South Park: The Stick of Truth

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South Park: The Stick of Truth
SouthParkTheStickOfTruth.jpg
Developer(s)Obsidian Entertainment[1]
South Park Digital Studios
Publisher(s)Ubisoft[2]
Director(s)Chris Brion
Chris Parker
Zane Lyon
Producer(s)Todd Benson
Matthew Singh
Designer(s)Matt MacLean
Charles Staples
Programmer(s)Dan Spitzley
Artist(s)Brian Menze
Writer(s)Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Composer(s)Jamie Dunlap
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s)NA March 4, 2014[3]
AU March 6, 2014[4]
EU March 7, 2014[3]
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player
DistributionOptical disc, download
 
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South Park: The Stick of Truth
SouthParkTheStickOfTruth.jpg
Developer(s)Obsidian Entertainment[1]
South Park Digital Studios
Publisher(s)Ubisoft[2]
Director(s)Chris Brion
Chris Parker
Zane Lyon
Producer(s)Todd Benson
Matthew Singh
Designer(s)Matt MacLean
Charles Staples
Programmer(s)Dan Spitzley
Artist(s)Brian Menze
Writer(s)Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Composer(s)Jamie Dunlap
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s)NA March 4, 2014[3]
AU March 6, 2014[4]
EU March 7, 2014[3]
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player
DistributionOptical disc, download

South Park: The Stick of Truth is a 2014 role-playing video game developed by Obsidian Entertainment in collaboration with South Park Digital Studios, and released by Ubisoft for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and Microsoft Windows.[5] Based on the American adult animated television series South Park, The Stick of Truth follows The New Kid, who has moved to the eponymous town, and becomes involved in an epic role-play fantasy war involving humans, wizards, and elves, fighting for control of the all-powerful Stick of Truth.

The game was originally scheduled for release in 2013, but was delayed by the collapse of its original publisher THQ. The rights were purchased by Ubisoft, and the game further delayed for unspecified changes, before its eventual release on March 4, 2014.[6]

Similar to their duties on the TV show, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote the script for the game, oversaw the project, and provided the voices of the characters. Details about the game were revealed in early December 2011, in the Game Informer magazine South Park special, and its digital version.[7]

Gameplay

Synopsis

Setting

South Park: The Stick of Truth is set in the fictional Colorado Rocky Mountains town of South Park.[8] The player character is The New Kid, dubbed "Douchebag", a silent protagonist who has recently moved to the town. Befriending the local boys, he becomes involved in an epic role-playing fantasy game, featuring wizards and warriors battling for control of the Stick of Truth, a twig that possesses limitless power. The humans, led by Wizard King Cartman, make their home in the Kingdom of Kupa Keep, a makeshift camp built in Cartman's backyard; among their number are paladin Butters, thief Craig, cleric Token, Clyde, Tweek, and Kenny, a young boy who role-plays as a princess. The elves, led by the Elf King Kyle, meanwhile reside in the Elven kingdom in Kyle's backyard, with their members, warrior Stan and Jimmy the bard. The boys conduct their game throughout the town, out into the surrounding forest and even into Canada.[9][10][11]

The Stick of Truth features many characters from the history of the South Park television series, including: Randy Marsh, Stan's dad; Mr. Garrison; the sexual deviant Mr. Slave; Jesus; Mr. Hankey; Mr. Mackey; Al Gore; uncle Jimbo, Tuong Lu Kim, Timmy, Terrance and Phillip, the Underpants Gnomes; and the goth kids.

Plot

The Stick of Truth follows "The New Kid", who has moved with his parents to South Park to escape his forgotten past. Sent out to make friends, the New Kid quickly allies with Butters, Princess Kenny and their leader Cartman, who are role-playing as humans in a fantasy war with the drow elves, led by Kyle and Stan. The New Kid, dubbed "Douchebag", is introduced to the Stick of Truth, a coveted item of unlimited power. The elves attack Cartman's backyard castle of Kupa Keep and take the Stick. Cartman banishes Clyde from the group for failing to defend the stick. With the help of Cartman's best warriors, Douchebag recovers the Stick from Jimmy. That night, Douchebag and several town residents are abducted by aliens. Douchebag escapes his confinement with the help of Stan's dad Randy, and crashes the alien ship into the town's mall.

