South Park RPG censorship feels like a double standard, co-creator says

Matt Stone says what needed to be censored in South Park: The Stick of Truth was actually mild enough to be shown on the TV program.

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South Park co-creator Matt Stone has offered his take on the censorship of newly released console and PC game South Park: The Stick of Truth, saying what was censored in the game was actually mild enough to be shown on the TV show without issue.

"It does feel like a double standard, a little bit," Stone told The Guardian today. "We weren't willing to change the content, but also it doesn't ruin the game--it's like 40 seconds' worth of the whole game. As long as we could make a joke out of the fact that they made us cut this, that was fine."

Make a joke, they did. For the European and Australian versions of the game, during certain censored scenes an image of a statute making a face-palming gesture appears, along with text describing what you would have seen in the uncut version. Some of the censored scenes depicted anal probing and abortion.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is fully uncensored in North America.

Stone said he believes the interactive nature of video games can make some people more "uncomfortable" with certain subjects, as opposed to simply watching an event unfold. This is why what needed to be cut from the game would have been no problem at all on the show, he said.

"There is an interactiveness that makes it different. In movies and television you can do stuff that's morally grey very easily, because you get to show consequences, you get to show reward, but in a video game there's a reason why everything is a Nazi, zombie, or alien--these are pretty clear moral choices," Stone said. "There are things that make people more uncomfortable in an interactive world, definitely. But that said, what we had in the game, we could have shown that on TV pretty easily, especially now."

South Park: The Stick of Truth was recently delayed in Germany and Austria due to the game's use of an "unconstitutional symbol," which we understand to be a swastika. The game launched in North America this week for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. For more, check out what the critics are saying.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

175 comments
Person4
Person4

Unbelievable. On a scale of 1 to Chris Brown, this makes me livid. Having to postpone a game because you're running away from your past?

Leria
Leria

Unconstitutional symbol? Give me a BREAK here, Germany and Austria. Talk about trying to whitewash your history.

getupandboogie
getupandboogie

was a good game. finished in 11 hours doing all sidequests (except the underpants gnomes and crab people, the first glitching on me). However, i dont feel the need to play through it again, and get all the facebook friends (as some are missable! watch out if your doing this!). paid £40, probably not worth that unless you are a big south park fan. Its a great feeling walking round the town and seeing it in an interactive environment. I spent an hour or so just exploring :) 

DocSanchez
DocSanchez

The censorship is egregious. I've never known anything like it. I've seen far worse in films before than the scenes they have taken out, yet they may as well have skipped the whole UFO sequence. I don't like people telling me what I can and cannot watch. This is an 18 game and I will make my own decisions. Anyone who wants to make it for me stop being a coward and justify yourself.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

game is fantastic, 21 hours in and still not done, there is alot of side quests if you explore and find them.


Trey and Matt and Obsidian did an amazing job. Feels like Earthbound/Mario RPG in a south park world. Countries censoring the game is very silly.

I gotta agree with the Giantbomb review

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

I finished the game at 10 hours after doing every sidequest.  The gameplay as deep as a puddle, and in a world where steam exists and you can get tons of quality games for $30 or less, $60 is waaaay too much money for this game.


I'm a broke college student, so I didn't exactly pay for the game, but I did enjoy it, and I'll buy it when it's at a reasonable price.

vadagar1
vadagar1

anyone that finds south park offensive, requires therapy and a head check.....


honestly the only things that I find offensive are REAL horrors that are done to other people that I sometimes see on TV they make my soul ache, some one getting shot, or killed FOR REAL that's offensive


telling jokes about farts is not on my offensive material radar

baldeagle91
baldeagle91

Actually seems like ubisoft lied to Matt Stone and Trey... especially seeing it seems they got told it did not pass the EU boards....

baldeagle91
baldeagle91

We still have no real reasoning given for the censorship other than Ubisoft 'marketing reasons'. This is supported by the fact the PEGI already stated they passed the original un-censored version.


Don't get me wrong the AUS screen was funny.... The EU screen however just didn't make any real sense nor that funny for anyone out the US.... especially seeing it was digging at EU censors despite being ubisoft's decision and not anyone else's.


Sorry Matt Stone but we're still not happy over this....

DWalker131
DWalker131

another 60 bucks aus ain't gonna see from me, gonna import this bad boy lol

notfrylock1987
notfrylock1987

This game is pretty damn great.....I just recommend people who want to play it, wait a few weeks for the price to drop. $60 felt a little steep for this game, seeing as how I'm pretty much about to beat it and I picked it up yesterday afternoon.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Censoring the game in Europe and Australia, what a great idea... cause now the game is gonna bomb there, cause people will pirate the uncut version.

hadlee73
hadlee73

As a trophy hunter, going through the trophy list for this game it looks like I'll be doing a fair bit of farting! lol

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Yeah, this does feel like some bullshit. I'll import the U.S. version at some point within the next year. I'm not going to pay for an incomplete product.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

Then perhaps tv standards need to be stricter. 

electroban
electroban

"image of a statute making a face-palming gesture appears" 

is that how they spell statue?

cratecruncher
cratecruncher

For $59.99, pass.  I'll pick it up in a year for $3.99 on Steam.

toyo75
toyo75

Censorship is a form of insult towards the intellect of the public. I have nothing against classifying a game based on the game's specific target audience (i.e. children, teens, adults).

