Officials from Take-Two publishing label Rockstar Games have announced that their previously advertised title Bully
will be available this October as a PlayStation 2-exclusive title, despite numerous calls for the game to be banned practically unseen in both the UK and USA.
Although only a handful of screenshots and a vague description has been provided by Rockstar, numerous parental and bullying groups have protested at the suggestion that the game involves the ability to bully pupils in the game’s virtual school.
Little has been heard of the game in over six months, with some game media even speculating that the game had been cancelled, before a high-profile Reuters news agency report
reconfirmed the game's release date.
The UK-founded Bullying Online organization
and British MP Keith Vaz
have both called for the game to be banned, with infamous anti-game lawyer Jack Thompson also joining the early chorus of disapproval over the game. Washington group the Peaceaholics also called
upon Rockstar to not release the game, with the most recent protests being organized by
the Miami-Dade County School Board.
Although descriptions of the game were vague on the point of whether the main character, 15 year old Jimmy Hopkins, was involved in bullying himself or merely defending against it Rockstar’s more recent press material suggests the latter. Although weapons such as baseball bats and stinks bombs are featured, Rockstar has indicated that the game does not include blood or result in the death of characters.
The game is being developed by Rockstar’s Vancouver studio, previously known as Barking Dog Studios and responsible for PC strategy game Homeworld: Cataclysm
. More sympathetic media sources have compared the game Bully
to the classic British 8-bit computer title Skool Daze and its sequel Back To Skool
, fans of which have long called for a remake.
can speak for itself. People can look at the game and see what it is and what it's not," said spokesman Rodney Walker to Reuters. "We think the school environment is a universal experience that so many people relate to."