By morning, the crash has been covered up by the government, with the explanation that a Taco Bell is being built. Douchebag visits Kupa Keep to learn that the Stick has again been stolen by the elves. Cartman tasks Douchebag with recruiting the goth kids, who demand that Douchebag prove he is a non-conformist. Randy agrees to help Douchebag after he infiltrates the Taco Bell and and discovers that government agents are plotting to destroy the town in order to wipe out alien goo released from the ship that turns living creatures into Nazi zombies; an infected person escapes government containment, unleashing the virus on South Park.

That night, Cartman or Kyle (dependent on who the player chooses to follow) leads their respective side against the opposition at the school. Here, the kids learn that it was Clyde who had stolen the Stick in revenge at his banishment. Clyde rallies defectors from the humans and elves and uses the alien goo to create his own Nazi zombies. The humans and elves band together to oppose Clyde, but are too few in number to fight him. At night, Douchebag is awoken by gnomes stealing his underpants from whom he gains the ability to change size at will.

Out of desperation, Douchebag is told to invite the girls to play the game. They agree to help after Douchebag helps discover which of their friends has been spreading gossip, a quest that sees him infiltrate an abortion clinic, and travel across Canada. Flanked by the girls and Star Trek role-players, the humans and elves attack Clyde's dark tower, fighting through his army. Randy arrives and reveals that the government agents have planted a nuclear device in Mr. Slave's anus to blow up South Park, forcing Douchebag to shrink down and enter Mr. Slave to disarm the bomb. Douchebag finally confronts Clyde, and is forced to battle a resurrected Nazi Zombie Chef; Chef is defeated and Clyde decides he is not playing any more.

The government agents arrive, revealing that Douchebag went into hiding to escape them because of his innate ability to make friends on any social network such as Facebook, which the government wanted to use for its own ends. Learning of the Stick's power, the chief agent takes it for himself and bargains with Douchebag to help him use it in exchange for sharing the power. Douchebag refuses, but Princess Kenny betrays the group, using the stick to fight them and ultimately infecting himself with the Nazi virus. Unable to defeat Princess Kenny, Cartman tells Douchebag to break their sacred rule, by farting on Kenny's balls, which he does. The resulting explosion defeats Kenny, and completely cures the town of the Nazi virus.

In the epilogue, as South Park rebuilds, the group retrieves the Stick of Truth, but decide that its power is too great for any person to hold and throw it into Stark's Pond.

Development

Obsidian Entertainment had previously developed a number of role-playing video games (RPG) based on licensed properties, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (2004), and Fallout: New Vegas (2010).[12] As opposed to being contacted by a video game publisher owning a license, Obsidian was directly approached by the creators of South Park.[13] Earlier South Park games included a number of 3D games – such as South Park (1998) and South Park Rally (1999) – where Trey Parker and Matt Stone had little to do with development, and the quality of which they have publicly criticized.[14][15][16]

On March 13, 2012, Obsidian cancelled a "future next gen project", resulting in the layoff of approximately 20-30 employees both from that project and the upcoming Stick of Truth team.[17] On June 4, 2012, they debuted the first trailer at E3 2012. It was also announced at E3 that there would be multiple DLC packs, the first 3 of which will debut on Xbox 360 first and the DLC pack "Mysterion Superhero" would be an Xbox 360 exclusive. It was also announced that the Xbox 360 version would feature Kinect integration, allowing the user to use voice control including the ability to berate Cartman.[citation needed] However, Kinect support was dropped after the game was acquired by Ubisoft.[citation needed] The game went gold on February 12, 2014.[18]

Design

During Obsidian's first meeting with Parker and Stone, it was decided that the game would only be made if it could faithfully represent the show's unique 2D look, which is based on the style of cutout animation.[13] Obsidian provided the creators proofs of concept that they could achieve the South Park look, with which the creators were happy.[13]

The characters' costumes and classes appear to be based on the South Park episode "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers".[19] The costumes and class names also appear in the three-episode story arc formed by "Black Friday", "A Song of Ass and Fire", and "Titties and Dragons". IGN's Max Nicholson said the episode "felt like a sneak peek" for the game, and if nothing else, was "good marketing" in light of the numerous delays to the release of the game.[20]

Delays

On November 5, 2012, THQ announced that the game would be delayed to April 30, 2013.[21] In the gameplay trailer released on December 9, 2012, it was revealed that the pre-order bonus would be the "Good Times With Weapons" pack, which includes the Bulrog Chicken Attack, Cartman's Kick-Ass Sai weapons, and the Samurai costume.[22]

