Back in 2006, South Park finally made itself relevant to me with its World of Warcraft episode. In the episode, the boys take up the MMO and try to recruit Butters to join them. He refuses, explaining that he has simpler tastes, preferring to play Hello Kitty Island Adventure instead.
It’s a throwaway line, meant to elicit nothing more than a sneer from the gamers watching that Butters would dare admit aloud to playing something so childish. But though the game sounded exactly like a PlayStation 2 Japanese-only launch title or something that was on a CD-ROM for Windows 98, it didn’t actually exist.
Announced late last month, Sanrio, in collaboration with Sunblink, is making an actual factual Hello Kitty Island Adventure game exclusively for the Apple Arcade. But before you leap from your seat to cry, “South Park did it!” be advised that it’s actually just a coincidence.
“Sanrio has no affiliation with South Park,” said Jill Koch, SVP of marketing, sales and business development at Sanrio, during a press preview of the game. “Hello Kitty Island Adventure is basically the perfect title for this multi-player, island centric game that we created. But yeah, no tie-in or affiliation with South Park.”
The answer seems obvious. Of course Sanrio executives wouldn’t want the wholesomeness of Hello Kitty anywhere near South Park, of all things. But it’s definitely worth asking if Hello Kitty Island Adventure is an unintentional way of adding a cute punchline to a joke made 16 years ago.
The game itself seems quite adorable — a mix of Disney Dreamlight Valley and Animal Crossing but with Sanrio characters instead of emotionally unavailable cats.
During the preview event, I saw that you’ll be able to explore a tropical island and make friends with Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, and more, building your new best friends houses that you can then decorate according to their tastes. If you’re in need of a twee life sim (yes!), Hello Kitty Island Adventure seems like it’ll scratch that itch.
Hello Kitty Island Adventure launches exclusively on Apple Arcade on July 28th.
Correction July 14th, 12:01 PM ET: An earlier version of this story misattributed a quote from Jill Koch to Chelsea Howe.