When players get their hands on the new South Park game, they will have the option of taking the “easy route” by choosing to be white, or challenging themselves if they choose to be black. The Fractured but Whole character creator still has a few more tricks up its sleeves…
The game’s difficulty, although not the combat difficulty, will be affected by the player’s choice of skin colour. The way NPCs react to the character, and their ability to earn money in the game, will be related to the player’s skin colour. The game gets fan-favourite Eric Cartman to inform you reassuringly:
“Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect combat. Just every other aspect of your whole life.”
Yes, it is (a bit of) a gimmick, and not all that shocking given some of the themes in the TV series. The game’s creators are playing with gaming tropes themselves, while slipping some insightful political commentary into something as simple as “designing your character”. It’s a brilliant move and certainly gives me hope that this sequel will surpass the original game.
Opportunities for insult
Aside from the skin colour choice, you also get to pick a gender (from “male”, “female” and “other”) and the game may ask whether you are trans/cis. While this could be lauded as promoting diversity in any other setting, I can almost guarantee this character choice will only lead to more specific insults being hurled at you during the game.
Some who demoed the game have noted that choosing the “other” gender option leads to the character being immediately confronted by rednecks, and having a “harder time” throughout the game.
Just another example of South Park mirroring real-life America in a brutally-frank fashion.
May contain rudeness
In other news, the game has escaped censorship from the European and (shockingly) the Australian gaming review boards. The first game was heavily cut down for these audiences, the game filled with placeholders and textual descriptions of the graphic content we were not permitted to see. The Australian version even used a cartoon koala crying in the placeholder images to show how special the Aussie audiences were to them.
The sequel will be uncut, which could potentially mean that the game’s graphic content has been toned down. While we can’t say for sure exactly how offensive the new game will be, you can at least get some of the rude bits relayed through a very dry, formal censorship board’s report.
The European Software Rating Board (ESRB) have rated the game as “Mature 17+” and have published their summary of the offensive topics:
“Blood and Gore, Mature Humor, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence”
So, all good so far….
Then we get a rating summary based on specific contents…. which is just hilarious:
“…one extended sequence (in a strip club) depicts a character performing a lap dance while emitting flatulence; one scene depicts a towel character performing an obscured sex act on a man in an alley; another scene shows a man watching security monitors and repeatedly reaching for lubrication behind his desk…”
Yep, I can imagine how that will pan out and it sounds blissfully disgusting! The game’s marketing team can take a rest now – the ESRB have done half of the work!
The game is due for release (finally) on 17 October 2017, when we get to see exactly which towel character performs a sex act in an alley.