Obsidian's CEO talks about meeting Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and kick-starting development of an RPG that will stay true to the show's roots, vulgar language and all.
It's definitely a good sign when a game developer takes the reigns of a popular IP like South Park and immediately declares that it needs a lot of swearing and a lot of children dying. While the latter aspect may sound a bit crude to those unfamiliar with the show's questionable content, that's the appeal of South Park: it's crude, it's gross, it's disturbingly funny, and as Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart states, it's outrageous and the upcoming game needs "crazy crap in it."
In an interview with Game Informer, Urquhart said that South Park Studios bypassed the traditional route of approaching a publisher first and went straight for Obsidian Entertainment. "It was exciting because it’s great to work on licensed product, but to actually be working initially straight for the licenser, it meant that the guys who it was their baby were the ones who were going to be telling what they want," he said. "And on top of it, it was great once we started working with them was finding out how much into games they were."
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker came into the picture after the initial meeting. Urquhart said that they both admitted to be gamers themselves -- Trey had even logged up to 100 hours playing Oblivion. That said, Oblivion set out to determine what they really wanted from a game and ended up talking about games in general for quite a while.
"And so a lot of it was saying, 'what’s their vision for South Park in relation to all the games that we’ve played?'" he said. "And what was interesting, and what it came down to, was really talking about what’s that first step? What’s that first thing we need to do to make sure that this can really be a South Park game? And by the end of the meeting, it just came down to if we can’t make the game look like South Park, then why make it."
Initially the goal will be to develop an unrestricted South Park RPG, but given the show's adult-oriented roots, Obsidian is aware that it may brush the ESRB the wrong way at some point. "Let’s make it South Park, make it nuts," he said. "And then, as they say, cross that bridge when we come to it."
In addition to the video interview, one Game Informer reader received an early copy of the magazine and spilled its exclusive South Park: The Game content all over NeoGAF. According to the list of details, Parker and Stone actually wrote the script and chose to keep the player's character silent, staying in line with other more traditional RPGs. The character itself will be customizable and carry a smartphone that acts as the game's primary menu.
On Obsidian's side of the picture, the developer will be using the Dungeon Siege 3 engine and 15 years worth of South Park assets. The studio also developed a dynamic lip-syncing tool to accommodate changes to the script when needed. There will also be five classes consisting of a Wizard, Paladin, Adventurer, Rogue and a unannounced class, and cutscenes you can skip (Parker evidently hates the unskippable ones).
The list of leaked details also reveal that Parker and Stone ran up against a roadblock when designing the main town hub because, after all this time, they had never actually created a true layout of the town. Thus, this will be the first time anyone has seen South Park as a complete town from end to end.
For more details and major spoilers, head here.