Prerelease:The Simpsons: Hit & Run
This page details prerelease information and/or media for The Simpsons: Hit & Run.
|This article is a work in progress.|
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.
The following document aims to outline the pre-release coverage of The Simpsons: Hit & Run and the changes made to it during late development.
- 1 Developmental Timeline
- 2 Prerelease Disc Material
- 3 2002
- 4 2003
- 4.1 April
- 4.2 May
- 4.3 July
- 4.4 August
- 4.5 September
- Sept. 16 - The Simpsons: Hit & Run is released in North America and Europe.
Prerelease Disc Material
2003 Pre-Release Disc Assets
Two pre-release asset discs of the game was found in 2016, which contained several information changed in the final game, dated around June to August 2003. There are several pink notes regarding editing out or correcting some parts or red notes indicating changes.
- Originally, the newspapers displayed on a loading screen contained a second variation instead of one. Some actually went through slight changes.
- Level 1's second headline was "First Day of Spring - Ants, Nitpickers reach last minute accord" along with a screenshot from "Trilogy of Error".
- Level 2's original first headline was either "Nameless Assailant Harasses Burns - Says Burns" or "Local Man Chased By Dogs - Mistakes Harmless Pizza Van for Sinister Surveillance Van".
- Level 3's original headlines were "Slow News Day Grips Springfield" and "Local Truant Gone Truant - Honor Student Searches for Dumber Brother".
- Level 4's headlines were "Mysterious Shape Found In Farmer's Field - Scientists Perplexed; Some Say Signs Of Rapture - Flights Booked", which was later shortened down, and "Missing Boy Found Safe - Has No Memory of Abduction".
- Level 5's original headlines were "Springfield Goes Crazy for Crazy New Cola" and "Boring Housewife Unpopular - Marge Simpson Attacks Another Fun Fad".
- Level 6's original headline was "Local Crackpots Warn of "Alien Cola Plot"" with a picture of Apu and Bart shocked.
- Level 7's original headline was "Local Housewife Says "I Told You So"" with a picture of Marge.
- Bonus missions did not exist originally and were part of the storyline.
- "Petty Theft Homer" had an unused lose-the-tail segment.
- "The Fat And Furious" originally involved driving to the Power Plant's parking lot to find Smithers, who was parked next to a Surveillance Van.
- Originally, Bart needed a toilet plunger instead of a satellite dish and hemorrhoid cream for the Truckasaurus. "Dial B for Blood" was originally part of the storyline in order to get the cream.
- There was originally a mission where Bart escaped in a Ferrini from the Truckasaurus in a boss fight.
- "Bonfire of the Manatees" originally ended with Apu talking to Lisa and Lisa making her own way to the Observatory.
- "...For A Few Donuts More" involved destroying the Donut Truck. The mission stage dialogue still exists for this in the script.
- "The Return Of The Nearly Dead" involved racing Grampa to Jasper instead of racing Chief Wiggum to the Retirement Castle".
- "Wolves Stole My Pills" was given by Jasper originally and involved him explaining the crop circle.
- "Discriminating Caffeine" took place near the Monorail Station and involved avoiding black sedans while chasing the Cola Truck.
- "Duff For Me, Duff For You" involved avoiding black sedans while getting to the Duff Brewery.
- Much like Level 2, the t-rex fossil was originally a boss fight in addition to a cutscene.
- Originally, in "Alien Autopsy Part I", Mr. Burns sold the remaining nuclear waste to the Black Ferrini driver.
- The final cutscene of Level 7 was much different - When the UFO crashed, a tentacle came out of the hatch, before shriveling up, with Homer mocking Lisa's belief of nuclear waste. It cut to Kent Brockman interviewing Homer, who tells him he has "big plans" for the future. Two weeks later, Homer's house is surrounded by Rigelians, some of whom are stealing from the house, while he naps.
- There was originally an option to watch the credits in the Options menu.
- The HUD icons for characters were originally in the same CGI seen in manuals.
