The developers of The Simpsons Hit & Run finally sat down to discuss why the cult classic open-world game never got a sequel, and honestly, it sounds like they’re just as confused as fans.
Programmers Cary Brisebois and Greg Mayer, producer Steve Bocska, designer Darren Evenson, executive producer John Melchior and designer-writer Chris Mitchell dove into the details of what happened in a call with reporter Ben Hanson. A three-minute clip of the interview was posted November 20 on the MinnMax YouTube channel.
As it turns out, a follow-up game was in the works by Radical Entertainment, the developers revealed. But when asked about the rationale behind the decision to halt production on the sequel, Melchior said, “I don’t know.”
“It was a five game deal for less money than I think Vivendi paid for the first game,” Melchior continued, detailing how his boss at the time was similarly befuddled by the game being tabled. “He was just like, ‘I don’t understand. I gave it to you on a silver platter, why aren’t you just saying yes and doing these games?’ It was just a really bizarre decision. I’ll never understand it. Most people on the production level never understood it.”
The original game — also developed by Radical Entertainment — was released by Vivendi Universal Games in 2003. As word of an alien conspiracy breaks out in Springfield, players can participate in a variety of quests to investigate the series of strange events that unfold. And as fans of The Simpsons Hit & Run know well, one of the most iconic features is the game’s Grand Theft Auto-inspired racing missions.
Melchior credits Vivendi failing to obtain a license for the video game rights to The Simpsons as one of the primary factors in the sequel game’s downfall. By the same token, the executive producer pointed out that Vivendi was able to secure the rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a similarly popular franchise, without issue.
EA signed a contract for the video game rights to The Simpsons in 2005, but the last time the publisher released a game based on the series was in 2007.
“It was sad because there was no momentum loss between the shipping of this game and the work being done on the sequel,” Melchior mourned.
So there you have it; it looks like a sequel to The Simpsons: Hit & Run is officially ruled out as long as EA retains the rights to the franchise. But at least we can still keep hoping for a remaster of the original.