The Simpsons: Hit & Run might not have been a groundbreaking game when it released for the PS2, Xbox, GameCube and PC back in 2003, but it’s managed to live on in our collective memories long after its relevance and remains a top pick among millennial gamers whenever we’re asked what games we’d genuinely want to see remade or re-released on modern platforms.
Thanks to a recent interview on MinnMax with some of the original development team at Radical Entertainment, we now know that Hit & Run could have easily spawned a lasting franchise, if not at least one sequel – which was already in development and would’ve included new features like flying vehicles. Sadly, publisher Vivendi cut the cord early on.
You can watch the hour-long video below, which has plenty of insight into the development of the original The Simpsons: Hit & Run, but a particular highlight is the story of why that sequel never happened.
“So Simpsons Hit & Run (2) would have been done by Radical,” explains Melchior. “There was a medieval Simpsons game that Matt Groening pitched, that was to be done at Stormfront, after Lord of the Rings. The biggest crime was the Vivendi did not obtain the Simpson’s license, though they had an offer in. So, The Simpsons came back with an offer – five games for X amount of dollars. It was a really good deal. And Vivendi said no. After the success of Hit & Run.”
“And to everybody’s credit here, the sequel was like, we had airships, we had planes, we had lots to go on the Simpsons. This was going to be a franchise – no doubt in anybody’s mind,” Melchior continues. “It was sad because I think we had a ton of momentum. There was no momentum lost between the shipping of this game and the work being done on the sequel.”
Radical programmers Cary Brisebois and Greg Mayer also explain in the clip that as well as flying vehicles, the team was also testing a towing mechanic for pulling things behind player vehicles, which I’m sure would’ve resulted in some entertaining mission design in Hit & Run 2.
“Pure disbelief,” added the original game’s designer, Darren Evenson, with Melchior describing the deal that Vivendi turned down as being a five-game deal that would’ve cost it less money than what it had paid for the original game, making the decision all the more confusing.
At least we have New Zealand developer Reuben’s excellent Simpsons Hit & Run remake videos to watch while we mourn the loss of what could’ve been a whole franchise.