Though college is a possibility, it won't just be about the booze.
A couple of weeks ago, a casting call emerged on the Rockstar Studios website that heavily suggested that Bully 2 is in the works. And although Grand Theft Auto remains the developer’s lauded franchise, I’ve more happy memories of teasing preppies and shooting potato cannons in Bully’s glorious teen-movie parody than I have of any other Rockstar game.
In June last year, rumours speculated that Bully 2 would follow Red Dead Redemption 2 as Rockstar’s next game, and if such is the case there might not be too long to wait until we get to embark on the follow-up to Rockstar’s endlessly fun exercise in juvenile delinquency.
Interestingly, one of the job postings mentioned that some of the cast included “College Professors,” suggesting the sequel could feature a university setting. While Bully 2 could be an entirely new story, there's a chance it could follow original protagonist, Jimmy Hopkins, through his college years.
The social and educational possibilities that accompany college life present Bully 2 with a number of interesting opportunities to build on its predecessor. Here are just a few inclusions that could take the coming-of-age follow-up to the next level.
Create your own Bully
Though many would prefer to resume Jimmy's wayward tendencies in Bully 2, some fans have expressed that they'd prefer to see an entirely new story. If the latter does happen, character creations systems are now developed enough to provide players with a decent platform for creating their own troublemaker. This could also open up the choice to play as a female bully, which yields further potential for more specific objectives, such as starting your own sorority. Not only that, but the gender dynamic could be narratively more interesting; what would it be like to win against a chauvinistic all-male soccer team in a beer-pong minigame, for example?
Frats n' Sororities
From National Lampoon’s Animal House to Monsters Inc. University, hazing is a well-recognized tradition in the world of the onscreen college. In onscreen colleges at least, hazing is either endured to get on the university sports team, or as an initiation to live it up with like-minded schoolmates in a fraternity or sorority.
While the gendered dorms in the first Bully often carried an atmosphere of bro and sisterhood, being able to use frats and sororities to gain exclusive advantages and protection could be an effective way of making the original’s reputation meter more complex and meaningful, and extend the opportunity to generate feuds between rival fraternities and your own group of bros.
It’d also be satisfying to be able to create your own fraternity (or, if character selection/creation is employed, sorority) as you climb the college ladder of influence – though there’d need to be parameters of some kind in place. Would it involve a Skyrim-like setup, in which you’d use your hard-earned cash to buy a three-storey frat house to house your backup and mementoes?
Minigames and side-quests – will we ever learn the fate of The Hobo?
Contrary to many Bully players, I wasn’t a fan of most of the minigames in the original game. Errands became repetitive, escort quests were dull, and the only class I really liked was Chemistry. And I’m fairly sure that was only because I was playing it with a Wiimote I still found inescapably novel.
Bully 2 could address some of that repetition with the likelihood that it’ll be more expansive than its PS2 predecessor. College freshman activities could include finding a college job or challenging your schoolmates to bleary-eyed drinking contests, which – especially if Rockstar decides to include dialogue options – could end up triggering some thrilling rivalry side-quests.
Elsewhere, I’m dying to know what became of the hardened Hobo who taught me boxing skills before being ostensibly abducted by aliens at the end of the first game. If there was an optional side-quest investigating that, I’d be in before you could say Transistor.
Technological advancement could mean a bigger map with more variety
Given just how prevalent the phrase ‘open-world exploration’ is in the games industry since Bully released on the PlayStation 2, it’s almost certain that Bully 2 would seek to push the limits of its geographically-detailed predecessor.
As this is likely to be a college setting, the first thing that comes to mind in terms of the game’s map is the possible inclusion of bars. Of course, the legal drinking age in America is 21, but forging signatures, assembling fake ID’s and sneaking into underground nightclubs does seem the sort of thing Jimmy Hopkins would’ve been interested in after getting his high school diploma.
Elsewhere, the graphical potential of current-gen consoles and the PC now makes multiple provinces a reasonable possibility. Maybe Bully 2 would allow you to road trip across states or take a formative camping trip in the mountains, but on a more cosmetic level, the extra room would almost certainly give you access to a wider variety of outfitters, garages and residences.
Societies – a neat way to implement online multiplayer?
If Bully’s high school was known for its cliques, its college could well be defined by its societies. More interestingly, college societies tend to be geared more toward niche interests than perceived status on the unspoken cool-scale. In Bully 2, you could sabotage visiting colleges as part of the rowing or lacrosse teams, or slip sawdust into the teas of the rival A’Capella group. If it wanted to get meta with things, the game could even send you sprawling into a whimsical RPG pastiche through joining a Dungeons and Dragons society.
Since many sports teams and societies have a time-honoured initiation tradition, joining any one of them could involve its own round of bizarre, esoteric, or just downright goofy hazing quests.
Societies could be Bully 2’s way of implementing Guild or Raid-style missions if it were to include online multiplayer. It’s one thing to delight in the rules of Rounders or Laser Quest with a few charming NPCs, but quite another to use them alongside your offline buddies in what could be a very replayable PvP setup.
Or, y’know. Ultimate Frisbee.
I distinctly remember spending a good hour in Bully blitzing around school trying to beat my brother’s high score for how many fellow students could be smooched in a minute and a half. Though a funny (if gross) depiction of teen romance, having the option to develop more intimate relationships with one (or even a few) individual characters could raise the stakes when deciding which questlines to accept.
Your frat and class activities could become interconnected with keeping your other half (or, as the first Bully permitted, halves) interested, and maybe you’d need to think about whether or not your actions might close doors between your one and only. As family and funding often becomes more important during college, you could even find yourself striving to win over their parents in order to stay afloat at school.
Of course, there’s much more that can be done with a college-set Bully sequel, and considering the expanse of Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s a fair bet that Bully 2will be a technical improvement upon the beloved original. There’s no release date as yet (technically, the game itself hasn’t been confirmed), but we’ll see some announcements around E3 time, even though the developer will likely not be attending the event