A new #video game based on the long-running Comedy Central series "##South Park" is gaining attention for an unusual feature related to its difficulty setting. Like most games, users will be able to decide how hard they want the game to be. In a twist, however, the character's #Skin Color gets darker as the difficulty level increases.

The apparent social commentary by the creators of "South Park: #The Fractured But Whole," which is set for a 2018 release, was not lost on gaming commentators and social media users. Eurogamer was among the first outlets to report on the unique option, calling it a "pretty effective" method of calling attention to "racism in modern society."

Cartman, one of the popular cartoon's central characters, reportedly tells players that their choice "doesn't affect combat, just every other aspect of your whole life."

Ubisoft, the game's developer, confirmed that while skin tone selection is not the official difficulty screen, users' choices will have an impact on gameplay.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The company explained that factors such as the amount of money characters will make and "the way other characters speak to you" will be affected by the skin tone.

Gender-related choices

Race is not the only variable players will encounter before the game starts. Eurogamer notes there are also several gender options, though any choice other than male will lead to additional questioning from Mr. Mackey, South Park Elementary's guidance counselor. Choosing 'female' or 'other' will reportedly prompt Mackey to contact the character's parents for confirmation. The reaction appears to be a reference to an earlier South Park-based game, "The Stick of Truth," in which characters could only be male.

Additionally, players can create characters to be either cisgender or transgender. A preview video reveals these and other features of the game.

Advertisements

A number of Twitter users shared their thoughts on the options.

Of course, this is hardly the first time the forces behind "South Park" have caused a stir with their irreverent brand of social activism.

'South Park' controversies through the years

The cartoon, which first aired 20 years ago, has repeatedly used its cast of characters to address social and political issues, leading to both positive and negative attention. Show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have encountered protests and boycotts from all sides by tackling, either directly or indirectly, topics including religion, sex, vulgarity, and racism.

In a 2011 Hollywood Reporter interview, however, Parker said his goal is not merely to create controversy.

"When someone goes, 'Oh, this group is really pissed off at what you said,' there's not a part of my body that goes, 'Sweet!' That means I did it wrong. I'm just trying to make people laugh," he said.