South Park Video Game To Be
Censored Heavily Pirated Outside North America
from the whateva,-I-do-what-I-want dept
South Park: The Stick of Truth, the much anticipated RPG personally devised by Trey Parker & Matt Stone to be virtually indistinguishable from an episode of the iconic TV show, has been very close to becoming vaporware over the years, especially when original publisher THQ shut down. But it was rescued by Ubisoft, and now has a firm worldwide release date of next week.
But... not entirely. Kotaku reports on a leaked review guide for the game in Europe noting that Ubisoft decided to remove several 20-second scenes and mini-games for the release in Europe, the Middle East and Africa:
It will surprise no one who knows the show that the scenes are very crass and, if you're a fan, probably executed in a hilarious manner:
This is of course not South Park's most famous censorship dust-up, given their epic battle with Comedy Central over depictions of Muhammad, but it may be the most utterly pointless, because it should be obvious what's going to happen: fans in those parts of the world are going to either pirate North American versions of the game or find videos of all the deleted parts online, or both. This decision is basically giving everyone in Europe, the Middle East and Africa a big reason to pirate by saying "sorry, we refuse to sell you the complete version of our game."
It's the sort of game where people are going to care, too. The game has a long and elaborate script, all read by Trey & Matt in full voice-performance mode, and as silly as the listed scenes might sound to someone who isn't familiar with South Park, they are likely to be integral parts of a well-crafted whole. And while it's getting attention from the gaming community at large, the majority of people buying it are doing so out of their love for the show, and are going to want the whole thing.
There's going to be an ironic reverse effect too: Trey & Matt are famous for making good use of censored elements in their shows, whether by covering them up with hilarious non-sequiter images or replacing them with text that seriously addresses the situation from the point of view of the creators. So customers who get the uncut version are likely to go seek out videos of the censored version, just to find out how the game handled it.
Of course, it's not easy to place blame in this situation — Ubisoft's decision is futile but may also have been necessary as part of dealing with various regulatory and ratings agencies overseas. It's just so amusing, but sad, to see people attempting to divide content between different parts of the world when we're already deep inside an era defined by global connectivity. On the plus side, we may get another hilarious South Park episode about piracy out of it.