Cast your mind back to the days of running around the schoolyard during recess in the glorious sunshine of a new spring day; or watching your crush walk past you in the high-school corridor, not brave enough to attempt eye contact or, heaven forbid, actual verbal interaction. Yeah, there were some great times, but make no mistake -- they weren't always the best years of one's life.
As several Stephen King novels can attest, the hallowed halls of educational institutions are Darwinian ecospheres where only the fittest survive (anyone see Mean Girls?). One of the worst specimens in such an environment is the bully -- and Take-Two Interactive Software
Take-Two announced the title Bully in a press release posted yesterday. I immediately took to the concept; it sounds like quality source material for a successful piece of software. Rockstar Games is developing the piece, which will see a "troublesome schoolboy" try to endure life at a reform school known as Bullworth Academy. Many elements of the pedagogical experience will be covered, such as dealing with the opposite sex and battling with educators. But I'd venture to say it will be the conflicts with bullies that represent the killer application of this particular storyline.
Jeff Hwang has written before about Take-Two's perceived portfolio limitations; indeed, when you think Take-Two, only one franchise generally comes to mind -- Grand Theft Auto. I couldn't say at this time how similar in style and presentation Bully might be to that controversial series, but if the company is playing its cards correctly, it will ensure that many of the elements that made Grand Theft Auto a cultural firestorm are present and accounted for in the new game. To me, a complex adventure that takes place in the schoolyard almost screams sales momentum, and if Take-Two can build a new, happening franchise, then its image might rise in the eyes of many investors.
Take-Two knows that creativity is what rules in the playground of video-game design, and it knows that big bullies like Activision
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