The Simpsons: Hit & Run is often remembered as the quintessential Simpsons game. This is with good reason especially when it is compared to its predecessors such as Road Rage, and Wrestling and Skateboarding, all of which failed in their core mechanics and left players unimpressed. The Simpsons: Hit & Run, on the other hand, excelled at its level designs that allowed players to wander freely, its missions that had cars race around Springfield, and its solid premise which could have almost made it to an actual Simpsons episode. On top of that, it has a long history related to games as well, with fans even making the Simpsons intro in Minecraft some time back.
This generation of consoles has taken advantage of nostalgia: there are remakes of Crash Bandicoot, Medievil and Shadow of Colussus as well as remasters of Devil May Cry and Okami. In short, players have many avenues to choose from before going down memory lane, yet with all of these remakes, Hit & Run's absence has been felt. This is partially because for many The Simpsons: Hit and Run was Grand Theft Auto for children, and with that kind of comparison, there's surely an audience for the game.
A huge part of what makes a remake successful is whether the game mechanics are still relevant. The Simpsons: Hit & Run certainly had depth in what players could collect, unlock, and find. The Speed Rocket is a great example of this as players could find the car and then drive it around so fast it would glitch the map. Although many wouldn't want a game with glitches, travelling around Springfield at the literal speed of a rocket is sure to entice players.
The Simpsons Hit & Run had countless references to the show. In fact, it is evident that the developers had an incredible amount of love for the series which can be seen in all the details put into the world. Features such as the Escalator to nowhere, Moleman being hit in the crotch by a football and Jasper being frozen in the Kwik-E-Mart are all great nods to the shows best jokes and more recently have become solid memes.
Although the top Simpsons memes are hotly debated, the game definitely features some of the classics. There is certainly nostalgia for this period of the television series, but this raises two issues. First, its begs the question of whether a new audience would appreciate jokes that are over 16 years old. Secondly, with the issues that have been raised about Apu and the stereotypes he has fallen into, it is uncertain whether his level in the game would operate in the same way, particularly with the controversy over his role in the show.
With every remake, there are logistical changes whether jokes would be updated or added and whether Apu's level would be altered would be a hot topic for discussion. Fans of the original would certainly want the game remade the way it was remembered, while that may detour the newer generation of viewers. The Simpsons is still a profitable franchise and the rights holders should see this as a way of building the brand and once again profiting from a game that was hugely successful first time around.
The producer of the original The Simpsons: Hit & Run recently discussed the possibility of a remake and this has drawn a lot of attention from those who remember the game fondly. Producer Vlad Ceraldi said that he could "see it on multiple different types of platforms as a remake or remaster." With the recent run of titles that have been remade, it's easy to see how the producer of the beloved game reached that conclusion. Yet he added, "It would have to take the parties who are in charge of the property to want that to happen and someone out there to decide that they were going to go out and do it". While Ceraldi went on to reaffirm that he would like to be involved in remaking the world, he also hit the nail on the head to why players have yet to see a remake.
Games aren't cheap to make, and there needs to be a guaranteed audience for the product to be marketed to. The Simpsons: Hit & Run definitely has marketability, and this can be viewed from two perspectives. The franchise is still going strong, as critics have seen the television series in a lesser light than its glory days, yet there is no denying that the show has an audience. The series is currently on its 31st season. Also, the last two Simpsons games sold strongly, with both Tapout and The Simpsons Game having a positive reception from critics and players alike. There is clearly a market for a Simpsons game, especially given how popular the Destiny 2 reference in the Simpsons Halloween Special was, and the industry is currently making a huge amount of remakes.
The Simpsons: Hit & Run has a special place in the hearts of fans and is regarded as one of the best Simpsons games ever; for many, that should be enough of a reason to remake the game. However, for those who hold the rights, the financial benefits of a remake should be evident. While there may be additional references and changes to the gameplay, a remake would certainly delight fans and draw attention to some of the most seminal episodes once more. Either way, the thought of racing the Honor Roller once more will excite many players.