2003’s The Simpsons: Hit & Run was an action-adventure adaptation of The Simpsons, the longest-running American adult animated sitcom. It was very much a Grand Theft Auto clone, whose gameplay relied heavily on exploring its open world and completing missions. Regardless, it was the game of the century for the franchise fans, and many still hope the game will get a remake or a remaster. Well, one fan took things into his own hands and built a demo of the Hit & Run game using Unreal Engine 5. And the results are impressive, to say the least.
According to IGN, Reuben Ward, an Unreal developer and a lifelong fan of The Simpsons: Hit & Run, had recent success on his YouTube channel after remaking popular gaming titles in Unreal Engine 5. Following up a polished version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Reuben’s latest project features a new remake of the cult-classic The Simpsons: Hit & Run, made with Unreal Engine 5, and a “fine, I’ll do it myself” attitude. But the impressiveness of his effort didn’t go unnoticed.
The fan-made remake was initially posted on Patreon, while a video describing the remaking process of The Simpsons: Hit & Run made its way ono Reuben’s YouTube channel. There, it attracted the attention of the original game’s lead designer, Joe McGinn, who praised Ward’s work, stating that it gives a taste of what a full modern remaster could be. “Impressive work!” Joe commented, giving high praise for a project that only took Reuben a week.
Per his Youtube video, Ward began remaking The Simpsons: Hit & Run with its in-game map of Springfield after becoming nostalgic for the game – which seems like a premise for all his videos. Unfortunately, however, the game hasn’t aged well. The original textures were very low-resolution – something he had to address by using an AI-led image resolution enhancement software with some DIY photo editing. Eventually, he managed to reskin the entire map of Springfield and give it a more modern feel by adding more elements, like stylized trees.
After completing the map, the developer used pre-made models and assets found online to quickly put together a playable build of The Simpsons: Hit & Run. Apart from having issues with Homer, the game’s initial playable character, which he overcame with a bit of extra coding, Reuben enabled a first-person mode that the original game lacked. He also made upscaled changes to the UI and collectibles while retaining the original game’s audio and voice-overs for his characters. Finally, he was able to recreate the original opening mission of the game and release it as a playable demo on his Patreon.
Unfortunately, the developer has since removed The Simpsons: Hit & Run remake demo over possible copyright concerns, leaving the game’s fans with only a video as proof of the remake’s existence. However, it’s worth noting that Reuben Ward isn’t the only remake developer out there focusing on highly-sought remakes; a YouTuber named Krollywood spent two and a half years remaking the entire GoldenEye video game on PS4.
The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted American primetime television series that spawned over twenty video gaming titles, including The Simpsons: Hit & Run from 2003. Despite being at the center of many controversies, like no longer allowing straight actors to voice gay characters, the series has been renewed for seasons 33 and 34, set to release in the future. As for Reuben Ward’s remake of The Simpsons: Hit & Run, it would have been interesting to see how the entire game would have looked. Too bad that the gaming IP is torn between several companies, including the money-mongering EA Games.