In a time when racial tension is in a persistent tumultuous state, South Park: The Fractured But Whole uses race to determine the game’s difficulty.

When creating a character, players will notice that the title’s difficulty slider will increase depending on the skin color of the gamer’s avatar. During character creation, Eric Cartman acts as a narrator and informs users that the difficulty will not affect combat, but will change every other aspect of gameplay, such as the way other characters speak to the player-character or the amount of money players earn from quests. In addition to race, the protagonist’s gender will also impact the way other characters interact with them. Cisgender and transgender are available as options when creating the character, both of which will result in unique interactions from South Park’s inhabitants.

While these methods of determining a title’s challenge level may seem irreverent, gamers should remember that South Park’s creators have never turned away from shock factors, especially when poking fun at social problems. South Park is certainly not for those who are easily offended, as the show—and games—have a foundation built on not only pushing boundaries, but actively crossing them.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is the sequel to 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth. The game is developed by Ubisoft, Ubisoft San Francisco, and South Park Digital Studios LLC and published by Ubisoft. With an October 17, 2017 release date, the title will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

South Park: The Stick of Truth released in 2014 for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One to positive reviews from critics. Praised for a successful adaptation of a television show to a video game, the title stayed true to South Park’s irreverence, inside jokes, and references to episodes of the show’s many seasons.

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Dylan Warman

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