It’s sometimes easy to forget how much work goes into an episode of South Park. They go through a grueling week of conception, writing, voice work and animation to get a show that’s topical and ready for air. That sounds insane, but what about the South Park games?
The trailer for the documentary “6 Days to Air” goes through what a typical day at South Park Studios is about. Come up with an idea surrounded by writers (including Bill Hader. Yes, that Bill Hader. He has been contributing to South Park since 2009.) which then starts to get story-boarded out on-the-fly before taking a full script to get it voiced, then it finishes up with animators. All of that is within six whole days.
Ubisoft took on South Park Studios when they wanted to develop a game that felt as real as playing through an episode of the hit Comedy Central show. That meant bringing both Matt Stone and Trey Parker together to see how the two worlds could collide. Their first fully fleshed out RPG title was South Park: The Stick of Truth which went incredibly well but the show’s creators felt there was more they could’ve finessed. Even though they had repeatedly told people it was some of the hardest work they had ever done, they were still noodling the concept of a follow-up game with each other. Despite their time-crunches, the frustration of working within a new sphere of entertainment, the duo were convinced they could do a follow-up when the time was right.
Imagine my surprise, when I knew how Parker and Stone felt about the complexities of working on The Stick of Truth, that I was sitting there at Ubisoft’s conference to see them come out and show off their follow-up, South Park: The Fractured But Whole. While I felt that The Stick of Truth was nearly flawless, it goes without saying that creators are never done trying to outdo their last piece of work. It took Parker a few episodes of watching PewDiePie playing their game that the wheels started rolling and he was taking notes on how a sequel could be done. So, by giving the notes and firm reigns within Ubisoft’s more than capable hands, Parker and Stone were able to oversee and build rather than fuss since the hardest work of conception had already been done. Check out the Ubisoft 2016 press conference introduction of the game above and watch as Parker and Stone detail a bit of the changes and differences.
So, rather than Wizards, Rangers and other Fantasy lore — the boys from South Park have moved into playing Superheroes. The element of playing pretend with their friends left the guys with far more to work within in terms of creativity.