South Park has never been one to worry too much about offending people, but at least they’re fair about it: they try to offend everyone.
But it rarely uses offence for its own sake (although its writers clearly enjoy the reaction); there’s normally some kind of point being made at the same time, and a feature in a new video game, South Park: The Fractured but Whole, is particularly thought-provoking.
According to Eurogamer, you create an avatar at the start of the game, selecting hair colour, clothing and skin colour. And the latter decision is particularly important – since the darker your skin colour, the more difficult the game becomes.
It also has a bearing on the amount of money you start the game with, and affects how other characters speak to you.
When you make your choice, Eric Cartman tells you: "Don't worry, this doesn't affect combat. Just every other aspect of your whole life."
Of course, this is a South Park game, so this biting comment on society is to be found within an RPG where you play the New Kid, aka the ‘farting vigilante’, a young superhero attempting to rid Colorado of bad guys using his superpower of explosive farts. Classic.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are writing and overseeing the game, while French game company Ubisosft is developing and publishing it – it comes out on 17 October on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
The controversial show is about to enter its 21st season, which is due to premiere in the US on 13 September. Parker and Stone recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the difficulty of working in a post-Trump political world.
His rise to power coincided with the show’s last season; its ten episodes had an overarching theme of Garrison as Trump. However, it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would eventually be elected president, allowing Garrison to return to form. However, clearly, that didn’t happen, which caused problems for the writers with Parker saying:
“Last year was such a headfuck, and we were so happy when it was done. And we just wanted to go back to the kids, which we still do. But it’s also like, you can’t avoid [Garrison as Trump]. So, we are not actively putting it in, but we are not actively leaving it out. It’s the world we live in.”
Stone added: "Last season we really tried to do a serialised thing, and it was just really hard. In some ways it was cool and in some ways it trapped us. The way we do that show is not compatible with full serialisation. We're going to do the first show (this season) and maybe don't have to sitcom wrap it up at the end. The first 18 seasons of the show, we spent so much time thinking how do we get this back to resolution. And no TV shows do that anymore. You're so used to watching shows now where it doesn't end at the end, it teases the next one."
You can check out the trailer for season 21 below: