Available: Now!
Best Price: XBOX $43.99 / PS2 $34.00
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games

Interview by: James Kinnear

Hi there. Please introduce yourself and describe your role in the game's development.

Tim Ramage, Associate Producer, Vivendi Universal Games.

There have been many different Simpsons video games in the past, such as your previous project Road Rage. Why did you choose to make a mission-based driving game this time around?

Radical was planning to overhaul and vastly improve the Road Rage engine. We wanted to take advantage of it, as well as capitalize on the success of Road Rage, but we didn’t want to do a sequel. We felt we could really improve the driving portion and were keen on adding an exploration element that would allow the player to get out of the car and navigate on foot.

So how does the game work exactly? Can you briefly describe what The Simpsons Hit & Run™ is all about?

Hit & Run features 7 levels with 7 story-based missions that are a combination of driving and on-foot. All 7 story missions have to be completed to move to the next level. However, each level also has a bonus mission, 3 street races, a wager race, collectible coins to purchase vehicles and costumes, collector cards and tons of content. So the story missions are just one small part of the game.

How detailed is the world of Springfield in the game? How many of the buildings is the player able to explore inside?

Very detailed. Fans of the show will recognize all of the landmarks in each of the environments. Additionally, each environment will feature landmark interactive interiors such as the Kwik-E-Mart, Moe’s Tavern, Springfield Elementary and The Android’s Dungeon and Baseball Card Shop where the player can go inside, explore, interact with characters, purchase costumes and some other surprises.

How big is the town of Springfield in this game, and is it laid out similarly to Road Rage?

It’s bigger than Road Rage. The layout is slightly similar, but because of the on-foot element we’ve really enhanced the map.

Which famous Simpsons locations appear in the game?

Lard Lad Donuts, the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Cletus’ House, Krustlu Studios, Duff Brewery, Springfield Elementary, Moe’s Tavern, the Kwik-E-Mart, and much, much more.

How many of the shows characters feature in the game? Will both major and minor characters feature?

The player will play with five main characters: Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and Apu. Other characters encountered either through exploration or in missions include Comic Book Guy, Ralph Wiggum, Principal Skinner, Moe, Barney, Lenny, Carl, Mr. Burns, and Professor Frink, to name a few.

What was it like working with the voice artists from the show?
Awesome. When you get a chance to work with talent the caliber of The Simpsons cast, it’s a blessing. They’ve been doing it so well for so long that it makes the whole process go smoothly. The same was true with the writers as well. And the luxury is you have no concerns about quality; you know you’re getting the best there is.

I have heard the game includes jokes and references to past episodes? Tell us about some of the Simpsons moments that are reflected in Hit & Run.

If I did that, then I’d be ruining the pleasant surprises that come with the game. Let’s just say fans of the show will not be disappointed.

There are over 50 driving and on-foot missions in the game. What type of challenges is the player faced with?

Challenges include platform navigation, timed collecting, point-to-point racing, chase, evade and damage.

And there are multiplayer missions too?

After the player collects all seven collector cards on a level, a bonus game racetrack unique to that level is unlocked. Up to four players can race, all on the same screen because the camera is top-down over the track.

Judging from the screenshots and movies that appear on Gamer's Hell, the graphics are excellent and very high-detailed. What is it like bringing the Simpsons from 2D to 3D?

Twentieth Century Fox, Gracie Films, and Matt Groening worked very closely with Radical to bring the characters and the universe to life in a 3D environment. Without their help, it would have been extremely difficult to achieve the level of quality you see in Hit & Run.

How much did the show's writers contribute to the game itself?

The writers wrote the story for the game, as well as all of the dialogue.

Tell us about the collector cards and coins which players will discover around the streets of Springfield.

Each level has seven collector cards for the user to find. Each card references a recognizable item from a specific episode, complete with a background on the item, the episode in which it appeared and a relevant quote. When the player collects all seven in the level, a racetrack in the bonus game is unlocked. When the player collects all 49 collector cards, it unlocks a special surprise.

Do you think gamers will be returning to the Simpsons' hometown in the future?

You never know.