Source Code Screenshots
Images found in Documents and folders in the leaked Simpsons Hit and Run Source Code.
- The asphalt is slightly blue tinted.
- The grass is slightly greenish teal.
- The packing lot is slightly longer.
- Pedestrians and street cars seem to be absent.
- The sign for the (Kwik-E-Mart) is slightly yellow tinted.
- An early radar design is present
- A different set of houses can be seen in the background
- Homer has a different model
- Homer's lighting is metallic in appearance
- The vent ontop of the duff truck is untexterd and mising smoke.
- The elevator shaft on the duff truck is gray instead of maroon.
- The Duff logo on the Duff truck is more reminiscent of the television series.
- The red flash on the elevator button is absent.
- Rather than being maroon, the Duff truck is red.
- The power line is not present in the final game.
- The (Kwik-E-Mart) sign is not present in the background
PR Disc Screenshots
Bundled with the PR disc was a number of screenshots dating as early as 2 April 2003; these predate even the public announcements of the game. One thing to note is that the filenames of many of the April screenshots skip a large amount of numbers, implying this was only a fraction of the total screenshots taken of this build.
- The ! icon above Marge's head is different, being darker in color.
- The flowers in the house's garden are missing in the prerelease.
- The chimney of Flanders' house is white instead of peach. This is consistent with several early in-game screenshots.
- The trees were changed to be a single texture instead of the model. The tree model can still be found in Level 1's bonus track.
- The sign for the World's Largest Toilet is missing.
- The unused Station Wagon intended to spawn in Level 1's traffic can be seen in front of Homer's car.
- Jasper as Frostillicus is obscured slightly in the prerelease screenshot. The banner above the glass door is also missing.
- Gil is missing in the prerelease screenshot.
- The southern telephone wire's position is different.
- The windows for the houses and one of the trailers is different.
- One of the trees on the path is missing.
- Milhouse's position was changed to be west of where he is seen in the prerelease screenshot.
- The base of the telephone booth is smaller in size.
A screenshot of Bart standing near Snake's hideout, dated 8 April.
- The unused green radar can be seen in this picture.
- The sky in Level 2 is cloudier and has rays of light shining from the sky. This skybox can still be seen in-game, as it is used for the Level 2 bonus track.
- The middle of the crossroads appears to have an entirely different texture.
- The northern building's roof colors are dark yellow instead of black.
- The neon sign appears to be slightly different, having text below the "N" and having lime green lines instead of orange.
- The Lexicon Bookstore's east side has a raised extension removed entirely from the final game.
- Moe's appears to be mostly identical to the final game besides missing the clothing booth.
- The DD Jar's placement is slightly different compared to the final game, facing west instead of south.
- The vats in the Duff brewery were taller, and the Duff pipes were connected directly to them. In addition, the front of the main brewery building is much closer to the vats, and the chimneys are taller. These are all consistent with the Level 6 cutscene.
- There's an additional trailer near the main brewery building that is missing in the final game. This is consistent with the Level 6 cutscene.
- The mascot objects and the wrench pick-up are missing in the prerelease.
- Grampa can be seen driving the WWII Vehicle with Lisa in the prerelease. In the final game, he does not drive the vehicle in Level 3 as he is the mission-giver for "Operation Hellfish".
- The lights of the buildings in the prerelease are different, being orange in color.
- The billboard in the prerelease cannot be found anywhere in the final game. It was changed to a "500 Yard Gash" billboard in the final game.
- The phonebooth is missing in the prerelease.
- There is a streetlight near the entrance to the beach that is missing in the final game.
- The lights are brighter in the prerelease than in the final game.
- The phonebooth icon is missing in the prerelease.
- The island in the distance is missing in the prerelease.
- The streetlights seen are different in the prerelease, being the three-headed design seen in Level 2.
- The broken bridge appears to be missing the railings in the prerelease, although this might be an unfinished background model.
- The stone bridge appears to be grey in the prerelease rather than purple. There is a bush near the railings that is missing in the final game.