On January 25, 2013, it was announced that Ubisoft had bought the publishing rights to South Park: The Stick of Truth from THQ as the latter had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. After Ubisoft acquired the game, the release date was delayed again, to an unspecified date.[2] On May 3, 2013, a Ubisoft spokesperson confirmed that the game would still be released in 2013, after not being included in the publisher's official release schedule for upcoming games.[23]

On September 26, 2013, it was announced that the game would be released in North America on December 10, 2013,[24] in Australia on December 12, 2013,[25] and in Europe on December 13, 2013.[24] However, on October 31, 2013, it was announced that the game had been delayed again, and was released on March 4, 2014 in North America,[3] March 6, 2014 in Australia[4] and on March 7, 2014 in Europe except in Germany and Austria due to the game containing references to the Nazi Germans.[26]

The delays on South Park: The Stick of Truth are satirized in the "Black Friday" episode trilogy: Cartman denounces the pre-order system in "Black Friday", and Butters is skeptical of the game's proposed release at the end of "Titties and Dragons".

Censorship

The two abortion minigames as well as the anal probe minigame were censored in the Australian version of the game after Australian Classification Board refused to rate the game.[27] Ubisoft EMFA announced in late February 2014 that seven scenes were censored on the console versions of the game, in the Europe, Middle East, and African regions.[28] The PC version is also censored in Germany, Austria, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.[29]

European video game content rating system Pan European Game Information (PEGI) rated the uncut version of the game 18. However, the game's publisher Ubisoft submitted a second revision of the game to PEGI with several scenes removed. The censored version also received an 18 rating and this censored release was distributed in several European countries.[30] Matt Stone called the European and Australian censorship "a double standard".[31]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings(PC) 88.00%[32]
(PS3) 86.38%[33]
(X360) 83.67%[34]
Metacritic(PS3) 86/100[35]
(PC) 85/100[36]
(X360) 82/100[37]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Computer and Video Games9/10[38]
Destructoid8/10[39]
Edge8/10[40]
Electronic Gaming Monthly8.5/10[41]
Game Informer8.5/10[42]
GamesRadar4.5/5 stars[43]
GameSpot7/10[44]
GameTrailers8.3/10[45]
GameZone8/10[46]
Giant Bomb5/5 stars[47]
IGN9/10[48]
Joystiq3.5/5 stars[49]
Polygon8.5/10[50]
The Escapist4/5 stars[51]
PlayStation Universe8/10[52]
Hardcore Gamer4/5[53]
Awards
PublicationAward
2012 Game Critics Awards[54]Best Role Playing Game

South Park: The Stick of Truth has received critical acclaim. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 87.37% and 84/100,[32][36] the PlayStation 3 version 86.00% and 86/100[33][35] and the Xbox 360 version 83.09% and 82/100 respectively.[34][37]

IGN gave the game 9/10, praising its humour and RPG mechanics whilst criticising the similarity between the classes in the game.[48] Game Informer rated the game an 8.5/10[42] and GameSpot a 7/10.[44]

GameZone gave the PC version an 8/10, stating "South Park: The Stick of Truth may be the best video game spin-off in the show’s 17 year history."[46]

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b "Ubisoft confirms capture of THQ Montreal game, sets South Park for '2013'". Computer and Video Games. January 25, 2013. 
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  4. ^ a b "Gamerfeed - South Park - The Stick of Truth Australian". Facebook. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  5. ^ "South Park: The Stick of Truth is coming somewhere in 2013, no lie [Update: Kinect integration, DLC first on Xbox Live]". Joystiq. 
  6. ^ "'South Park: The Stick of Truth' Release Date Delayed; Game Pushed To Later In 2013 by Ubisoft. It was announced view a new trailer on September the 25th, that the game will be released on current-gen platforms only on the 12th October 2013". International Digital Times. March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ "THQ Joins Forces with South Park Digital rt" (Press release). Game Informer. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
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  31. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/mar/07/south-park-matt-stone-trey-parker-stick-of-truth-video-game
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  52. ^ Williamson, Steven (March 4, 2014). "South Park: The Stick of Truth Review - a side-splitting RPG with real character". PlayStation Universe. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
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External links