When the word "controversy" springs up in a discussion about gaming, the name Rockstar Games can't be too far behind. With games like Grand Theft Auto, The Warriors, and State of Emergency in its portfolio, the publisher has been the frequent target of watchdog groups concerned with exposing younger audiences to violence.
Feathers were further ruffled when Rockstar announced it was developing Bully. The long-in-development game is set in a fictional prep school and stars a 15-year-old boy who must deal with all types of high school characters, including geeks, jocks, and bullies. Players will defend themselves against other students with weapons, but the fight scenes don't feature any blood or fatalities, reports Reuters.
Though few people outside of Rockstar have even seen the game, opposition toward the game's release has been very vocal, saying that impressionable youths will almost certainly engage in copycat schoolyard fights. The game has drawn protests from the Peaceoholics, a concerned youth group, and the British police, both of whom called for the game's ban.
Despite the obstacles, Rockstar Games quietly continued development of the game and will release it in October, according to Reuters.
"Finally Bully can speak for itself. People can look at the game and see what it is and what it's not," Rockstar spokesman Rodney Walker told the news service.
The game was originally scheduled for release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox but may now be a PS2 exclusive. A source told GameSpot today that the Xbox version, as speculated, has been canceled.