- There are additional trees in the background that are missing from the final game.
- This final Level 3 image is dated 15th April, placing it a week after the previous screens. During that time, the Duff Brewery's vats had been modified to their final form of shorter vats, showing the beer flow openly into them.
- The palm trees designs are different in the prerelease.
- There is a curb on the grass to the right of Lisa that is missing in the final game.
- The lights from the Krustylu globe and the cones from the traffic lights are missing in the final game.
- The statue on top of Krustylu Studios is missing in the prerelease.
- A forklift not seen in the final game can be found where the vent is.
- There are two wasp cameras in this section of the Power Plant, both of which have shields. In the final game, only one wasp is present and wasps don't gain shields until Level 5.
- The textures of the western vent are different in the prerelease.
- There are cubes in the prerelease that are missing from the final game.
- The buttons are faced in different directions in the prerelease.
- The platforms appear to have a ramp leading up to them in the prerelease. In the final game the ramp is replaced with a vent.
- Smithers' hair is grey in the prerelease rather than brown like in the final game.
Dated April 2nd.
- The Springfield General Hospital sign is smaller and has a slightly different font compared to the final game
- The Springfield Park sign is textured in the prerelease, rather than being blank like in the final game.
While most of the screenshots are HUD-less captures, a number of Level 7 images depict Homer in front of the Springfield Elementary School on a vastly different rendition of the seventh level.
- A completely different radar/minimap can be seen. The texture for the blue circle is still present in early copies of the retail Windows release.
- The building itself is textured with more varied colors instead of the mostly light-brown and yellow palette found in the final. The windows that are lit are completely different to that of the final game as well. The signage of the building appears to be an earlier one not seen anywhere in the final game. The jack-o-lantern placement is slightly different.
- The giant spider is missing in the prerelease screenshot.
- The grass is brighter in color compared to the final game, the evergreen tree uses an earlier texture, and the school walkway and roads have slightly different textures.
- A "Springfield Downs" billboard from Level 2 can be seen in the distance. This was replaced in the final game with a KZMB billboard.
- Ralph Wiggum can be seen sporting a 2D sprite over his head indicating he handles one of the racing sub-missions. In the retail version, zombies are the NPC who prompt you to race in line with the whole Halloween aesthetic of the level.
- In the final product, the level is blocked off by a construction site following the Elementary School and a closed gate in the Power Plant on the other end of the map, essentially leaving Homer with half-a-level to explore. The illustration on the minimap suggests that level 7 was not intended to be this way, a fact which appears to be substantiated by some of the unused content. The floodlights are also missing in the prerelease screenshot.
- The skybox of the level appears to have different clouds and a slightly darker sky. This design can still be found in-game, where it's used as the texture for the window of Mr. Burns' office.
- The skeleton car uses a (rather creepy) flat billboard texture for the driver's head rather than a 3D model.
- The trunk of the 70s Sports Car contains vinyl records not seen in the final game. The textures for these still exist in the final game.
- The phonebooth is to the east in the prerelease rather than west like in the final game.
- The sign at the front of the school is completely different in the prerelease.
- The spider is missing in the prerelease.
- The moon is faced at a completely different angle compared to the final game.
The earliest report of a "mission-based driving game" starring the Simpsons can be traced back to a brief article published by GameSpot on April 24, 2003. Not many details are revealed aside from the cast, the gist of gameplay and the platforms it will be released on. Given the short length and the "As part of its release of pre-E3 information [...]" portion of the text, it is likely that this information was simply relayed from a press release document.
Hit & Run would later make an appearance at E3 2003, running from May 12 to 14, within the vast portfolio of then upcoming games from its publisher, Vivendi Universal. Not much else is known about the state of the game at this stage.
A GameSpot feature from July 8, 2003 allegedly describes a GameCube build of the game showcased at a non-descript press event from Nintendo. The demo featured appears to have been limited to the first three missions of the first level, which seem to be unchanged from the final product. It is suggested that gameplay elements and interactions appear to have been finalized, although camera issues are present.
