Escapist Podcast: 129: South Park: Stick of Truth & Video Game Censorship

129: South Park: Stick of Truth & Video Game Censorship

The week, the team discusses the censorship in South Park: Stick of Truth along with ESO defending its subscription model and the release of Titanfall.

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The lack of a playable female character in the South Park game is an issue, I admit. The only thing I can think that could have influenced that decision is that there are story elements in the game that revolve around your character being a boy and pretending to be a girl. If your character was actually a girl, that particular story element changes in context entirely and the reasons for being asked to do it would no longer really make sense.

This isn't a completely valid excuse though since, if they had designed the story to incorporate the possibility of both genders, it wouldn't be a problem to begin with.

It would also be interesting to see how the main group of boys would react to a girl playing with them from the get go.

Edit: the man abortion piece actually has plot significance... Only in South Park. Never thought I'd say something like that....

as to the comment about that xbox one black screen issue. I had that issue right after the march first update, i fixed it my doing a hard reset and never had it happen again, now Ive heard this is only a temp fix and it can do it again but the hard reset will fix it again, from what i was told it may be an issue brought on by the new patches, and should be fixed for good next patch. but yes unplug the power brick for 10 second and plug it back in and it should be fine for at least a few days to weeks.

I have to vehemently disagree with the perspective that nothing's really lost with the South Park censorship. By saying that this instance of censorship is somehow less important or even acceptable due to the nature of the content or even it's size is tantamount to conceding that there is somehow a line or category of things that are OK to censor. It seems almost two-faced to me to say that you stand against censorship as a principle... except in this case because you personally don't happen to like the content, so it doesn't matter. What exactly is it that makes this instance of censorship 'less important'? To go into similar territory as was discussed in the podcast, why exactly should you expect someone to care about your causes (don't get me wrong, I absolutely agree 100% with everything said in the podcast about women's issues in gaming) when you won't care about theirs, especially when you claim to agree in principle that censorship is bad. If something you like and care about hypothetically gets censored in the future, why should anyone who made the conscious decision that they wanted the Stick of Truth's entire content come to your defense if that were to happen?

I also don't personally like the 'Joe Camel' argument, as that responsibility should fall to the parents/guardians to actually take the time to know what their kids are doing. If they don't put in that effort, well I have a hard time feeling sympathy for their child being exposed something that violates their personal morales.

Does anyone else feel like LotR:KoM is just a re-skinned Dragons of Atlantis?

I don't really understand the no female character issue concerning The Stick of Truth. I'm not an expert when it comes to South Park but isn't the fact that the boys and girls really don't like to play with each other one of the most important aspects of the show? They clearly live in separated worlds so to say. The video game makes this clear too.
So how could a new girl in town make friends with the main characters, who are all boys? Or why would I want to play a South Park game as a character who probably will not have much to do with the main cast of the show? I'm female too and aware of gender issues in many games I play. But when it comes to The Stick of Truth I never thought about this because, well, it's South Park.

Gali:
I don't really understand the no female character issue concerning The Stick of Truth. I'm not an expert when it comes to South Park but isn't the fact that the boys and girls really don't like to play with each other one of the most important aspects of the show? They clearly live in separated worlds so to say. The video game makes this clear too.
So how could a new girl in town make friends with the main characters, who are all boys? Or why would I want to play a South Park game as a character who probably will not have much to do with the main cast of the show? I'm female too and aware of gender issues in many games I play. But when it comes to The Stick of Truth I never thought about this because, well, it's South Park.

I think the issue isn't as much one relating to South Park for most people (Though I could be wrong, as speaking for myself I think there's a lot of potential for humor in them writing a girl interacting with the boys) so much as it is an expectation that an RPG where you can customize your character would include gender as something customizable, and any game with customization that does not provide such an option is essentially (as was discussed in the podcast) implicitly stating that 'women aren't worth the money/time/effort'

It actually makes sense for south park to have no girl option because "the girls" are an actual faction in the game and it's pretty hypocritical to complain about that and just be all "whatever" about something that actually takes away from the game.

It's not censored in all EU countries..all US press seems to say this.

It's uncensored for the PC version, except in Austria and Germany..everyone else can play it without any censoring.

DarkhoIlow:
It's not censored in all EU countries..all US press seems to say this.

It's uncensored for the PC version, except in Austria and Germany..everyone else can play it without any censoring.

For whatever reason, when people talk about this game, they tend to refer to the version that they would be playing had they bought it. At least, that's what it feels like when I read people's conversations about the subject.

