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Simpsons Hit and Run fan puts a cult classic in an open-world remake

It’s not available for others to play, but watching the design process is engrossing

Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

A fan has remade the 2003 cult classic The Simpsons: Hit & Run in Unreal Engine 5, adding in a hefty number of details that befit 2022 — like an open world map, better vehicles, and online multiplayer.

Initially reported by Eurogamer, more than one million viewers have watched the 17-minute YouTube video of the impressive project. It opens with a disclaimer noting that the project is “for entertainment purposes,” and will “never be available to download” — so you won’t be able to play it, but that doesn’t make watching the video any less engrossing.

Reuben Ward goes on to detail the changes and pure effort that went into this remake project — from importing pieces of the map to create an open world, and adding in foliage and lighting effects to make the visuals pop. He used Unreal Engine 5, a dialogue tool of his own design called “Narrative Quest and Dialogue Editor,” plus Blender.

Much of the delight in watching the video is seeing how specific little tweaks make a world of difference in modernizing the look of the game. Ward describes how creating specific shaders for windows makes everything from neighborhood homes to skyscrapers look much nicer. “If you just do a little bit of work, you can get a great result,” Ward says in the video.

This project comes eight months after Ward initially went viral for “remaking” the cult classic game in a week. The lead designer of the 19-year old game, Joe McGinn, even commented on that initial project. “Amazing what you accomplished!” he said. “Really gives a taste of what a full modern remaster could be.”

The next level of puzzles.

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