A significant number of publications were granted access to late builds of the game since E3 and until September for previewing purposes. Contents have been sorted by outlet chronologically.
IGN Sizzle Reel
The first footage released to the public was a Sizzle Reel made from the GameCube version published by IGN on May 15, 2003 shortly after its appearance at E3. The video itself depicts driving and minimal character control within the first, sixth, fourth and second levels, starring Homer, Bart, Marge and Bart respectively. Despite lacking sound, a handful of aesthetic differences can be noticed when compared to the final product.
- A green radar is in place of the transparent minimap and the "Hit & Run" meter. The textures can still be found in early copies of the Windows version.
- Stop signs cannot be destroyed, but can be rather pushed as a single entity.
- Light blue chevrons can be seen highlighting Marge's vehicular path instead of red and green arrows.
- The phone booth has a 2D sprite of a telephone on top instead of a rotating 3D model. In addition to this, the phone booths are in different locations. In the final game, there's a booth across from the Simpson house, by the cemetery, and the one outside the stadium is a lot further to the right, beside the tunnel.
- The evergreen trees shown in Level 1 and Level 4 look more cartoon-styled and less detailed than they are in the final.
- There is seemingly no indication whether the player is about to get a "Hit & Run".
- There appears to be a collector card on top of the Wiggum house in Level 1, as seen at the very start of the video. As it's impossible to actually get on top of most houses in the final game, it makes sense that they'd move it to the back yard.
- The light cone of the street lights in Level 6 appear to be at an angle, as opposed to facing straight down.
- The street lights in Level 4 are off.
- Environment maps appear to be more subtle, or not implemented yet. This gives the cars a rather more cartoony look.
- The unused Station Wagon vehicle can be seen behind the School Bus during Level 1.
Several screenshots of the game were submitted to a number of press sites prior to release but were not included with the PR Disc images. These portray a build that seems to be somewhere between the blue circle HUD and the final (possibly dating it around May, as the final design had been implemented by June), and show the first appearance of the circular Hit & Run meter with a different design.
- The unused Station Wagon can be seen in the prerelease.
- The RC car Otto is driving is different, and there are two additional cars not seen in the final game.
- Comic Book Guy is at the back of his store rather than at the counter like in the final game. This was likely changed as this position is where the clothing booth is.
- The texture for the outside of the shop is completely missing in the prerelease, suggesting that the texture had not been created yet.
- The Radioactive Man poster gag is far brighter in the prerelease than in the final game.
- The phonebooth icon is different in the prerelease.
- There are light cones at the base of the arch that are missing in the final game.
- There is a traffic light that is missing in the final game.
- As with the above screenshot, the Wasp Camera has a shield on it.
- The back entrance of Burns' Mansion is slightly higher in the prerelease than it is in the final game. It is also missing the Krusty Glass panel seen in the final game.
- The tire tracks are missing in the prerelease.
- The window near the garage of the house is lit up in the prerelease. In the final game, it is not.
- The flowers in the garden are still missing in the prerelease.
- The chimney of Flanders' house is still white in the prerelease.
- As seen in the prerelease image, Chase Sedans were intended to pursue the player during a Hit & Run in this level.
- There is a large tree seen that is missing from the final game.
- The light from the streetlamp is far brighter and bigger than it is in the final game.
- An early version of the skybox can be seen. This is the same one that is used in Level 6's cutscene.
- In the final game, the WWII Vehicle w/ Rocket cannot be driven outside of the mission "Alien "Auto"topsy Part III" without cheats.
- The building's lights are orange instead of yellow.
- A table and two chairs are missing in the prerelease.
- The canopy has yellow stripes rather than being completely white.
- The treehouse still has leaves on it in the prerelease screenshot, although this is likely a placeholder.
- The lighting on the windows is different compared to the final game.
