In the wake of post Hot-Coffee controversy, Rockstar previews a "whimsical" Bully.
In an apparent attempt to counteract negative perceptions, Rockstar recently revealed portions of Bully to several press outlets, including the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, and the Rocky Mountain News. The resulting articles paint a picture of a game far removed from recent M(Mature)-rated Rockstar titles in terms of its content. "Finally Bully can speak for itself," Rockstar spokesperson Rodney Walker told Reuters. "People can look at the game and see what it is and what it's not."
The New York Times described Bully as "whimsical," and noted that the main character, 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, "is a cutup and a scamp rather than a seriously bad kid." From the descriptions provided by each outlet, it appears that although Bully features schoolyard fights, its conflicts do not result in serious injuries, and most of the delinquent behavior it portrays is relatively tame. Guns, knives, alcohol, drugs, and sexual behavior are all apparently off-limits to the player. Furthermore, rule-breaking and aggression are generally discouraged and often lead to swift, negative in-game consequences.
Originally scheduled for an October 2005 release, Bully was delayed after Rockstar's "Hot Coffee" scandal generated a political and media firestorm. It's unclear whether the game, as originally envisioned, has been toned down to appease potential critics.
Bully was initially announced as an Xbox and PlayStation 2 title, although the Xbox version has been cancelled. The PS2 version is due to be released this October. Rockstar reportedly hopes the game will receive a T(Teen) rating.