The Bizarre Case of Bully 2

Everyone wants another bully game. At least, everyone that has played it. The original’s wit, charm, sass you might
even say, spoke to players in a completely novel way. In fact, most of the things that the original
Bully did were very different than what was considered “the norm” back in 2006. For instance, the game is set in a boarding
school with a vast assortment of troubled kids cast in the starring roles. The kids are rude, mean, and exactly what
you would expect if you attended an American middle school in the mid-2000’s. THE POINT is that these types of games are
rare. Games that come along and tell irreverent
stories in a style that’s unique and refreshing. That’s more what people loved about Bully,
the fact that it FELT different. But despite the cult following that it’s
garnered over the last few years, Rockstar has been very tightlipped about a potential
sequel. And even some large gaming publications have
come out against a sequel, such as this article by TheGamer, wherein they say: “As certain principles change and the way
we all view the world evolves, it will be interesting to see how Rockstar handles this
new way of thought. These days you have to be real careful, not
only in what you say but how you say it, as well. Rockstar has had a knack for saying whatever,
whenever. That doesn’t fly anymore. Especially for both Bully and future GTA titles,
Rockstar will have to adapt to these new worldviews, or else their games may miss their audience
or get construed by the public.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I hate
that this is sort of true. Bully would have a real hard time in the media
releasing in 2019 because of our “evolved” social dogma. A game that rewards the player for completing
quests by having his crush give him kisses or having an adolescent boy dress up as a
Schutzstaffel officer is not going to go over well with a lot of the main-stream media nor
the hyper-progressive wing of gaming journalism. And a sequel that seeks to hold true to its
roots and the subject matter could find itself in the same hot water, drowning in controversy… But maybe this is the secret sauce that will
make Bully 2 a reality after all. Maybe this whole debate over the game’s
controversy, could be its greatest asset? Well, buckle in because we’re about to put
our Marketing hats on and speculate like hell. You see, Rockstar has never been one to shy
away from controversy. That was kind of the point of the original
Bully and of most of the Grand Theft Auto titles. They’ve always been accused of “normalizing
negative behavior” in their games; it’s nothing new. And at the end of the day, the only question
with regards to controversy is whether or not it will apply to the customer in question. I mean, imagine something like the controversy
that surrounded James Charles in summer 2019. I don’t know about you, but I had never
heard of him, didn’t watch any of his content, nor did I give a crap about his makeup videos. Because of this, when the “scandal” (if
you can even call it that) came out between him and Tati, all it did was raise his public
presence and increase his brand’s awareness beyond that of his fairly niche, albeit gigantic,
audience. The overwhelming majority of people watching
and reading the news updates on the feud were people who had never heard of him before. Sure, there was some incidental damage to
like ratios, and an initial sub exodus, but almost all of those sub losses were recovered
within two weeks and it seems to have only rocketed him to new heights of popularity. Now I am in no way recommending that you seek
out a scandal like this, but the point is to say that seemingly negative press coverage
can often be used to your advantage, specifically if the news coverage is transparently ridiculous,
like in the case of the Pewdiepie N-A-Z-I article from the Wall Street Journal. In the immediate aftermath, it sucks, but
the truth tends to win out and cooler heads prevail. This, is where Bully 2 comes into the picture. The debate here isn’t whether or not it
would be a financially lucrative move to release a sequel to this beloved franchise. I think that answer is pretty transparently
evident. Rather, the question is whether or not Rockstar
would hold true to the Original’s tone and tenor. Bully didn’t pull any punches… I guess that’s a pun… Nor did it try to water down middleschool
life in an elitist school. They put out the game they wanted to make
and they rolled with the punches as they came. And this is another thing that bothers me
about how a lot of YouTubers are handling this conversation: Bully wasn’t immune to
criticism because it was released in the ancient past of 2006. Many main-stream media outlets criticized
it at the time. These articles can be hard to find considering
that they’re mostly over 13 years old, but look at this one I found from the Telegraph
in 2008 when the game was being released to the UK: A violent new video game which
is set in a school and encourages players to act out assaults on pupils and teachers
has been condemned by anti-bullying campaigners and teaching unions. The game, called Bully, features a shaven-headed
pupil who torments fellow students and teachers at his school. The National Union of Teachers called for
a wide ban on the game. Steve Sinnott, the general secretary, said:
“We’re deeply concerned that all the work in cutting out bullying and cyber bullying
in school does not seem to have made any impact on the consciences of the makers of this game. The dialogue about the pernicious effects
of bullying appears to have been ignored. It is an encouragement to violence and intimidation,
and those things have a major impact on schools.” See? They were saying the exact same *MEOW* back
then as they are now. It’s clear, controversy doesn’t hurt game
sales or performance, because gamers don’t give a crap. You can release a truly offensive, grotesque,
borderline psychotic game, and gamers will back your right to release it. The ultimate example would be a little game
that I love dearly and even did a critique of: South Park: The Stick of Truth. I don’t want to go into too much detail
as to what’s in this game, but let’s just say it get pretty… Startling. Regardless, it’s in this sense that gamers
are very libertarian, we simply don’t want a very easily offended and incredibly vocal
minority to dictate what games can and can’t be released and played. And this is all why the case of Bully 2 is
so bizarre. It would sell great, it would be cherished
by the gamers who would play it as long as it hold’s to its foundational work, and
the only people it would upset, are the people that gamer’s tend to relish in upsetting. And yet, there is still concern and worry
as to whether or not the game could/should be made in 2019. It’s stupid. There is no question here. Yes, it should be and likely is already in
development. Just look at some of the recent leaks that
have popped up over on the Bully subreddit. It may be 2019, but we’re not past commercial
liberty, free speech, and the right of consumers to buy the games they want to buy (at least
not yet). Furthermore, it’s not like Bully 2 would
be a game set in Aushwitz, it would likely be a game where you are playing a highschool
student in a boarding school with students who treat you and everyone else badly, you
know, like it is in real life. Banning or preventing a game pointing out
how screwed up modern schools are wouldn’t do anything to help improve the schools in
question, if anything you’d just be removing one more escape for lonely and troubled kids
stuck in a bad situation. Bully 2 needs to be made, and if you’re
one of the people saying that it shouldn’t be made, fine, but maybe you should look in
the mirror and see who the real bully is.