Out of all of the licensed games from the PS2 era, The Simpsons: Hit and Run is one of the most beloved. However, the game’s developers have described working on the title as a war of attrition.
Still locked behind licensed hell, The Simpsons: Hit and Run has yet to be ported to new systems since its release in 2003. While producers have expressed support for a remaster, nothing concrete has been announced.
In an interview with YouTuber and games journalist MinMaxx, multiple developers discussed their time working on The Simpsons game. (Not The Simpsons Game, that’s another thing.) While the game is a beloved memory for most gamers, it was absolute hell to make.
“I get so fond talking about it because it was a great memory,” said senior producer John Melchior. “We were all young… it was such a horrific experience.”
Cary Brisebois, lead programmer on the game, explained that the team was “young and stupid”, working way too much on the game when they shouldn’t have.
“We did things to ourselves that I recommend kids getting into the industry never ever do,” Brisebois explained. “It was miserable. We punished ourselves out of love for the product.”
Melchior likened the development of The Simpsons: Hit and Run to the haunting beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan, just due to the issues of rights management for The Simpsons IP.
“It was like, ‘I’ll see you on the beach’” the producer explained. “You’re dealing with corporate politics, TV show politics, TV show writers, game writers, the creator of the show, the other creator of the show, etc.”
Despite the hassle of working on Hit and Run, the team behind the title were in love with the game they were making, a game that has survived for two decades.
“I’ve shifted a number and games and been on a number of teams, and I’ve never felt the same sort of level of everybody loves this and really wants it to succeed,” Brisebois said. “We just poured everything into it.”
Twenty years on, The Simpsons: Hit and Run is one of the most beloved games ever released. It’s far from a perfect title, but the zany open-world driving game is far more than the “GTA-for-kids” that it was pitched as; it’s a core gaming memory for millions.