Although it has some issues, The Simpsons Hit & Run has gone down as something of a classic since its release almost 20 years ago. The game took the GTA template and added America’s most dysfunctional family, creating a fun romp which found a solid audience on PS2, Xbox and GameCube, selling over 3 million copies worldwide.
Despite the obvious desire for a remake or sequel – and interest from co-showrunner Matt Selman – it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a new instalment any time soon (Selman says that “it’s a complicated corporate octopus to try to make that happen”, apparently). That’s why modder Reubs decided to take matters into his own hands and recreate the game using Unreal Engine 5 – with impressive results.
Using a tool created by another developer, Lucas Cardellini, Reubs exported the map of Springfield from the original game into Unreal Engine, then used a combination of AI and manual effort to add textures. He even went as far as to enable ray-tracing, and ripped audio from the original so the characters could speak. Then he got down to programming in all of the gameplay elements – such as collectable items – finally pulling together the opening segment of the original game in a playable demo.
So impressive was this feat that Joe McGinn, who was the lead design on The Simpsons Hit & Run, posted on Reubs’ YouTube account to say how much he loved the demo:
Hi, I’m the lead designer on the original game. Amazing what you accomplished! Really gives a taste of what a full modern remaster could be. Impressive work!
Unfortunately, it looks like Disney’s lawyers got in touch because Reubs has removed the demo from his site. However, the reaction from the general public might hopefully convince the people in charge to pull some strings and make a remaster happen – because there’s clearly plenty of demand.