The publisher of The Simpsons Hit & Run was offered a deal to make five more Simpsons video games but turned it down, its producer claims.
In an interview with MinnMax, the game’s producer John Melchior was asked what happened to the planned Hit & Run 2 game, which was in the works at Radical Entertainment, who had developed the first game.
Melchior explained that at least two Simpsons games were in development, and that that publisher Vivendi Universal Games was given the option to make five but rejected it.
“Simpsons Hit & Run 2 would have been done by Radical, [and] there was a medieval Simpsons game that Matt Groening pitched, which was being done at Stormfront after Lord of the Rings,” he said.
“The biggest crime was that Vivendi did not obtain the Simpsons licence, though they had an offer in. The Simpsons came back with an offer, five games for X amount of dollars, it was a really good deal, and Vivendi said no. After the success of Hit & Run.”
Asked why Vivendi turned down the deal, Melchior said he didn’t know, but confirmed that work had already begun on the sequel.
“I don’t know”, he replied. “They did games like Cold Winter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And to everybody’s credit here, the sequel had airships, we had planes, we had lots to go on The Simpsons. This was going to be a franchise, no doubt in anybody’s mind.”
He then added that “EA was able to come in and get the licence, and pay $80 million to talk about their own games in every level”, referring to The Simpsons Game, which contains numerous reference to EA games and developers.
“It was sad,” Melchior went on, “because I think we had a ton of momentum. There was no momentum loss between the shipping of this game and the work being done on the sequel.”
Melchior added that the team had a design document as well as a small gym area with a blump moving around, and the ability to tow items behind the vehicle, but didn’t have much more than that when the game was cancelled because as far as the team was concerned “it was a no-brainer, of course we’re gonna do this”.
Released in September 2003, the open-world Springfield simulator was a huge hit and became a fan-favorite during the PS2 era, and continues to enjoy a loyal fanbase to this day.
The game has never been re-released, despite interest from the creators.