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While it may not have been the runaway success of its other open world games, Rockstar's Bully is still beloved by many. Parent Take-Two Interactive has filed a new trademark application for Bully, making curious types wonder if the company is considering a follow-up to the long-dormant IP.
The trademark application was filed yesterday, nearly seven years since the game's original release. Gamespot notes that a Bully sequel was tabled to work on Max Payne, with Rockstar head Dan Houser telling now-shuttered dev Rockstar Vancouver: "You can do Max, and then we will see what we can do with Bully."
A sequel has been rumored ever since the game's composer name-dropped one. That was four years ago.
Rockstar Vancouver is being dismantled, Take-Two Interactive announced today. The 35-person team, best known for its work on Bully, is being offered new positions at Rockstar Games, specifically the expanded Rockstar Toronto studio.
The plan is to bring all of Rockstar's Canadian development talent "together under one roof." In a press release, Rockstar VP Jennifer Kolbe said that "a single Canadian team will make for a powerful creative force on future projects."
A larger, custom-built facility in Oakville, Ontario will house the expanded Rockstar Toronto team. The expansion is being supported by the Ontario government, although financial details are not being divulged. The new Toronto team will be able to offer 50 new jobs as part of this "strategic partnership with the Ontario government."
Both Rockstar Vancouver and Toronto most recently worked on Max Payne 3.
Rockstar loves Bully, and has revealed it may return to it for a sequel once Max Payne 3 is released.
Bully launched on PlayStation 2 in 2006 (as Canis Canem Edit in Europe), then in 2008 was released on PC, Wii and Xbox 360. It is a third-person action game, developed principally by Rockstar Vancouver.
It caused controversy, as Rockstar games often do, particularly among politicians and parents. UK Labour MP Keith Vaz was a staunch critic, and called for it to be banned. Currys and PC World both refused to stock it.
Critics, however, loved it. Eurogamer's Bully review smacked a 9/10.
Nothing has been heard since, but in an interview with Gamasutra, Rockstar executive Dan Houser said the Grand Theft Auto maker is still keen on Bully - and will look at it again once Max Payne 3 is out the door.
"Contrary to a lot of people, we like to take a little bit of time at the end of a game before starting a sequel, so we can wait for the excitement or disappointment and everything else of the experience to shake down and really see what we should do in the next game," he said.
"So we knew that we didn't want to start doing the Bully sequel instantly at that second with those guys -- even though it is a property that, like Max, we adore and might come back to in the future. There was just no impetus to do that then.
"So we said, 'You can do Max, and then we will see what we can do with Bully.'"
UK gamer rights group Gamers' Voice has attacked notorious anti-video game MP Keith Vaz for tabling an "amateurish" early day motion.
Vaz's early day motion, titled "Video games and young people", reads:
"That this House welcomes the call by Shigero [sic] Miyamoto, creator of Super Mario, for people to drop their joypads and venture out into the sunlight once in a while; recognises that video games have addictive properties; notes that children flourish when they undertake a variety of extra-curricular experience; further notes the current Hungarian EU Presidency priority of protecting minors from harmful audiovisual media content in media legislation; is concerned about the potential impact of violent video games on those under 18; and calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 is carefully controlled and that parents are encouraged to limit the amount of time children spend on video games."
"Our issue with the EDM is its amateurish delivery and reactionary tone," Gamers' Voice said in a statement issued this morning.
"To declare that the people who play video games are all pale skinned recluses who shun social interaction is both absurd and insulting.
"It is also an outdated way of thinking and a view we at Gamers' Voice have done our utmost to eradicate.
"Besides, would Mr Vaz be equally as critical of children who spent their days pouring through poorly written fantasy books about boy wizards and teenage vampires? Probably not. After all, reading fiction is an acceptable pass time. Spending similar amounts of time playing of video games however can only lead to ruin. That is if Mr Vaz is to be believed, at any rate."
Vaz is no stranger to video game controversy, and has long been a strong anti-video game campaigner.
He has criticised a number of video games, including Manhunt, Manhunt 2, Bully and Counter-Strike.
But in January Vaz told Eurogamer: "I've never been against games".
"I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing," he said.
Gamers' Voice calls on its members to support a motion calling for the research and development tax credits allowed for the games industry to be widened.