First released back in 2006, Rockstarâ€™s Bully marked something of an unusual detour for the typically gritty studio. Trading Manhuntâ€™s snuff for harmless fluff and blood-soaked streets for schoolyard cliques, the title quickly found a cult following among PS2, and later Wii & Xbox 360, owners. Now, seven years from the gameâ€™s debut, news has emerged to suggest a Bully 2 title may at last be in development.
The hot document – available to view in its entirety at the United States Patent & Trademark Office site – covers use of the franchiseâ€™s title in combination with a slew of different formats, including:
- â€˜animation in the field of video games and computer gamesâ€™
- â€˜computer and video game programs and softwareâ€™
- â€˜downloadable digital materialsâ€™
- â€˜digital music filesâ€™
- â€˜multimedia filesâ€™
- â€˜live action programsâ€™
- â€˜motion picturesâ€™
Two sample images were also provided alongside the application, the first of which reads â€˜Bullyâ€™ in a nondescript typeface, while the second displays a screen grab of the original gameâ€™s â€˜Student Downloadsâ€™ web page. The writing in question fails to match Bullyâ€™s own choice of font, but the typeface could perhaps signify an upcoming change in logo design.
Interestingly, a similar search of the British patent office yielded no fresh results. While documentation was available for the original Canis Canem Edit (the game was re-branded in Britain following an outcry from parent groups) no Bully 2 or Canis sequel info was apparent from trawling through the site.
So, is it possible that Rockstar is simply renewing an old license on the franchise, or could there be more at work here? The last time we encountered the title, it was headed to the Playstation Network in November of 2012. A month before that, Rockstar Vice-President Dan Houser told GamasutraÂ that development on the game could potentially begin after Rockstar Vancouverâ€™s completion ofÂ Max Payne 3.
â€œWe knew that we didnâ€™t want to start doing the Bully sequel instantly â€¦ even through 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 thenâ€¦So we said, â€˜you can do Max, and then we will see what we can do with Bully.â€™ So it was really waiting for the slot to open up and the group to open up to and at least start work on it.â€
Given Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnickâ€™s recent comments over Rockstar brand loyalty, one Bully sequel may not be enough to satisfy the successful publisher. If the series continues to iterate on the schoolyard formula, rather than follow original protagonist James â€˜Jimmyâ€™ Hopkins onto college, the franchise could potentially sustain itself indefinitely.
So, are you excited for a possible Bully sequel? In which video game universe would you like to go to school? Let us know in the comments below.
You can follow Sam on TwitterÂ @GamingGoo