South Park - Inteview @ Gamasutra
Gamasutra interviews former BioShock 2 Lead Jordan Thomas about his role in the soon to be released RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth. Here is a sample of the interview.
What was the state of the game when you came on? How contrary were your opinions to the overall design?
It varied a lot by the module of content we’re talking about. The town was already built to fulfill player fantasies of exploring, at will, the town of South Park, and that was a bit closer to my style. It felt like I had more editorial rights, as a player, and that’s the sort of thing I’m attracted to. The dungeons were more traditional, and given that the gameplay’s roots in games like Super Mario RPG and Earthbound were fairly lock-and-key outside of combat, that wasn’t a shock. I was simply hoping I could push for some 2014 sensibilities to creep in there, because ultimately it’s not targeting the same audience as the old-school RPGs that this game is referencing.
What was your role on the project?
I was brought on as a creative consultant, but my actual role is really amorphous. I was sort of a set of fresh eyes meant to play through the whole thing, read the script, and try to identify the places where either the joke wasn’t landing interactively, or identify something about the design that didn’t work for me personally. Then I'd make proposals about what we could do with the time available to improve it.
So I worked with [South Park creators] Matt [Stone] and Trey [Parker] in L.A., and Obsidian as well, in Orange County. I just sort of flew back and forth, playing the game a lot and trying to offer advice.
So how did you get linked into this project? I understand Ubisoft picked this game up from THQ -- did you get pulled in immediately at that point?
No, not at all. Obsidian and South Park had really built the kind of skeleton of this thing long ago, and I came on mainly to help...sculpt the flesh, I guess? Which sounds awful, but there you go. I got linked in through this other, very complicated project I just finished that took itself very, very seriously -- that was kind of part of its brand -- and somebody said “hey, you know, Laurent [Detoc, President of Ubisoft North America] has this opening for someone to work as a design consultant.”
I said “Okay, I’d love to work on something that has a deeply ingrained comedic tone,” just as a palette cleanser, you know? And that’s why I’m here.
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