It was announced late last year that Obsidian Entertainment, the team known best for creating sequels to games originally developed by other studios, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Fallout: New Vegas, would be developing a title for yet another existing franchise: South Park. It’ll be great to see what Obsidian can do with the property, considering how bad ‘South Park’ games have been in the past, for the most part. As a reminder, I thought it would be fun if we looked back at the history of South Park games. Join me, Dear Reader.
Original release date: 1998
A comet is heading towards South Park, causing mutant turkeys, killer cows, aliens, giant clones, living toys, and robots to flock to the small Colorado town. The player controls Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny, as they defeat these evil forces and stop the comet from landing before it’s too late.
The first game released based on the TV series, South Park was a first person shooter powered by the Turok 2 game engine and released by Acclaim. What a piece of shit this game was. It had its funny moments, sure, but the gameplay itself was fucking terrible. I haven’t played this since it came out, but I remember a lot of running around a very barren looking South Park, throwing snowballs at turkeys in the first level, and a very similar take on that formula being repeated ad infinitum.
Chef’s Luv Shack
Original release date: 1999
In Chef’s Luv Shack you play as one of the four main characters from the show, and then the game switches between questions and minigames, with a minigame proceeding every thee questions. Essentially, the game is just Mario Party, the difference being that Mario Party is actually really fun to play (especially when drunk), whereas Chef’s Luv Shack just feels like a really shitty clone. Again developed and published by Acclaim, this game was just a complete waste of time.
South Park Rally
Original release date: 2000
Here’s Acclaim at it again. Starting to see a pattern between Acclaim and shitty South Park games yet, Dear Reader? To be fair, at least this time Acclaim is only on publishing duties, with the development being done by Tantalus Interactive, who gave us the excellent Wipeout series, but just couldn’t give us anything good here.
In South Park Rally, the Mayor of South Park has decided to stage a rally series that will take place through the heart and outskirts of the town. The four boys are all playable, and characters like Mr. Hankey, Saddam Hussein, and the Underpants Gnomes also feature. This game stole from the Mario franchise yet again, this time choosing to be a blatant rip off of Mario Kart. Like Chef’s Luv Shack before it, don’t go with the clone, go with the original. There’s a reason Mario Party and Mario Kart are still so popular today.
The problem with all 3 South Park games so far is that they’re all such obvious cash-ins, rushed into development to make as much money as possible, possibly tied to a fear that the show itself was a flash in the pan, and it needed to have as much money pumped out of it as it could before the public lost interest in the series. Of course, with 15 seasons of South Park over and plenty more to come, I guess that’s not the case. Anyways, moving on…
South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play!
Original release date: 2009
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, had very little involvement in the three games released by Acclaim, aside from some voice acting. They were very disappointed with the quality of the games, and have publicly criticised Acclaim and how shit a job they did. Wanting to have a more hands-on approach to ensure better quality, they formed a small group called South Park Digital Studios, to work on new South Park games, amongst other things. The first title coming out of the studio, 9 years after South Park Rally, was South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play!
Released onto Xbox Live Arcade as a co-production with Doublesix and Xbox Live Productions, this game is again ripping off another genre, the very crowded “tower defense” genre, but with the larger involvement of the creators, and the use of memorable moments and characters from the show, the game turned out to be pretty damn enjoyable. Plus, unlike the show, the game had uncensored swearing! A few “fucks” and “shits” can go a long way, especially for someone like me who is easily amused sometimes.
Due to be released: Spring 2012
The other South Park game due to be released in 2012. Tenorman’s Revenge is going to be a platformer where the player controls the four main characters, and the goal is to battle Scott Tenorman (who fans will remember was tricked into eating his own parents by Cartman in the classic episode Scott Tenorman Must Die) and his army of gingers, as the kids travel through time. Little else is known so far, aside from the fact that like South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! before it, the game will be on Xbox Live Arcade, and South Park Digital Studios will be co-developing with Xbox Live Productions, and Other Ocean Interactive. Keep an eye out, Dear Reader, for this one soon!
South Park: The Game
Due to be released: Second half of 2012
This is it. This is the big one. Trey and Matt are gonna make damn fucking sure they get the South Park game they want, and the one that the public deserves. Unlike the usual case of a developer being approached by a publisher who owns a license they want a game made for, Trey and Matt approached Obsidian Entertainment directly, looking to turn the world of South Park into a role playing game (RPG). During Obsidian’s first meeting with the creators, it was decided that the game would only be made if it can faithfully represent the show’s basic, cutout look. Obsidian provided the creators proofs of concept that they could achieve the South Park look, which the creators were happy with. Trey and Matt will be writing the script, as well as voicing the characters.
Players will assume the role of a new kid in South Park attempting to fit in and be accepted by others. The main character will be a silent protagonist and fully customisable. Cartman will act as the player’s guide and provide a choice of five classes to pick from: Adventurer, Rogue, Paladin, Wizard, and Jew (a class made up by Cartman).
This isn’t Obsidian’s first goat fuck. They’ve developed several high profile RPG’s in the past, including the underrated Alpha Protocol, so there’s high hopse for what they will be able to do here. Personally, I am excited as fuck for this game and can’t wait to see if Obsidian pull it off. I have a good feeling.
So what do you think, Dear Reader? Are you excited for this one, or do you think it’s going to be a piece of shit? Or did you think some of the previous games actually weren’t that bad? Drop me a line in the comments, let me know what you think.