- There is a fence with bushes placed between the Powers' house, consistent with the E3 demo. The placement of the jack-o-lantern is also different.
- The ghost's placement is different in the prerelease.
An E3 demo gameplay video shows a mostly complete version of the game, although with a few noticeable changes from the final game:
- Much like in the IGN video, environment maps don't seem to have been implemented yet. In addition, there doesn't seem to be any lens flare effects from the sun in the first three levels of the game.
- Also like in the IGN video, the unused Station Wagon found in the files of the game can be seen driving past Homer in Level 1. It is shown in place of the Glass Truck found in the final game.
- In Level 1, Wiggum's house appears to be completely missing. This is consistent with the 696 and 969 area signs.
- The vent on the Duff Truck at the Kwik-E-Mart has no detail and does not produce any smoke, and the sound effect heard when bouncing off of it sounds different compared to the final game. Also, Homer does not say any of his usual quotes, like "Wheee!!" or "Bouncy bouncy!!" when he bounces off the vent.
- Moving cubes appear inside the Power Plant. While not seen in the final version it strangely appears in the final game's demo mode.
- Two wasp cameras are present inside the Power Plant on Level 1; these are not in the final game.
- The power couplings are facing straight.
- The telephones seen on top of phone booths look different slightly resembling the 2D sprite of the telephone shown on top of phone booths in the pre-release video released on Sizzle Reel.
- Much like in early cutscenes and screenshots, the characters' models are similar to their appearances in The Simpsons: Road Rage.
- Wrenches have a darker color scheme making them look more of a brown color than a yellow color.
- A lot of sound effects heard in the demo sound very different than they do in the final, sounds heard when jumping, kicking objects, etc.
- There were originally sound effects heard when the player entered/exited a vehicle and they shut the doors of it, but in the final game, no sounds can be heard at all whilst entering/exiting a vehicle.
- Collector Cards appear to have a question mark symbol on them.
- Wasp Cameras are not as detailed and appear to be brighter. They lack the metal texture they have in the final game. In addition, their wings are not opaque, and no electricity can be seen from their stinger.
- A ramp made out of tires is seen south of the Tire Fire. This isn't seen in the final game, likely because the ramp is facing at an angle too close to the barn house.
- In Level 2, there are three Coins present at the end of the small tunnel that follows the dirt ramp jump by the construction site.
- There is a wrench seen floating above the Tire Fire in Level 1, it is unknown why it's there.
- The lamp-posts on the street dividers near the Bowlarama in Level 6 had an entirely different design.
- In Level 1, Milhouse is shown standing in the middle of the path in front of the first house in the line of houses in-between the La Maison Derriére and the Kwik-E-Mart, but in the final game he has been relocated to near Moe's house.
- In Level 4, Nelson is shown standing in front of the Springfield church, but in the final game he has been relocated in front of the Solid Gold House on the 939 area.
- The sky in Level 2 is cloudier and has rays of light shining from the sky.
- The sky in Level 6 has a larger moon with more noticeable clouds, and the maroon color is less vibrant than it is in the final. Interestingly, this background is used as the background of interiors in the level in the final game and is also the background of the Level 6 bonus race.
- The Character Costumes icon in Moe's Tavern is located at the right side of the room in front of the Duff poster instead of on the left side of the room.
- In Level 6, the interior of the observatory appears to use the same lighting used in the building in Level 3, there is also a dusk background shown outside the window instead of the usual night background. It is unknown whether this is Level 6 or not, but it could be possible that Bart is being played as in Level 3.
- Also, the large telescope seen inside the observatory is not detailed and is colored red instead of grey.
- Much like in the IGN video, there is a mansion gate located in front of the house facing the Simpsons House.
- There is a fence with bushes placed between the blue house to the left of the Simpsons House and the fence beside the playground in Evergreen Terrace.
- The Itchy balloon in Level 2 has red gloves instead of white, red-gloved Itchy however did appear in the Level 5 bonus race in the final game.
