Ever since the original Bully by Rockstar Games was released way back in 2006, fans have been craving for a return back to Bullworth Academy. For many years, this seemed like merely a pipe-dream as Rockstar had reportedly canceled their development of a sequel back in the early 2010s. That is until this year at least, when the Bully trademark had been renewed, giving fans another glimmer of hope.
This hope was further expanded when rumours surfaced about a potential Bully 2 reveal at the 2021 Game Awards. This didn’t in fact happen, but the rumours themselves are enough to cause some speculation about potential development in Bully 2.
If this is in fact true and there are currently plans or some development for a sequel, Rockstar has a lot of potential to make one of the best games of the decade so far. However, a long time gap comes with a lot of anticipation and expectation, so it’s crucial that Rockstar takes on board a lot of what made the first game unique, in addition to new features which could make the game even better than the original.
So, on that note, here are 5 features we need from Bully 2.
1. IMPROVED FIGHTING MECHANICS
One of the things that separates Bully from other Rockstar titles like GTA and Red Dead Redemption is its different style of fighting. Obviously with the first game being centred around high school, firing guns and throwing grenades wouldn’t have exactly been the most realistic choice of combat. Instead, the game primarily focused on fist fighting and using an arsenal of prank tools like a slingshot or stink bombs.
It would be great to see this expanded upon with today’s technology and game engines. Red Dead Redemption 2 already proved to us that Rockstar can provide good hand-to-hand combat mechanics in their games, so having this in Bully 2 would really provide new depth to be explored for a lot of the other mechanics like a potential gym or wrestling class.
On top of this, a health/physique management mechanic could be implemented to help complement combat like in GTA: San Andreas, in which building muscle would improve your strength and health. Perhaps there could also be different martial arts classes that the character can specialise in to change their fighting style.
Likewise, maybe they could integrate some sort of smartphone system to use as a tool for attacking NPC’s from the digital world. There are countless DIY gadgets and items that could be added and used more fluidly with a modern game engine. Having more detailed ragdoll physics to combat would also be a great addition, as the original Bully leaned more on the side of early GTA titles like San Andreas. Testing ragdoll physics in combat is always a pleasant time consumer for modern Rockstar games, so it would be great to pull off some hilarious fight encounters with weapons such as the slingshot.
2. A GREAT SOUNDTRACK
When it comes to underrated gaming soundtracks, Rockstar has continuously shown us that they reign supreme over other games. Whether it’s licensed music or their own creation, they always just seem to get it right with every new entry.
Every time I think of Bully, the first thing that immediately jumps into my head is the iconic walking music that plays consistently throughout the entire game. It just never gets old. The other themes such as the chase music for prefects or adult authorities, or the nighttime sneak music also stand out in my mind and pump me with adrenaline whenever I hear it.
I do think it would be interesting, however, if Rockstar added licensed music to the game, like in GTA. There are just so many obvious songs that I can think of which would work perfectly for a sequel. Garage Rock and Punk Artists like Green Day, Sum 41, or Paramore are just a few examples of bands that could blend perfectly with this type of game. Maybe “Schools out” by Alice Cooper could be played during a summer break.
Games like GTA: Vice City or GTA: San Andreas really utilised their iconic licensed soundtracks to further fill out the atmosphere that the games worked to create, and did so to good success. I have no doubt that using licensed music that can cover the different genres of music to fit varying teenage personalities, for example, punk, emo, pop, rap etc, would work tremendously for a sequel.
3. MORE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
I know what you’re thinking: why on earth would you want more educational activities in a video game? Well, to be honest, a lot of what made the first game so enjoyable to a lot of fans, including myself, was that Rockstar managed to integrate the actual school side of the game really well into the formula.
Completing school activities like Wrestling Class provided Jimmy with new fighting moves to be used outside of just that class. Likewise, completing English classes unlocked abilities such as being able to apologise to police officers and prefects for minor offenses.
It’s not even like they were hard in the original game; Music and Chemistry were literally just rhythm action mini-games, and English just required you to unjumble letters to make as many words as you can. This was a small price to pay for the great rewards you earned through completion. In fact, the only inconvenience you’d find with these tasks is time management, as because time wouldn’t stop for anything, you could actually be penalised for not attending lessons during a main mission.
There were so many rewards from these school lessons which acted as an incentive to show up to them, in addition to not facing the consequences of detention.
4. A BIGGER OPEN WORLD
When I played Bully for the first time years ago as a child, one of the more mind-blowing memories for me was when the school gates opened upon completing Chapter 1 and revealed the much larger in comparison town map to be explored, similar to Rockstar’s other restricted area features in other games.
At the time, it felt great to go out and explore more of what the game had to offer in terms of geography scale. However, it’s safe to say that when compared to video game titles now, the map size is quite small. Therefore, it would be great if Rockstar doubled down on the map size and contents within it.
Perhaps there could be multiple school campuses within the story to be explored across different segments of a large city map. It wouldn’t make sense to have a driving mechanic in the sense that running over and killing civilians would break the feel of the game, however, this could open up more opportunities for public transport features to be enhanced.
Likewise, a bigger map could mean there are more jobs/activities to engage in such as restaurant staff, retail assistant work, swimming etc. Although, I do think it is very important that Bully 2 still has lots of interior locations to be explored around the school campus area, as that really made the map in the original game feel bigger than it actually was.
5. ANOTHER GREAT STORY
The Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption franchises are home to some of the most engaging, thrilling, and shocking pieces of storytelling in the gaming industry to date. Rockstars’ most recent new title, Red Dead Redemption 2, is evidence that these narrative gems aren’t going away anytime soon.
The original Bully included the theme of corruption and loyalty that is continuously seen throughout other Rockstar games. On the other hand, there were some slight twists on the formula which felt right for the presentation it was trying to achieve. For starters, the story is split up into 6 different chapters covering different seasons of the year in order to change up the pace, which is different to GTA which feels like one massive ride with less noticeable breaks.
This is a great formula that worked, and it would be amazing to see this recreated for Bully 2. It’s pretty obvious that it wouldn’t make sense to continue on the story from the first game, as the main character would be substantially older and outside of education. Instead, having a new story with new characters set in present-day, or maybe even the past could give the chance for the next Arthur Morgan.
Perhaps the story could be set within a new dysfunctional high school, or maybe even college with multiple different campuses that are scattered across a map, with districts each belonging to a specific faction. Recent Rockstar games have definitely become more cinematic in their storytelling, so it would be nice to see that in a Bully sequel whilst also keeping the charm and comedy of the original.
What do you think? Do you agree with this list? Let me know in the comments!