A NeoGAF user has received the January issue of Game Informer and has seen fit to post information regarding South Park: The Game in the works at Obsidian and to be published by THQ. You can assume that going below the break may contain a few spoilers, so don't look below if you want to wait on your copy of the magazine to arrive in the mail.
Gameplay, story, classes, battles
According to what the GAF user gleaned from the crisp, new pages, South Park: The Game will be the first title that SP creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have actively participated in, and as previously reported, have written the script and all the dialogue. The 2D art in the game is also hand illustrated and hand animated just like the show, and examples of the art in game posted in the magazine include: A Gnome Mine (underpants gnomes?), UFO Crash Site, Gnome/Crab People D.M.Z, and Christmas Town.
The character gamers will play in the RPG will be the "silent protagonist" in it, as Parker himself has always preferred this when playing the genre. The main character will also be fully customizable, and a smartphone he or she carries around will be the primary game menu. It also contains a Facebook-styled app which shows the number of friends you have made - one of the main goals of the game - and it also shows the player how they stand, currently, with the local kid factions in town.
As the new kid in town, the main goal is to fit in and be accepted by your peers in South Park, and the player is introduced to the various children in town by participating in a role-playing game which - true to SP style - will lead to a real-life adventure (remember The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers?).
There are five classes to choose from: adventurer, paladin, rogue, wizard, and a fifth yet to be announced which has been "made up" by Cartman. You can see teaser class artwork over on Game Informer's site. Cartman will be the player's guide when choosing a class.
When battling, players can perform critical hits, and according to the article, battles will be along the same vein as Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi games, but like in turn-based RPGs or tabletop games, if the player initiates the combat, they will be the first to attack and vice versa. Players will push X for melee attacks, with multiple presses resulting in multiple hits, and timed inputs will occur for defense and reduced damage.
Encounters will be similar to classic Final Fantasy games, and presented from a side view. Battle shots shown in the GI issue depict the player and one other party member (Cartman, Kyle, or Butters), fighting two to five enemies (Girls, Gingers, Hippies, Fantasy-style, and Goth).
Obsidian has also inputted a dynamic camera so that at certain angles, the player isn't forced to watch animations play out. Annimated cut-scenes will also be skipable, as Parker hates it when you are forced to sit through one.
All enemy encounters will be visible on the game's map, and when completing quests or besting enemies, players can earn monetary rewards, gain experience, and use consumables - standard RPG fare. One consumable is soda, which is a health potion, while Tweak's famous coffee can be used for haste. Weapons range from melee to ranged, and there's even the lightning-powered "Okama Gameshpere" which is a magic item.
For weapons, the game will implement a Final Fantasy Materia-like system to use in order to apply augmentations such as electricity, fire, and poison. Players will also be able to use a Summon System but, no one involved in the game is ready to talk about it yet.
The game's humor, according to Parker, will have a nod and a wink to games he and Stone have played in the past, but it will not focus entirely on "lampooning" as this has already been done. Instead, the humor will be more indirect, and poke fun at how massive and verbose RPGs can be at times.
The game is being built using Obsidian's Dungeon Siege III engine, and the studio developed a "dynamic lip-syncing tool" to help out with any changes to the script. The firm was also handed 15 years worth of South Park assets from the show, along with an approved batch of colors and textures.
Collectibles in the game will be present throughout the world, such as Chinpokomon dolls and a magazine. Chinpokomon dolls will be varied, just like the ones from the show that were super toy number one and gave the boys happy feelings.
Other bits and bobs
The game will not contain any platforming, as jumping tried early on in development "didn't seem right,"
Parker and Stone also mention in the article that when making a comedy-driven game, it has to be just as good as its dialogue. They used Portal 2 as an example, stating that if Portal 2's dialogue was implemented in to a less-than-stellar game, it wouldn't have been as good.
Another example of how much input the duo have in the game, is an idea they axed that Obsidian came up with. The idea was a quest where the player goes into a cave to fight a giant bat that Ike is riding. Parker and Stone felt the quest was "generic videogame" fare instead of South Park, so to help Obsidian understand their vision for SPTG, Parker and Stone instead suggested a questline where the player is tasked with acquiring Kung Pao Chicken from City Wok.
According to both Parker and Stone, the learning curve when creating this game was much larger than anything the duo have ever done, and this includes their Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon.
But, it appears it was a labor of love for the writers, especially since Parker has been a lifelong gamer who prefers RPGs due to his preference for single-player games. He apparently doesn’t like, or understand MMOs, and his favorite game is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Matt Stone, on the other hand, seems to prefer open-world games like Arkham City, Infamous, Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and even the odd sports game. Calling himself more of a "button masher" style of player, he mentioned he loved the Serious Sam games because he liked "to shoot shit and blow shit up", but now he is more into Arkham City and FIFA, because he got tired of walking everywhere in RPGS.
Because of the duo's gaming preferences, it sounds as though South Park will contain bits of everything the fellas like to play, but will remain an RPG at its heart, without being overly linear.
South Park: The Game is slated for release in the second half of calendar 2012 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.