IGN (August 2003)
On August 8 and August 23, 2003, IGN released a whopping 17 videos depicting the PlayStation 2 and GameCube revisions of the game. These range from snippets of gameplay to full cinematics, all from the first level. Of upmost interest are the prerendered cutscenes, some of which are noticeably different to the ones in the final game.
- The logo has different lettering as opposed to the final which resembles the one used on the show. The trademark symbol was swapped for a copyright.
- The family's models are very similar to their appereances in the cutscenes from The Simpsons: Road Rage, rather than the softer renditions seen in the final game.
- Homer gasps before destroying the wasp camera.
- The wasp has additional sound effects on its demise.
Flowers by Irene
- The audio sounds more clean, lacking the TV type voice filter.
- Homer is seen eating a donut he reached from his back, whereas in the final version he is sitting still and drinking a Duff Beer. Interestingly, the final game still keeps the sound Homer makes when eating the donut.
- The TV is zoomed in, as opposed to the final in which the knobs and grill are visible.
- Much like the Simpsons family in the previous cinematic, Kent Brockman resembles his Road Rage appearance.
- The illustrations Brockman is describing are slightly different, featuring additional elements and different gradients.
- The crowd attending Mayor Quimby's speech is much quieter in the early render.
- Mayor Quimby has some additional animations not seen in the final.
- The "exclusive footage" of the Black Van were removed along with the robot being eaten by an alligator.
- A music cue plays when Marge tells Homer he is sexy (when he's paranoid).
- The characters have teeth in these cutscenes, the final version doesn't have any.
Published on August 31, 2003, Worth Playing's coverage of Hit & Run is perhaps the most interesting, as it features a wealth of self-produced screenshots from the PlayStation 2 version, some of which show discrepancies not seen in the previous materials. Referred to as a "limited beta copy", this particular demo allegedly includes a "character select screen" with a limited roster and not much else.
- The comic strip panel was replaced with pictograms illustrating the objectives.
- The font was squished and resized.
- "Stability" was changed to "Handling" in the vehicle stats layout.
- The font was squished and resized.
The gallery also reveals that the characters were displayed on the interface as 3D renders rather than 2D sprites.
GameSpot (September 2003)
Published on September 5, 2003, GameSpot's coverage of both the Xbox and PlayStation 2 version comes with little info and very low quality JPEG images. Delightful!
- You can see the unused vehicle "WagonA" in this shot. Other than that, nothing special.
- This contains another early image for a mission, however this time the font is final.
- Almost identical to one of the pictures from "Worth Playing" except with the final font.
Other Things of Note
- The article says to start a Wager Race you need to talk to Fat Tony, however in the final you talk to Louie. This was likely a mistake though.
- The article makes reference to the scene from the E3 version of the "Flowers by Irene" cutscene where Kent Brockman shows a clip of a robot being eaten by an alligator.
While pretty much resembling the final version, there's one thing noticeable in the trailer:
- While the 3D rendered character portrait for Marge appears at the start, there's another early mugshot of Marge that is 2D that just uses Marge's head. But it only appears once in the commercial, after that's shown the rest of the commercial uses the final Marge mugshot.
Present in the manual for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 (and the Xbox, to some extent) releases are a few not-quite-final screenshots displaying more of the 3D rendered character portraits. Please note that the second to last picture only appears in the former, as the latter uses an updated picture with the actual 2D mugshot. A date on the Load Game menu detailed on one of the first pages suggests that these pictures might be from late July/early August 2003.
There is also a screenshot showing an early version of the radar.
The title screen also appears to use Homer's Road Rage model. The model can be found in the final in the files for the main menu. Originally the newspaper was placed on the carpet before it was swaped with the wasp camera, also, the newspaper itself is missing it's yellow outline.
|Early (PR Disc)||Manual||Final|
The text that appears when you get Hit & Run also appears to be different, being all in caps and in a slightly different font.
The radar also appears to be a lighter color around the edge and the road is white instead of grey.
The same changes apply to this screenshot: