The Simpsons: Hit & Run is one of those games that’s led a charmed afterlife: on release in 2003 it had a favourable reception and sold well, but in subsequent years has come to be seen as something of a classic. Some consider it the best Simpsons game we’ve ever had (not that the competition’s amazing). It took the popularity of GTA3 and spun out from that a simplified parody that looked, sounded, and felt amazing to drive around in.
The one thing it didn’t have was a seamless overworld. Hit & Run is divided into three maps, with loading screens as you transition between them: this was still standard for its time.
Seventeen years after the game’s release, modder Colou has released the first mod to fully connect the game’s map. You can see it in action above, with the first sighting of the new transitions around 24 seconds in: the mod contains new connecting elements between the map segments, all animations, gags, and interactive triggers still work, other stuff like interiors have been slightly shuffled to help it all hang together.
It’s an astonishing feat, especially nearly two decades after the game’s release, and the fully connected map has, according to Colou, been the most-requested mod for The Simpsons: Hit & Run. The modder continues to work on a future release that will re-jig the game’s campaign to take advantage of the new map: here’s a peek at how that’s going.
The only problem here is that second-hand copies of The Simpsons: Hit & Run on PC can be expensive, and there’s no way to buy it legitimately on any digital storefront. The game was published by Vivendi, which was absorbed into Activision Blizzard many years ago, and the rights situation around it is completely unclear. Fans have been clamouring for a remaster and a sequel for years, I’ve seen more Hit & Run internet petitions than I can count, but all to no avail.