Speaking to Game Informer, five former employees at Rockstar’s New England studio explained how they worked on ideas for the sequel in the late 2000s. While the game never came to fruition, some ideas were implemented in other Rockstar games.
In the interview, one developer noted that “we really wanted to make sure that people remembered what you did, so if you pulled a prank on your neighbour, they’d remember it”. The idea was that your actions had more meaning in the long term. That was something that was later seen in Red Dead Redemption 2 via the honour system.
“The way that you interact with other characters in the world, more than just with your gun or with your fist, they have some sense of memory – a lot of that stuff [originated in Bully 2],” explained a developer at Rockstar New England.
The game was also meant to be “bigger and deeper” than its predecessor with roughly 50-70 people working on it. The planned scope was for it to range “from the size of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City‘s open world to ‘three times’ the size of the original Bully‘s school map”.
“From what I remember reading [in] some of the design docs and my conversations with people is that you could build relationships with characters in the world,” noted one developer.
Other features also included a new glass fragmentation system at the time which would later be seen in Max Payne 3. It would also be possible to mow the grass and see it actually be lower. “It sounds so silly, but it was something that we were all excited about because [of] the technology behind it,” pointed out one of the team.
Elsewhere, it was hoped that the game would offer an in-depth climbing mechanism too. However, the team “never got far enough into development” to “nail it down”.
At the time, the game was “at least six to eight hours playable” according to Marc Anthony Rodriguez, a former game analyst for Rockstar’s New York City headquarters and one of the project leads on Bully: Scholarship Edition. According to the interview, it would need two to three or more years before being ready to be shipped. That has not happened with Rockstar pulling people off the project over the years.
For now, it remains an enticing dream for fans of the original game that had players control a high school student as they rise up the ranks of school cliques.