While South Park: The Stick of Truth sold well and was well received by critics, the tribulations of moving the game from failed publisher THQ to Ubisoft likely killed any chance of future downloadable content for the game, developers Obsidian told Polygon this week.
"As far as we know [Ubisoft and South Park] are done," said Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart. But, he added, the developer is reaching out to Ubisoft to see what other possibilities there are for the game.
"I don't know what that could be," he added.
The problem isn't that the game doesn't have the potential for future content or even that there isn't demand for DLC that could extend the story, it's that this particular game was a much more stressful endeavor than many.
Creating any licensed game can be a challenge and often games designed around existing television shows and movies aren't very good.
That wasn't the case with South Park, which Urquhart said he believes is one of the best licensed games, if not the best licensed games ever made.
"It feels like a season of the TV show," he said. "If you go back five years to our first meeting with Trey [Parker] and Matt [Stone], we all said it had to be South Park. It had to look like the show and feel like the show and we did it."
On top of facing the challenges of turning the show into a video game, the developer went through a tumultuous series of changes with publishers. Initially, the game was to be made under South Park Digital Studios with Viacom. But Viacom, which was in the process of ridding itself of Harmonix at the time, wasn't really ready to financially back the creation of a game, Urquhart said.
"After all of the stress of the game getting done and changing publishers I think everyone sort of needed a hug."
So South Park Digital Studios starting pitching to publishers and THQ came to the table to pick up the title.
Then THQ started to dissolve and finally broke apart, with the South Park game going up on the auction block as Obsidian continued its work developing it.
Eventually, Ubisoft picked up the game for a song.
"Ubisoft got it for 15 to 20 cents on the dollar," Urquhart said. "It was technically pretty far along, but there was still a lot of work to get done."
Fortunately, Matt Stone's schedule freed up a bit in the latter part of 2013 and he was able to devote a lot of time to working on the game with the developers, Urquhart said.
"He was doing stuff every day on the project," he said. "The South Park team did an immense amount of work on the game."
Early on there was talk about creating downloadable content for the game.
"We had always talked about it, extending the story through DLC, it was just stuff on paper," Urquhart said. "But it never went beyond talking about it. That was when THQ was involved. When it moved to Ubisoft, there was more pressure to get it done. I think that became the priority, so we got it done."
Once the game was wrapped, Parker and Stone needed to step away from the stress of the game.
And it wasn't just them. Ushering the title through the process of a company break-up while delivering a game that lived up to the expectations of South Park's many fans was daunting.
That's why it's just now, nearly a year after publishing the game, that Urquhart and the team at Obsidian are gently nudging Ubisoft about the game's future.
"After all of the stress of the game getting done and changing publishers," he said, "I think everyone sort of needed a hug."