I’ve watched practically every episode of South Park to date, and I’ve come to a conclusion: the show is dope. As far as I’m concerned, it’s very much in a league of its own. One of my favourite things about the South Park title though is that it’s never restricted itself to just TV. It’s successfully branched out to both movies, books, and even video games as well. As of developer THQ Nordic’s recent showcase, we know that there are two new South Park games on the way (the other reportedly being developed by Question Games). For those of you who have never touched anything South Park related before, this may not mean much. But I believe gamers should be very excited about this – and here’s why.
The South Park Creators are Geniuses
It’s easy to dismiss South Park as just a bunch of crude jokes and inappropriate humour. As people who have actually watched the series will tell you however, it offers much more than that. This show has been providing thought-provoking critiques of society and relevant topics for years now. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker are funny, clever and talented individuals. When making South Park, they don’t just combine poop jokes with some crappy animation and then call it done. Rather, they combine poop jokes, crappy animation AND intellectual insights on topical subjects. Many of the shows episodes, such as “Raisins” or “You’re Getting Old”, have strong themes and morals that viewers of all ages could learn from.
Over the 25 years South Park has been on air, Matt and Trey have shown us time and time again that they’re very good at what they do. With the right resources, they can repeatedly put out both intelligent and hilarious content. Just thinking about all they could achieve with a new South Park game gets me very excited. But lest we forget, they have made some games before, which brings me to my next point.
South Park Games Have a Great Track Record
Apart from their mobile game, Phone Destroyer (which is pretty damn fun itself), Matt and Trey have worked on two big console titles: The Stick of Truth, and The Fractured But Whole. Both of these are absolutely awesome.
Their first release, The Stick of Truth, provided a very innovative twist on turn-based combat gameplay. This instalment sees the kids of South Park divided into two factions as they play an imaginary fantasy game. The player enters the town as “The New Kid” and are soon forced into playing alongside them. In The Stick of Truth, you don’t fight with over-the-top steel swords or longbows. Instead you use sticks, repurposed road signs and throwing darts. This game doesn’t have your traditional spell casting system either. The kids of South Park use magic by lighting fireworks, spinning dreidels and umm… farting. What Matt and Trey have captured in this game is the beauty of children’s imagination. This makes it an absolute blast to play, and probably one of the most creative role-playing experiences you can find in a video game.
Their second game continued the wonderful trend of kids playing make-believe. The Fractured But Whole abandons the fantasy genre for a new sci-fi superhero setting. This game incorporates the same level of creativity in regards to the characters’ designs, attacks and abilities. However, The Fractured But Whole also added a refreshing tile-based combat system to mix things up. Combined with a more detailed setting and a lengthier campaign, this game turned out to be a direct upgrade from its predecessor.
Both The Stick of Truth and The Fractured But Whole have brought new and exciting ideas to the video game medium. They don’t deserve to be known as “the South Park games”. They should just be seen as good games in general. Matt and Trey didn’t just branch out into this medium as an afterthought. They did so because they believed it would be an exciting new direction for the series, and because they trusted they could do it well. This brings me to my next point.
Matt and Trey Are Actually Good Game Developers
On top of being great comedy writers, creators Matt and Trey have also professed to being big gamers. The two are genuine fans of the medium, and their own gaming experiences have clearly aided them in the development process. You can really tell they have a passion for these kinds of projects. This is obvious when looking at the behind the scenes promo they released for The Fractured But Whole. In it, the duo speak about their desire to learn from their mistakes when developing their second game. Trey even watched Pewdiepie’s entire playthrough of The Stick of Truth on Youtube to get a fan’s perspective on what could be improved. It just goes to show that they genuinely care about making these games good.
I reckon by now I’ve drilled home that a new South Park game will likely be awesome. But an understandable concern someone is whether a title like this would be appropriate for newcomers. Most gamers will not be up to date on all things South Park. Should gamers like these even be looking forward to the series getting a new game? Could someone who’s never even heard of the show still enjoy a game like this? I personally believe they could, and should be anticipating a new South Park game regardless. Allow me to explain.
South Park is Universally Accessible
The great thing about South Park is that it’s the type of show you can pick up at any episode. Unlike Grey’s Anatomy which is now coming up to its 19th season (oh sweet Lord when will it end), it doesn’t have a long and convoluted story to follow. All of its episodes are pretty much one-offs that both newcomers and long-time fans could appreciate equally.
Of course South Park has plenty of its own characters with their own respective backstories. The town itself has gone through quite a lot of changes since season one too. As I mentioned earlier however, the South Park brand is all about making commentaries on modern society. You don’t need to do any research or catch-up to understand the series’ content, because everything they talk about is based on reality. As long as you haven’t had your head in the sand since the day you were born, you’re all good to pick up South Park wherever you want.
A new game will definitely have references to pay homage to the long-time fans. There’s no avoiding that. But outside of these insignificant details, all of its jokes, commentaries and morals are fair game. The South Park games before this were even built with newcomers in mind. In both, you play as the same “New Kid” who is entering South Park for the first time. If you weren’t familiar with any of the show before playing, then that just adds a greater sense of immersion to the experience.
To conclude, I think it’s pretty obvious that a new South Park game should be on everyone’s radar. Creative geniuses with a passion for the medium are developing this game. It is also likely going to cater to both newcomers and fans by covering universally accessible topics. I don’t know when the newest South Park game is coming out, or what it’ll be about. However, I am fully planning on taking time off of work and playing it day 1 – and you should be too.
-Credit: “South Park: Stick of Truth Combat Tutorial” – Uploaded by “Talk Amongst Yourselves” on Youtube.