The original Simpsons: Hit & Run, released 20 years ago in 2003, ended up being a massive hit and sold millions of copies. So a sequel, featuring planes, was planned. But then the publisher shocked everyone when it passed on a sweetheart deal to create more Hit & Run games.
Developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Vivendi, The Simpsons Hit & Run was a semi-open-world GTA-like video game starring the popular Simpsons family and a host of other characters from the long-running animated show. It was released to positive reviews in September 2003 on PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. It also sold incredibly well, was beloved by fans, and had a development team that was excited to create more. And Fox, as well as the folks behind The Simpsons, wanted more and offered a deal to Vivendi that would have led to potentially five more sequels. But the publisher passed, according to folks who worked on the game.
In a new video interview from MinnMax, six of the original developers and producers who worked on Hit & Run sat down to provide an oral history of how the popular game came to be. During this discussion, executive producer John Melchior (who worked with Fox) explained that the sequel was a “no-brainer” for everyone involved.
According to Melchior and the others, while the original Hit & Run only featured cars and trucks, the planned sequel would have featured blimps, airships, and planes.“We had lots to go on The Simpsons [Hit & Run]. This was going to be a franchise, no doubt in anybody’s mind,” Melchior said.
Hit & Run programmers Cary Brisebois and Greg Mayer further revealed that work was being done on a towing mechanic that would have let players drag around wagons and trailers behind cars.
Sadly for fans of Hit & Run, Vivendi passed on the deal. Melchior claimed the five-game deal would have cost the publisher the same or less than it paid for the Simpsons license for just Hit & Run. He explained that the deal was so good because everyone at Fox and The Simpsons TV show was impressed by Hit & Run and wanted more. But because Vivendi passed on it, EA swooped in and bought the license to produce its own Simpsons games.
A Hit & Run remake? Maybe…
Of course, sequels seem unlikely now, but all of the folks involved in the game’s creation would love to see a remake. In fact, during the interview, they all expressed admiration for YouTuber reubs’ UE5 remake, with one developer saying that Disney (who now owns Fox) should just release that fan game as it’s better than what they made.
That probably won’t happen, and according to Melchior a remake would have to involve both Disney and Activision (who owns the original game code). So don’t hold your breath for a new Hit & Run game anytime soon.
Or do! But before you pass out while waiting for a sequel or remake, I’d recommend watching the full MinnMax oral history interview as it reveals more information about the game’s development, including who added those cool holiday cheat codes, what Fox made them cut, how Simpsons’ writers tried to sneak in dirtier jokes than what the show would allow, and how we almost got a PSP port of the game.