However, if the ratings board is going to censor a game then why bother implementing a ratings system at all if the people classifying  the games do not trust the maturity of the consumer?


Longini
Longini

Weird that Germans would have a problem with Nazis. Pretty sure they used them first.

IvanKavinski
IvanKavinski

So are swastikas actually illegal in German and Austria?

OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@kozzy1234 wait 20 hours and you're not done everything...  more people should be like us an explore the game instead of rushing to finish off their main quest and wondering why the game is so short.

OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@vadagar1 you did play the game... as a matter of fact have you watched the show, they do a lot more than tell fart jokes...

OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@baldeagle91 I'm pretty sure they cut the content to avoid getting hit with the whatever the max rating is in those countries.    You are right, they could have sold the game uncensored in those countries but ultimately they wouldn't have been rated and their major distribution platform steam wouldn't have carried them.

corgansmate
corgansmate

@DrKill09  Only the console versions got cut, the PC version is still uncensored. 

chasloyal
chasloyal

@PlatinumPaladin  Why import it? Just download it from the States, I specifically set up an American PSN account a couple of days ago to get the uncut version

nullcore
nullcore

@Rayzakk  No thanks. As I see it, you're perfectly free to -not- watch whatever you please. I'd prefer to make my own decisions about what I can't watch on TV.

OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@cratecruncher I'll be laughing when the license gets pulled in a year and you never get to play it.  You know like what typically happens to licensed games..  you keep on keeping on with that waiting for it to be 4 bucks.

Lach0121
Lach0121

@toyo75  Censorship has never really been about protecting people.


It has only been about securing the agenda for those who do the censoring.  Been happening for thousands of years, just look at the word Blasphemy.


To think that outdated mythological ideologies don't have anything to do with it is ridiculous, but a lot of people deny facts to stay "true" to some ideology.


Naughty words, naughty body parts, naughty symbols, naughty gestures.... But look at all the violence that isn't censored. 


I don't see the point in a ratings system if they are gonna censor anyway. I agree with you.


We need to get rid of the leaders that believe in things without evidence, and start valuing people that used evidence based logic.  Until that happens, stupid will continue to run rampant.

gamesareneato
gamesareneato

@IvanKavinski Well if they aren't they should be!  We should all make great efforts to cover up the terrible things we've done!  Quick everyone run from their past!  Rewrite a happier history YEAH LET'S.  Lol.

zombiefroghorde
zombiefroghorde

@IvanKavinski  yup. they pretty much cant be shown for any reason in media even for satire.

Yatterer
Yatterer

@DocSanchez @Tremblay343Uh, here we go again. Downloading something from the internet for free is not theft, it's copying of 1s and 0s. Many studies show "piracy" doesn't affect sales or that it even increases them. Here are a couple of the studies: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/12/05/swiss-government-study-finds-internet-downloads-increase-sales/ 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/digital-piracy-not-harming-entertainment-industries-study-1.1894729
You can google for more.


VincentAntonio
VincentAntonio

@OrgeLambart @vadagar1

Obviously most buyers should be fans of the show, and if you are fan of the show you hardly you will be “offended” by the game. People offended by South Park in general will not buy the game anyway unless they are stupid, so I find all this ridiculous, this game is not for children in the first place, so to whom they are trying to “protect”?

notfrylock1987
notfrylock1987

@djpetitte @notfrylock1987  

I actually didn't. Seeing as how the world isn't that big, its insanely easy to back track and get all the collectibles and facebook friends, while finishing up all the side quest you get. It also helped that....it really didn't matter what class you picked....seeing how you can eventually just equip everything and learn your magic while equipping them with whatever gear and making them over powered. the only difference with classes are the special abilities, other then that, it really doesn't matter.

The game is great, but, $40-$50 would have been a better price.

Dharkanon
Dharkanon

@corgansmate @DrKill09  The PC Version of the game is uncensored in most European countries, but not all - Germany and Austria won't be uncensored on PC.

PFCMike
PFCMike

Religion has nothing to do with it. It is about government control. Most of Europe is quite anti religion compared to the US. However they are much more pro government.

CoquiNegro
CoquiNegro

@gamesareneato @IvanKavinskiThey don't cover it up. They extensively teach about their history and how not to repeat it. Swastikas are actually shown on text books, but public display of them is banned because it is a sensitive issue.

IvanKavinski
IvanKavinski

@zombiefroghorde  Holy crap!  That doesn't seem like a good way to learn from past mistakes...  So do they just kind of pretend that it never happened?

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@chasloyal  I didn't say anything about a day one purchase or playing it straight away. In fact I said I was going to pick it up at some point with the next year.

chasloyal
chasloyal

So do I but if you want to play it straight away what option do you have? If day 1 play means digital download so be it

Lach0121
Lach0121

@PFCMike  You mis-understand me.  I am not stating this particular instance is under "direct" religious influence, although it can easily be argued that it is indirectly influencing as you would have to be daft to think that religion has no influence in governments, even European ones.


My point was that censorship has happened for a very long time, and religion has infact been one of the MAIN culprits of it. It is the very basis of the concept of Blasphemy.


In this country (The States) religion has a very big influence on legislation, and censorship. Although we are supposed to have a clearly defined separation of church, and state. Which we do not. 

Bugthesda
Bugthesda

@IvanKavinski @zombiefroghorde Kind of weird that it's a symbol of good luck that has been used for thousands of years.