After a long wait, “South Park: The Stick of Truth” will finally hit video game consoles this holiday season — and it promises to be epic, violent, vulgar and crude, featuring much of the regular cast and recurring characters.
The game’s panel at Comic-Con International opened with a special behind-the-scenes trailer that started with “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker discussing how they felt the current generation of video games could do justice to the “South Park” world in such a way that people would think they were watching an actual episode of the show.
The trailer featured a multitude of game footage including epic battles in the vein of “Lord of the Rings,” farting being used as a weapon by Cartman, battles with the infamous skinny white aliens, the town of South Park reduced to ruins and burning, and Cartman asking, “How bad did they rape you?”
After the footage was shown, Stone noted his own preference toward arcade games, while Parker is a big fan of RPGs (citing “Earthbound,” “Legend of Zelda,” “Paper Mario” and “Skyrim” as influences). “The Stick of Truth” combines these two preferences into a Role-Playing Game with arcade elements that brings the keen sense of “South Park” satire to a beloved fantasy series.
“We felt that doing a ‘Lord of the Rings’ thing was the best way to do an RPG aspect of the game,” Stone said, telling fans that “The Stick of Truth” had been in development in one form or another since the original PlayStation and Xbox.
“It took that long to make this happen,” he said.
Indeed, it’s been a long road to release for “The Stick of Truth.” Not only has the game been kicking around Stone and Parker’s imaginations for years, it was originally slated for release earlier in 2013, but was delayed by the liquidation of original publisher THQ, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012. After Ubisoft picked up the publishing rights, a spokesperson confirmed that the game would still see a 2013 release, despite a delay from the original April 30 release date. The amount of time the game has taken to make wasn’t lost on Trey Parker, who said developing “The Stick of Truth” had taken them away from the show for far too long.
“This is the longest we have not done “South Park” and I am losing my fucking mind. I need this show!” Parker exclaimed.
While much of the lengthy development time can likely be attributed to the shifting of the rights, much of it has to do with the vast amount of content included in the game. According to Parker, there was so much content they wanted to include that some inevitably had to get cut — but that didn’t make cutting decisions easy.
“We had a script of like 850 pages long with every character,” Parker said. “We took a look at this and it was like this game will come out for holiday season 2032.”
Stone admitted that producing a video game was “a different beast” from television, with a long time in development. Beyond not putting off time working on the “South Park” show, the project has been incredible draining for the creators, if only due to their desire to produce a great game worthy of the series.
“That’s why we’re saying, ‘Fuck this! This sucks!” Parker added with a laugh.
While Downloadable Content was presented as an option to include content at a later date, it wasn’t something either Stone or Parker were particulary enthusiastic about.
“People kept saying DLC (Downloadable Content),” Parker said to a chorus of boos from the audience, to which he nodded his head. “I was like, ‘Fuck that!'”
That statement received cheers from the audience and Stone remarked that the game truly was going to have every character in it, but it was just not possible. “We had to pare it down,” he said.
Although the panel primarily focused on the game, Stone and Parker also discussed the show, which enters its seventeenth season (an impressive milestone, considering Stone and Parker still write and direct every episode) on the last Wednesday of September. While development of “The Stick of Truth” was still wrapping up as of CCI, the duo estimated they would be done with it in the two weeks following, which would allow them to shift to a new season of the show, which may include more appearances by South Park’s resident superhero, Mysterion.
When whether the new season will feature more of Mysterion, Stone answered coyly, “Sure.” Parker explained the concept of Mysterion started off as a “one-off joke,” which later became the basis for a trilogy of episodes in the fourteenth season.
“The truth is, when we did the first Mysterion episode, we didn’t know it was going to be Kenny,” Parker said. “We were like, ‘Who is Mysterion?'”
Although “South Park” lampoons a number of different celebrities and pop culture icons, Parker said his favorite celebrity to make fun of was Jennifer Lopez, who featured in an episode where Cartman called his hand “Jennifer Lopez,” convincing everyone that it was actually the real deal.
Parker shared a story he heard of how the crew of the movie Lopez was working on at the time could not resist making fun of her by saying, “Hello!” to her with their hands. He said he still laughs at the idea that crew members risked getting fired just to do that.
While Stone and Parker’s mission statement is to make “The Stick of Truth” seem like a regular episode of “South Park,” the duo doesn’t have it locked in to any particular point in the show’s continuity.
“We just wanted it to be where you can pick it up anywhere,” Parker said.
For fans of Stone and Parker’s music work — both in “South Park” and the duo’s Tony Award-winning “Book of Mormon” — Parker confirmed there will be songs featured in the game, including some old favorites.
“That was part of the fun of making the world,” he said. “We have a whole library of songs. So, yes, a lot of them will be in there.”
As for specific recurring characters featured in the game, Parker finally let one cat out of the bag, confirming that both Terrence and Philip will be featured in the game along with the return of an old, familiar face.
“Chef makes an appearance in the game,” he said. “There, I said it.”
“South Park: The Stick of Truth” hits during the holiday season 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.