The next South Park game looks to have a little fun when setting the difficulty level and gender for your character, getting a little topical in the process. Then again, race and gender issues aren’t exactly new territory for the show or society to cover, it just doesn’t usually come into play for your video gaming experience. But in The Fractured But Whole, you’ll find that the race you choose — and later your gender — do have some interesting twists on the game.
First comes race, which according to Eurogamer and Polygon, sets the difficulty for The Fractured But Whole — or at least that’s what the joke wants you to believe. As the game will point out, it’s just a way to inject a little humor into a very real part of society that the show has focused on before according to Polygon:
“Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect combat,” narrator and South Park mascot Eric Cartman says during this segment. “Just every other aspect of your whole life.”
Polygon compares it to John Scalzi’s 2012 piece titled “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is,” only it doesn’t seem to actually effect the game in the same manner he puts forward. While this is sure to rub some the wrong way, it is common territory for the show and confirms that the game is following its predecessor in keeping the spirit of the show intact.
Elsewhere in the game, you’re asked to pick your gender and you end up getting another interesting choice that reflects another hot button topic. As Kotaku points out, you play a few missions before getting to choose your character’s gender in The Fractured But Whole and it also seems to affect the way the game will treat you:
It’s during this session that you’re given the option to choose your gender. If you choose female, Mackay is shocked, saying that everyone was under the impression that you were a boy.
He calls your parents, who confirm that you’ve been a girl “this entire time.” You can then choose to be either a cis female or transgender.
Kotaku and other early impressions seem to indicate that these choices will affect how certain NPC’s interact with you and can determine how much loot you receive while adventuring around. It’s all very preliminary, but it does indicate that there’s a lot to look for in the game once again, especially for South Park fans. It also stands as another example of something the show seems to be able to get away with that another game might end up being dragged for even before its release.