Here's a very odd thing. South Park: The Stick Of Truth will not be available in Germany or Austria on Friday after all. Because Ubisoft left the swastikas in. A note on the German Steam page for the game states, "The Stick of Truth contains an unconstitutional symbol which means that we are unfortunately not able to release the game on the German and Austrian market at this time." Which is all the more odd, since Ubi told VG247 last week that they were already on top of this.
German law prevents the depiction of Nazi symbols via Strafgesetzbuch section 86a. It states that "symbols of unconstitutional organisations" may not be used, and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine. So when reviewing the game last week, and noticing the rather abundant use of swastikas on the game's many Nazi zombies, VG247's Dave Cook smartly got in touch with Ubi to find out what was happening there. They replied saying,
"With regards to the German version, all Nazi symbols have been removed from the game in accordance with German law."
That made sense. So it's very strange to see today that the German Steam store page says that the game isn't coming out Friday as planned. The statement in full reads:
"Notice: We’re sorry to inform you that we are unable to deliver your pre-ordered version of South Park: The Stick of Truth on March 6th as initially planned. The German and Austrian version of South Park: The Stick of Truth contains an unconstitutional symbol which means that we are unfortunately not able to release the game on the German and Austrian market at this time. This concerns all versions/platforms of the game. There is no need to amend or cancel your pre-order. A new release date of South Park: The Stick of Truth for the German and Austrian market will be announced shortly, and we will ensure that your order is delivered to coincide with this new date.
We are extremely sorry for the additional waiting time, and thank you for your understanding."
German site Gamestar reports that German wholesalers are claiming that the physical versions shipped to them are the uncensored US version, although this might be due to a mistake made in the disc pressing plants, and seems to relate to the PS3 disc. It's hard to see how that relates to a digital build, but of course this aspect is currently based on forum rumours rather than anything concrete.
South Park is out now in the States, tomorrow in Australia, and most of Europe on Friday. We reviewed it over here, and found it to be a potentially good game, in need of a lot of balancing fixes.
We've contacted Ubisoft to try to find out what's going on.
Thanks to reader Markus for the tip.