As with many videogames, South Park: The Fractured But Whole includes a slider that players can use to adjust the difficulty level. But as reported by Eurogamer, this slider doesn't just make the game easier or harder, it also adjusts the color of your character's skin: The higher the difficulty, the darker your skin tone.
Interestingly, it's Cartman, normally the most wildly (if obliviously) offensive character in South Park, who points out the impact of the change. "Don't worry, this doesn't affect combat," he says during the character creation process. "Just every other aspect of your whole life." Ubisoft confirmed that aspect of it, saying that the difficulty slider impacts the amount of money players are given, and how they're spoken to throughout the course of the game.
It's a clever bit of commentary on the realities of racism, although how it will hold up over the course of the entire game (which is to say, whether it will devolve into an excuse for easy punchlines) is an open question. I do feel reasonably safe in predicting that, similar to last year's addition of randomly-assigned genders in Rust, tying skin tone to the difficulty level will make some South Park fans thoroughly unhappy. Whether or not that's a bad thing is, I suppose, a matter of perspective.
The Fractured But Whole will also give players the ability to select their gender, and also cisgender or transgender identity. All of that is tied into the previous South Park game, The Stick of Truth, by Mr. "M'kay" Mackey, the South Park guidance counselor, who confirms your choices in phone calls to your parents and a few asides that basically acknowledge that nobody was paying much attention to you the last time around.
We spent our own time with South Park: The Fractured But Whole's opening hours, and through that much of it, it comes off as "a far better RPG than the first." It's set to come out on October 17.