Ubisoft Discusses Comedy in South Park: The Fractured but Whole
In an interview with PlayStation Blog, Senior Producer Jason Schroeder discussed different aspects of the comedy in South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
He first discusses both Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s involvement in the game and influence on the game’s humor.
“They’re really really involved. We have daily calls and I’m down there a few times a month just constantly trying to make sure that they’re getting the comedy they want into the game and making sure that it all makes sense moment to moment. They’re both gamers, so there’s a really easy common language. However, deadlines and pressure are actually some of the best ways they get their comedy. Separate from the game, they truly make each episode of South Park in just six days. It’s from that pressure that they get their really relevant, really timely jokes. The video game cycle, by comparison, is brutally long for them. My aspiration is to make sure every South Park fan gets an unedited Matt Stone and Trey Parker experience.”
Schroeder also went into the struggle of balancing game mechanics and comedic timing in the game.
“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? Sometimes people will have fun with a joke for five minutes but if you try to build a whole level around it they might feel like ‘okay, I got the joke the first time and it was funny but I’ve been doing it for an hour now’.”
He then explains how he feels to be working on the game as a gigantic fan of the series.
“18 months ago, I got my first hand-delivered paper script while I was down at their office and I was thinking to myself ‘I don’t want to read this, it’s going to be full of spoilers’. It was this very genuine fan moment and I had to say to myself ‘well, I guess it’s my job – I’m going to have to read this thing 100 times over. When you do an E3 demo you play the game over and over and when we left at the end of the week, the team was still laughing at the jokes – it’s just been a tonne of fun. In our theatre yesterday we had one of those really just contagious moments of laughter: someone was laughing and then that made the person sitting next to them start laughing, then our demonstrator cracked up. Tears were running down their faces because the jokes just kept coming and coming.”
It was then discussed how comedy is still a very underutilized genre in gaming that can be used to subvert gamers’ expectations.
“Comedy games definitely have room for growth. One of the things that we’ve discovered is that you can really make people think with a comedy game because you’re able to subvert their expectations. Even the typical way they might do things on a PlayStation controller: 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.”
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on December 6.