The Simpsons: Hit & Run developers have explained how they were hugely influenced by Grand Theft Auto III, and looked for guidance from Rockstar’s established series.
Christopher Mitchell, Steve Bocksa and Nigel Brooke, developers of Simpsons: Hit & Run, spoke to Retro Gamer about the influence and thought process behind the game. Mitchell claims “if there was no GTA III, there wouldn’t have been a Simpsons: Hit & Run”. Instead of mimicking Liberty City, however, Hit & Run brought to life the fantasy world of Springfield. The team started out trying to replicate areas shown in the show, eventually building a racecourse through the city as inspired by GTA III. A major issue during production, however, was the driving AI; NPCs had trouble navigating tight narrow spaces, limiting how quickly vehicles could go. Exhilarating speed isan essential factor in GTA games, so after feedback from testers the problem was fixed.
An issue brought up by Radical Entertainment was the feel of the game: would it be a ‘driving around doing missions’ game or a ‘getting out of the car and doing missions game’? By the time Mitchell joined the project, its focus was established on making it a ‘get-out-of-the-car’ game, a decision that helped set it apart in the market from the other takes on GTA which were being released at the time, rather than relying solely on the Simpsons brand to carry its success. That’s not to say that the show didn’t have a major influence on the game throughout its development – scripts would be sent to the Simpsons writers for reviewing and approval. As a mega-fan of the show, Mitchell was “really happy” to be working alongside the scriptwriters of the show, and to see his jokes included in the final script.
Fans of The Simpsons: Hit & Run have been asking for a remake or a remaster for a long time, to the point where one of them decided to remake it using Unreal Engine 5, a project which even got props from the game’s lead designer, Joe McGinn.
Embracing the nostalgia of it all? Here are the best retro games of all time.