Few video games in history have sparked more misplaced outrage than Bully, the seminal semi-open world, action game from Rockstar Games.
The 2006 video game engendered quite a bit of consternation based on its name and its publisher’s reputation (Rockstar is best known for producing the violent “Grand Theft Auto” series of games) alone, before ever even being released.
Bully was actually banned from Brazil for eight years (2008-2016) and was an infamous target of activist and disbarred lawyer Jack Thompson, who went on quite the crusade against Bully that included threatening Bill Gates to not release Bully on the Microsoft-owned Xbox.
Much of the outcry over the game was based on the assumption that the player character would be the titular “bully” and the game would trivialize (or worse, glorify) bullying in schools.
Worse yet for the game, the previous blockbuster release from Rockstar — 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas — was grappling with the infamous “hot coffee” controversy where a mini-game meant to simulate sexual intercourse was found deep in the code of the game. Thompson unsurprisingly latched onto that controversy as well.
Never mind that that mini-game was not accessible without tinkering with the game’s coding, the hysteria over video game content — especially Rockstar’s — was in full force.
And yet, when Bully finally did release… it was not the school shooting-, pro-bullying-, underage sex-, gore-fueled monstrosity that many critics were expecting it to be.
No, gamers were actually treated to one of the most thoughtful, in-depth and high-quality single-player adventures ever conceived.
(The game focuses on the juvenile misadventures of Jimmy Hopkins, a delinquent student forcibly enrolled in Bullworth Academy boarding school.)
And that’s why it’s been so maddening for fans of Bully to sit around and wait for a true sequel to the game.
There have been three mainline Grand Theft Auto games (and a number of additional spin-offs) announced since Bully came out. The cowboy epic Red Dead Redemption and its sequel have also both been produced and released since Bully first came around. The PlayStation 3, 4 and 5 have all been launched since Bully released.
The point is: It’s been a while, and the mildly updated “Scholarship Edition” that came out at the end of 2016 for mobile devices has not satiated any appetites.
Well, those starving fans may have been given a crumb of a crumb of hope thanks to internet sleuths who recently found that the formerly delisted soundtrack for Bully was back on Spotify.
The BULLY soundtrack is BACK ON SPOTIFY.
Due to copyright bs, the songs haven’t been up on Spotify — Until now.
— SWEGTA (@SWEGTA) February 5, 2024
Other outlets, including ComicBook.com, confirmed this mysterious update, but just like X users, seemed to temper expectations about any sort of Bully sequel.
(Not-So-Fun-Fact: Bully 2 was being worked on before being canceled due to various studio mergers.)
And yes, realistically, this probably is little more than some messy rights issues being figured out.
That being said, the term “fan” is derived from “fanaticism” for a reason, and nobody can blame Bully fans for latching onto this teeny tidbit of new information with misplaced hope.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.