South Park Developer Interview: Cracking a Good Gag in The Fractured But Whole

By Sam Quirke, 1 year ago
One of the more entertaining aspects of Ubisoft's E3 show was the new material from South Park: The Fractured but Whole. Of course, it's not hard to impress – when you're just watching the footage on screen, it's no different from an episode of South Park. If that's your thing, of course you are going to laugh.

How would one go about translating that into a video game, however? In a recent PlayStation blog, producer Jason Schoeder discussed the process, and in particular how they have to translate Matt Stone and Trey Parker's frenetic ideas for 20-minute episode into workable concepts for a 10+ hour game. He says that the video game development cycle is, by comparison, "brutally long" for the show's creators:

We always want to try and make sure to get every joke in that we can. Sometimes we have to ask the guys ‘okay, do you want that to be a gag or do you want it to be a whole system? Should we build this in as dynamic part of the game or do want it to just be something that happens?'
South Park: The Fractured but Whole screenshot

On the subject of comedy games in general, Jason sees the opportunity for growth, particularly through subverting player's expectations. In one colourful example he mentioned a scenario in the game where "we say ‘pull the triggers and start rotating the analogue sticks’ and then they see on screen that the kid is moving his butt around.” Personally, that's exactly what I'd expect to happen in a South Park title.

As for South Park's infamous controversy, a staple of pretty much every episode, Schoeder had this to say: “There’s hopefully going to be some stuff in there that people will say ‘how did that make it through classification?'”.

We'll find out for ourselves when South Park: The Fractured But Whole arrives on Xbox One on December 6th.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been a Newshound since 2016. He's also been gaming long enough to know what a text parser is. When not hopelessly lost in the latest open-world epic, Sam is busy devouring books and podcasts or trading Pokémon with his wife.