You might be hard-pressed to find a licensed game that continues to excite players more than The Simpsons: Hit and Run. While it’s just a simple Grand Theft Auto clone on paper, it sticks out even today thanks to its fun missions, good character writing, and attention to detail in bringing Springfield to life. One of the only things that feels really dated now are the graphics. But thanks to an in-progress fan remaster, The Simpsons: Hit and Run will look better than ever.
El Gato de Tojado is working on an unofficial remaster of the game, replacing the game’s textures and models with higher-quality substitutes. The amount of work they’re doing is staggering, far from just a simple upscaling. Entire models had to be rebuilt to work with the lighting engine, and most impressively, they’re even recreating the game’s cutscenes with 2D animation.
See the work in progress video below, courtesy of El Gato de Tojado on YouTube.
Making a Simpsons: Hit and Run remaster from scratch
To be clear, this isn’t about the unofficial remake of Simpsons: Hit and Run in Unreal Engine 5. This is a separate project aimed to remaster the original game’s files, with updated models and textures. El Gato de Tojado had to reconstruct a number of models from the ground up such as Lisa’s hair in order to make it work with the new graphics settings.
The biggest addition in this remaster, however, are the new animated cutscenes. The original cutscenes from Hit and Run used the game’s 3D models; while they faithfully recreated these classic characters in the third dimension, but in motion often appeared stiff and lifeless. And since the cutscenes are pre-rendered, remastering them isn’t an option unless you get the original cutscene files.
So El Gato de Tojado decided to reanimate them themselves. They initially tried rotoscoping (i.e. tracing over filmed images frame by frame), but this only worked well for the backgrounds. For the characters, El Gato de Tojado decided to learn 2D animation and drawing according to Simpsons character sheet guidelines. The results are impressive, capturing the look of the show — and showing a dedication to getting this remaster right.
What do you think of this Simpsons: Hit and Run remaster? Do you have fond memories of the original game? Let us know!