A talented coder has remastered the beloved Simpsons Hit and Run game in less than a week.
The Simpsons Hit and Run originally released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PC in 2003. Developed by Radical Entertainment, it instantly became an absolute classic of a game. It streamlines the open world mechanics of the Grand Theft Auto series and skins it with a fresh coat of Simpsons humour.
A remake of Hit and Run is longed for by fans, though the sight of one is increasingly unlikely. Developer Radical Entertainment has since morphed into a support studio for Activision, and the licensing rights to The Simpsons now lie with Disney following the 21st Century Fox acquisition. Rumours of a remake have circulated for years, but have never actually bore any fruits.
That hasn’t deterred one budding game designer from taking it into their own hands, though. Reuben Ward, a coder from New Zealand, recently published a video that shows him remastering the beloved childhood classic in just one week. Complete with ray traced visuals and a first person camera, the final result is something that we could only dream of as kids.
Ward completes his remaster in a combination of Unreal Engine 4 and 5, the free to download software developed by Epic Games. Using online tools to rip 3D models, textures, and animations from the original game, Ward is able to reconstruct the first Springfield level fairly effortlessly. At least, he makes it look easy – I’m sure there’s actually a lot of work involved!
From there, Ward is able to reconstruct the first mission in which Homer has to pick up some ice cream from the Kwik-E-Mart. Unreal Engine 5 enhancements mean that Ward can add in ray traced lighting, a first person camera, and realistic driving physics. Ripping audio from the original game restores the iconic music and voice lines, complete with approximate mouth-syncing.
Although only the first mission is playable after one week of development, the entire level is explorable. Ward initially made his demo available to download on his Patreon, but had to take it down due to copyright concerns.
The original developers like the look of the remake!
Ward’s fan remake has caught the attention of the original game developers. Joe McGinn, who served as Lead Designer on Hit and Run, comments on the video, saying: ‘Amazing what you accomplished! Really gives a taste of what a full modern remaster could be. Impressive work!’
Ward’s YouTube channel is dedicated to remastering other classic video games. He’s also performed face lifts for Skyrm and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 in the last few months. As much as we’d like him to, it doesn’t seem like Ward has any intention of finishing a complete remaster of Hit and Run. Even if he did, he’d never be able to release it commercially.
The original Hit and Run developers have also previously expressed that they’d love to see a remaster at some point. Matt Selman said last month that getting one made would be ‘a complicated corporate octopus’ to pull off. A recent poll suggests that gamers would actually rather see Hit and Run remastered rather than GTA, though a remastered collection of the latter is rumoured to be in the works.
What do you think of the stunning fan remake of The Simpsons Hit and Run? Let us know across our social channels.
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Featured Image Credit: Reuben Ward/FOX