I have also seen people answer the question, "Where is this game censored?" with the interpretation of, "Where are censored versions of this game being sold?" in the most general of sense.

-Dragmire-:

DarkhoIlow:
It's not censored in all EU countries..all US press seems to say this.

It's uncensored for the PC version, except in Austria and Germany..everyone else can play it without any censoring.

For whatever reason, when people talk about this game, they tend to refer to the version that they would be playing had they bought it. At least, that's what it feels like when I read people's conversations about the subject.

I have also seen people answer the question, "Where is this game censored?" with the interpretation of, "Where are censored versions of this game being sold?" in the most general of sense.

Well regardless people must know that there is a uncensored version out there that they could play: the PC one (of course if they aren't in the countries mentioned) in Europe.

I know quite well that the majority of the sales will come from the console/censored version, but the game has so low requirements that they could just get it on PC and plug their 360 controller and play it like that if they wanted to.

But when the US press is like "EUROPE VERSION OF SOUTH PARK IS CENSORED EVERYWHERE" (caps intended) then it tends to mislead people.

Just the same as Titanfall where no one mentions the fact that the Playstation people can as well play it on the damned PC instead of an Xbone.

DarkhoIlow:

-Dragmire-:

DarkhoIlow:
It's not censored in all EU countries..all US press seems to say this.

It's uncensored for the PC version, except in Austria and Germany..everyone else can play it without any censoring.

For whatever reason, when people talk about this game, they tend to refer to the version that they would be playing had they bought it. At least, that's what it feels like when I read people's conversations about the subject.

I have also seen people answer the question, "Where is this game censored?" with the interpretation of, "Where are censored versions of this game being sold?" in the most general of sense.

Well regardless people must know that there is a uncensored version out there that they could play: the PC one (of course if they aren't in the countries mentioned) in Europe.

I know quite well that the majority of the sales will come from the console/censored version, but the game has so low requirements that they could just get it on PC and plug their 360 controller and play it like that if they wanted to.

But when the US press is like "EUROPE VERSION OF SOUTH PARK IS CENSORED EVERYWHERE" (caps intended) then it tends to mislead people.

Just the same as Titanfall where no one mentions the fact that the Playstation people can as well play it on the damned PC instead of an Xbone.

I try to look at it from a perspective of being a simple human mistake when it comes to things like this casual podcast. Sites that run official articles with that misinformation, however, are not making that simple mistake and just want click bait articles so people can refer to them, where they got their "information".

I just don't see this particular instance being that.

So, as noted from other commentators, the opinion on the lack of female options in creating your character found in the podcast (re: Stick of Truth) seems to be coming from a place that's under-informed. As a person who played the game through to its entirety, the lack of a female option isn't really due to the "lore" of South Park, as was speculated, but because the game itself has a very gender-centric quest-line where the intent is to infiltrate the girls' club and gain their trust. This includes acting as Bebe's boyfriend, cross-dressing in order to infiltrate somewhere boys aren't supposed to go, and getting the general impression that at least a few of the girls get crushes on the new kid.

While the character is mostly silent (the ending has him speaking lines) and there are already inbuilt female character wig and clothing options in the game, the quest of gaining the girls trust would need to be reworked, lest the narrative arch would be quite puzzling when all is said and done.


Yes Sir U.S version it is for me.

Also on the lack of female options: as someone who has seen the game played to the end, there's actually a few good reasons which I see have already been posted in the thread.

Also Also:

Surly to merely have a female option as a skin over the main character is more offensive. I agree that female centric story lines are sorely lacking in gaming in general and should be addressed, but I think its almost worse to adhere to RPG convention without even thinking about it and inserting a gender option purely to pay lip service.

I was actually angry during the talk of censorship only because that scene IS important to the story. It's not just gross for the sake of being gross and silly (unlike the Randy getting probed scene which was also censored but does in fact fall under "meh, it doesn't make a difference)

As for not having a women. Honest, I am usually making a big fuss about such things, but South Park does get a pass for me. The show emphasizes the difference between boys and girls at that age, the weird separation they both have when they are in grade school. The storyline only makes sense from the perspective of a boy. So while the clothes can be customized, the game is completely linear and aims to tell one story. This is different from let's say a shooter where the story does not matter, or the large amount of stories where gender does not play into it at all and devs really are just lazy. In short, just because there is a dearth of female characters and female-centric stories does not make a male-centric story illegitimate or automatically lazy. Now, if there was only a male option in Magical Diary.....

 

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