As seemingly easily as South Park the show has been able to able to keep up its quality content over the last 16 years, South Park: The Stick of Truth hasn’t had the most smooth of paths. Since being announced in 2011, the game saw multiple snags in development. The original publisher, THQ, fell victim to bankruptcy. Its March 2013 release date was delayed. The Stick of Truth avoided cancellation and found a home with Ubisoft; it's now slated for a Q4 2013 release. During a panel at Comic Con International, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone offered insights on what we can expect from The Stick of Truth and how the development process has gone.
The Stick of Truth is an RPG that places you into the shoes of a new kid in South Park. This isn't the world of South Park within a game; this is more of a giant interactive episode where the kids are essentially playing a game (how meta). Parker and Stone compared to episodes fans have seen where the kids have played games like Lord of the Rings. They have terrible costumes, makeshift “weapons”, and are making things up when needed. However, because it is a video game, powers will actually be a tangible idea (at least as tangible as Cartman’s farting powers can really be). These powers will come in handy when facing crabpeople, underpants gnomes, hippies and other common South Park foes as you fight to save the town.
Parker and Stone have never hidden the fact that they are big gamers. Stone explained himself to be an arcade fan, but much of Parker's loyalties lie with RPGs. They claim to have played Skyrim and felt "Oh, this is easy!" when walking away from it. This was what they called their first mistake. The process started out fun enough and slowly grew more stressful and consuming. They compared it to the very well-received documentary 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park. Their shows air on Wednesday; the process culminates to a incredibly stressful Tuesday where they have to crunch to get everything ready in time as part of a weary process. They called the current time essentially a “six month Tuesday” as they prep the game for launch. However, The Stick of Truth was jokingly delayed another one to three years after audience members brought up what Parker and Stone felt were good ideas.
The creators were not pleased with the quality of South Park’s self-titled first game and their intent was not to create another video game. They warmed to the idea and decided that if they were going to do it, they would have as much control over the project as they do the show, which they write and direct themselves. With so much involvement, that led to 16 years worth of characters and ideas to be poured into the initial script for The Stick of Truth. Every character was included and the game quickly became far too bloated. Parker and Stone found ways to cut down content and narrow the focus while still personally believing that they've honored what has been. But what do to with so much cut content? Stone stated that “those words… that phrase… those letters” kept popping up with each cut: DLC. DLC tends to be a huge issue within the gaming community, but Stone firmly stated their stance: “Fuck that.” Their decision was that if they couldn’t include an idea in the game, they could easily work it into future episodes.
But where does The Stick of Truth fit into the world of South Park? The original idea was to work the game's story into the middle of a season. The season would start, the game would release and then once you were done with the game you could return to the season. The idea alone proved to be too daunting and was promptly scrapped. There also isn’t a particular timeline for the game compared to where the series is, but it is probably safe to say that recent characters will be included and South Park fans will see Mr. Garrison rather than Mrs. Garrison. Parker explained that they wanted to created a gaming experience that you can simply drop into and have it make sense.
From the trailer shown, the game seems to be directly in line with the show’s attitude and humor. It doesn’t seem to necessarily abuse not being confined by network regulations and go for overly raunchy situations and jokes. South Park: The Stick of Truth is still currently on track of a Q4 release on current gen consoles, but you’ll never know if Parker and Stone decide to delay the game in order to make a BASEketball sequel.