Despite it being a cult classic for many, The Simpsons: Hit & Run feels like a staple of every gamer's childhood. It's widely regarded as one of the best Simpsons games of all-time, and is still the highest-rated to boot, so it should be no surprise that the developers of the title - Radical Entertainment - took plenty of inspiration from another popular and extremely influential series - GTA.
In an interview with GamesRadar, The Simpsons: Hit & Runs lead game designer Joe McGinn revealed that the team at Radical Entertainment were given free rein to create the Simpsons game that they wanted to make, and many were understandably influenced by popular titles at the time. Having been in development during the launch of both GTA 3 and GTA: Vice City, McGinn and the team took advantage of the series' renewed popularity and pitched The Simpsons: Hit & Run as "GTA for kids".
"There's no question Hit & Run was inspired by Grand Theft Auto 3, which we were all playing at the time," says McGinn. "We pitched the game to the publisher as 'GTA for kids'. As game developers, the key concept we saw in GTA was exploration. Not only exploration of the game world, but of a possibility space. It may seem obvious now, but it was revolutionary then: GTA was one of the first games that gave you the freedom to solve a mission how you saw fit."
McGinn goes onto explain that another big part of the GTA series that made it into Hit & Run was the ability to drive any car, even those driven by NPCs. He also reveals how the team were not only inspired by GTA, but by a couple of other unlikely titles. The team turned to Driver for inspiration when creating Hit & Run's driving physics, while the game's platforming elements came from the family friendly vibe of Super Mario 64.
It just goes to show that developers are always looking towards influential titles for game ideas, no matter how disconnected from the source material they may be. Now if they'd just hurry up with the Hit & Run remake, that'd be swell.
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