If you’re a South Park fan, it’s likely that a hefty percentage of your laugh-out-loud moments will have stemmed from the various methods and means through which poor old Kenny met his ever-unfortunate end. South Park’s Kenny has been a victim of many, many deaths of a hilarious nature, and we all have our favorites. Now, with mobile app South Park: Phone Destroyer set for release this year, not only will Kenny continue to enjoy that remarkable skill of being resurrected (almost at will) but he will also find himself killed off in increasingly incredible ways as you can now control how you kill Kenny!
Building on a Solid Foundation
South Park has, of course, previously had a hefty dose of success with PC and console games and as a movie building on the original TV shows. It isn’t surprising that South Park is now following other successful shows by looking to take on the world of mobile gaming in a bid to try to get a slice of a market that is growing at a truly incredible rate and actually forecast to surpass $64 billion in value by 2020 – that’s 40% of the total video games market globally, more than any other console.
South Park has had plenty of experience of quick play-games offered by companies like Good Day Bingo, who offer a slot game called South Park: Reel Destroyer, all of which has shown that people enjoy using the characters from South Park to play heavily themed games in a quick play, fast-paced environment. These slot games have been so successful that South Park can feel comfortable both commercially and critically knowing that the side projects they deploy as spin-offs from the main brand will go down really well.
Take South Park: Stick of Truth, 2014’s role-playing video game, as another example. This game, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, not only earns 85% approval ratings on Metacritic but was also commercially successful, picking up several awards along the way following its release, including Best RPG at tehe 2012 Game Critics Awards. The idea of moving with the times and taking the same humour and ideas into mobile gaming seems like a very logical move from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the legendary creators of South Park.
Taking South Park on a PvP Journey
With this solid foundation behind it, it was clear that Ubisoft’s decision to announce the creation of South Park: Phone Destroyer at E3 2017 was a solid one. The game is already being tested as a beta version, receiving the final tweaks needed to make it a more polished final product when released as a freemium game. What we know so far, though, suggests that the game will avoid some of the aspects that can, to an extent, limit mobile gaming.
Look at MMO games as an example. They boast that key aspect of working together but can prove frustrating when you’re let down by the ability (or not!) of those you play alongside virtually. South Park: Phone Destroyer is able to offer a game that allows players PvP action but also has a dedicated single player game mode.
Of course, like all good mobile games, this game looks like it is able to be enjoyed on the go and allows players to pick it up, have a play during their lunch break, and then pop it back down again until later. There are also enjoyable little tweaks like being able to customize characters to be more badass, and, of course, making sure that you can kill Kenny in the way you want to and have always wanted to since you started watching the show!
Perhaps the final note of interest about this game is that it is not the only iron in the South Park fire, with South Park: The Fractured But Whole game being released by Ubisoft on the 17th October for PC and consoles, meaning that despite the trends that suggest gamers are moving towards smartphone gaming, there is still enough of a remaining audience and revenue stream available for South Park-themed games to continue to be released on these consoles.
With the relative success of both games likely to impact on future releases, it will be intriguing to see which generates the most success in 2017 and 2018, and whether The Fractured But Whole is likely to be the last console and PC South Park game.