The bad news first: South Park's long-awaited RPG, The Stick of Truth, has been delayed four months. "We always wanted the game to feel like you're actually in an episode of South Park," said Trey Parker and Matt Stone. "Getting the game up to the crappy standards of the show has been a real challenge and we're excited to say it's taken way longer than we thought it would." The new release date is set at March 4, 2014 in North America.
Now, the good news: To tide us over, South Park Studios just released the longest look yet of the game, a seven-minute demo that follows your character ("the New Kid") and Butters as they face Jimmy and his minions at a bar called the "Giggling Donkey." It's a true RPG. Obsidion—responsible for the terrific 2010 genre game Fallout: New Vegas—designed it alongside Ubisoft, and the battles will be immediately recognizable to anyone who's played a turn-based game. The difference here being that guns and knives have been replaced by Butters' hammer and exploding farts.
I'm biased. You won't find many worse South Park fan boys than me. But I think the game looks absolutely terrific. The voice work is hilarious for how broad it's forced to be—think of all the jokes that had to be written for different gameplay outcomes!—and the 2D animation finally places you inside South Park's world. There are great little touches too, like pressing "B" to skip Jimmy's stuttering and a classically duplicitous Cartman pouring ketchup around his mouth. And the number of call-backs to previous episodes is unreal. "Good Times with Weapons," "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers," and Professor Chaos all are at least alluded to in the seven minutes.
Matt and Trey are on the record as saying they had nothing to do with previous South Park's previous games. They also hated them. This is different—an effort to make one, hilarious open-world game with a fully mapped-out town and a story worthy of being its own extended episode. I think the delay will be worth the wait.