The soon-to-hit-shelves January issue of American magazine Game Informer reports that Obsidian Entertainment is working on an ambitious new role-playing game based on the television show South Park.
A renowned developer of RPGs based on existing licenses – past titles include Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Fallout: New Vegas – Obsidian is designing South Park: The Game to look and feel as much like the show as possible, going so far as to keep its more-or-less two-dimensional format.
Fans of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s adult cartoon, currently in its 16th season on Comedy Central, will be happy to learn that the duo is heavily involved with the game’s development. They’ve provided full access to the show’s immense library of visual assets, have authority over key game design decisions, and are writing the dialogue and voicing the game’s characters.
Parker and Stone have never made secret their love for games. The often controversial animators have dedicated entire episodes of South Park to games and game consoles. Fan favourite episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” which was created in collaboration with World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment, sees Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny patrolling the game for a “griefer” (someone who takes pleasure ruining games for others) who repeatedly kills the boys’ avatars just for fun.
The twist here is that Parker and Stone will now use a game to reference popular episodes of their show. Based on art that appears with the Game Informer story, players will encounter the Underpants Gnomes, ManBearPig, Satan, and other recurring South Park characters.
According to an article overview posted on NeoGAF, the game begins with players stepping into the shoes of a new kid in South Park who wants to fit in. He joins a live action role-playing game in which kids take on the roles of wizards, paladins, and rogues. Before long, becomes more than just a game.
The action will share similarities with Nintendo’s popular Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi RPG series, with players able to initiate combat and then attack and defend in battle using timed button taps. Obsidian is also taking inspiration from Final Fantasy, borrowing weapon augmentation and creature summoning concepts from Square Enix's epic fantasy RPG franchise.
This isn’t the first game to be based on South Park. The show has spawned several middling interactive entertainments over the years, from 1999’s wretched South Park for PlayStation to 2009’s fun but forgettable South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! for Xbox Live Arcade.
But there's reason to hope this new project will fare better. Obsidian's strong track record developing compelling RPGs and handling beloved licenses should result in a rich, authentic, and multifaceted experience, while Parker and Stone's involvement ought to ensure the game retains the TV show's acerbic sense of humour.
Look for South Park: The Game in the second half of 2012 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC.