iwbq pic.twitter.com/6gDTWrq3On
— IGN (@IGN) January 2, 2022
Rockstar’s Series Other Than GTA Can Benefit From New Technology
Rockstar could take full advantage of the advances in technology across its numerous IPs, two console generations in the making since the PS3 and Xbox 360 era when the studio’s portfolio diversification appeared to end.
What we know about Bully 2’s character systems suggests that, with the help of modern development techniques, the game could have provided significantly more engaging interactions with NPCs powered by artificial intelligence.
Considering how integral the dynamics of the many cliques were to the Bully plot and gameplay, this would have been an obvious next step.
Rockstar’s 2011 detective game, L.A. Noire, is another example of a sequel that may have benefited from the available development tools. To help players evaluate whether or not a character was telling the truth during questioning, L.A. Noire made extensive use of facial motion capture.
Photorealistic scans, complete performance, and motion capture are now ubiquitous, notably in GTA 6, making a sequel possible in this era of gaming. These scans look pretty old by today’s standards, demonstrating how far game development has come in just over a decade.
The year 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of Grand Theft Auto 5. In that time, we’ve seen multiple re-releases of the game and others in the series, with most of Rockstar’s efforts seemingly expanding the immensely successful GTA Online with new missions and features.
From a financial viewpoint, it’s not surprising that Rockstar would prioritise its main moneymaker, Grand Theft Auto, over other projects, like Bully, given the series’ commercial success. Nonetheless, it is incredibly disheartening that its portfolio is devoid of any natural diversity.
Final Lines: Former Rockstar employees have stated that a sequel, Bully 2, has been cancelled and have divulged some of the game’s aspects, including character systems that expanded upon the previous game’s social rivalry and a much more ambitious scope for the sequel, ideally to rival GTA.