This Guy Remaking The Simpsons: Hit & Run As An Open World Game Is One Of The Best Things On YouTube

Reuben 'Reubs' Ward is a game dev who has made a name for himself on YouTube remaking games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto 5, and Skyrim in Unreal Engine. His videos are hugely entertaining, thanks in part to his laid back personality, but also because of how he takes something as complex and mystifying as game development and makes it digestible for the average viewer. In his most popular video, which is currently sitting at 7.2 million views, he remakes classic PS2 game The Simpsons: Hit & Run in a week.

It was one of his favourite games growing up, and short of an official remake, he decided to just make one himself. Hit & Run launched in 2003 for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube, and was developed by Canadian studio Radical Entertainment—one of the most prolific devs of the era. Scarface: The World Is Yours, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and Prototype are just a few of the killer games it made in its heyday. Today it's a support studio for Bungie, but in the 2000s it was pumping out quality games on the reg.

Reubs' first video, embedded above, is fascinating. He imports assets from the PS2 game into Unreal, and uses this as the basis for a pretty solid-looking, perfectly playable remake. He makes it all look so easy, in the way only an Unreal Engine expert can, and the end result is seriously impressive. Watching him implement cutscenes, dialogue, quests, a functioning UI, and a first-person view gives you a real sense of how software like Unreal works, even as a layman. Whether it's his intention or not, it really makes me want to make a game.

A year later, Reubs is back with a new series—this time turning his Hit & Run remake into a fully blown open world game. He's currently three episodes deep, and I'm even more enthralled by these videos than the original. It's amazing watching him taking the bones of this creaky old PS2 game and using Unreal to radically modernise it. In the series you can see him using AI to upscale low-res textures, adding shaders to give the skyscrapers of downtown Springfield a reflective sheen, and adding a working day/night cycle.

He even implements a GTA 5-inspired character swapping system, letting you transition seamlessly between each member of the Simpsons family as you explore Springfield. Making something like this inevitably throws up a lot of problems, but Reubs always has a clever solution—and seeing him dreaming these up are among the most entertaining parts of his videos. You feel like you're there with him while he's making the game, and I like that he freely admits when a certain discipline (such as 3D modelling) is beyond his talents.

However, I've got bad news for anyone who wants to play this amazing open world remake of The Simpsons: Hit & Run: you cannot. For obvious legal reasons, Reubs isn't distributing the project, and he specifically asks people not to bug his Discord moderators asking for a download link. If he did, Fox's lawyers would surely eat him alive. That's a shame, of course, but watching him make it is entertaining enough. It's clear he has a lot of passion for the original, and his giddy excitement whenever he gets something working or looking good is infectious.

Most 'Beloved Game Remade In Unreal Engine' videos are pretty uninteresting, and usually just make the game in question look worse, with no respect for the original art style. That's what makes these vids so refreshing. Not only does he respect the source material, but he gives you an unvarnished insight into how it's all done—including, importantly, mistakes he makes. This series is one of the best things on YouTube right now, and I can't wait to see the next ep. After watching it, game development doesn't seem so mysterious anymore.

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