Rockstar is considering a sequel to its 2006 game Bully.
Vice president Dan Houser told Polygon that he knew during the game's creation that the topic of bullying was a powerful one, and that even the word evoked strong emotions.
"I thought, we thought that the word's strong," he said. "It's a strong word, an emotive word. Maybe too emotive in some ways, but we were confident we were not making a game which you were a bully. You were equally not lily-white of course, but you were not a bully."
Houser added, "You were sort of standing up to a culture that encouraged bullying by being this tough kid that wasn't sucked into that kind of world and was friends with some of the weaker kids, but by no means a saint."
In Bully, players control Jimmy Hopkins, whose mother sends him to Bullworth Academy, a boarding school in New England, while she goes on her honeymoon. While Jimmy isn't a boy scout by any means, he does end up playing peacemaker throughout the game.
Houser said Rockstar, which has been no stranger to controversial games, was surprised by the amount of backlash the game received.
"How we saw it, we were sort of being accused of training kids how to kill each other," Houser said. "I thought, 'This is absurd.' And that was obviously our reputation then and potentially still is, but it sort of proceeded us then."
Now that seven years have gone by, Houser said the industry may be more ready for a game like Bully, and that it might be time for a sequel.
"I know I want to," Houser said. "Well, hopefully, you never know. There's a lot of directions I could go with that one, it's funny."
Just don't count on the protagonist growing up to be a character in a Grand Theft Auto game.
"I never saw him as being that level of degenerate," he said. "I saw him as a bad teen, because he comes from a tough home, who could go either direction. He's not going to be a carjacker. He's too white collar for that already."
Houser added, "He was an unpleasant soul, but he had a heart. To some extent you could say the same was true of [Grand Theft Auto 4's] Niko in a bizarre way. But [Jimmy's] not trying to burn down the school, he's more trying to stand up to injustice."
Earlier this year, Rockstar's parent company Take-Two Interactive filed a new trademark application for Bully that covered computer and video game programs and software. So a Bully sequel could be on its way sooner rather than later.