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Report details Rockstar's axed plans for Bully 2

New England studio suffered with crunch.

Fresh details have come to light of the once-planned sequel to Bully, Rockstar's brilliant schoolyard sim, as part of a new Game Informer report.

Bully 2 would have featured a vastly-expanded playable world three times the size of the original game, where every building could have been entered (legally or via forced entry).

Interactions with NPCs would have been influenced by a game-wide morality system, similar to that found in Red Dead Redemption. A new climbing system was also planned, with the ability to scale trees.

The original Bully.

Around "six to eight hours" of the game were playable, one former employee said, before the project was canned around 2010.

The original Bully was the work of Rockstar Vancouver, but it was the Massachusetts-based Rockstar New England which was tasked with developing a sequel, following its work on Bully's remastered Scholarship Edition.

Staff at Rockstar New England, formerly Mad Doc Software, were said to be excited to be acquired by Rockstar and work on a Bully sequel planned to stand alongside other Rockstar greats such as Grand Theft Auto 4.

But familiar claims of an intense crunch culture - of working long hours and weekends - soon set in after exposure to Rockstar's internal working practices.

"This doesn't even get into the off-work hours stuff where it was just - it was like a hardworking frat house," another former developer said. "There is an age and a person that is really drawn to that. Rockstar, in my opinion, is well aware of this."

Between 50-70 people were reportedly once working on Bully 2, but this number dwindled as Rockstar management later pulled staff off of the project to assist with other in-development games such as Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption.

A decade later, there's no sign Bully 2 will be returned to anytime soon. Rockstar is currently still raking in money from Grand Theft Auto Online, and fighting fires after the disasturous launch of its GTA Trilogy remaster.

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Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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