South Park: The Fractured But Whole is the follow-up to The Stick of Truth, and this time the boys are giving superhero movies a satirical roasting. They've ditched medieval fantasy, and replaced it with spandex and superpowers - something that will have a delightful impact on both gameplay and customisation. As the constantly ridiculed New Kid, you're forced to choose a side when Cartman's Coon and Friends supergroup is torn asunder into all-out Civil War (aping the Marvel movie that'll be a year old by the time this game is out, but oh well). Here's everything we know about this explosive follow-up from Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Bottom line: we can barely contain all this info on the newest South Park game.
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- South Park: The Fractured But Whole release date: October 17, 2017
- Formats: PS4, Xbox One, PC
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Price: $59.99 / £54.99
South Park: The Fractured But Whole's release date is October 17 2017
TFBW's planned December 6, 2016 release date got delayed until early 2017, and now it's been confirmed as October 17, 2017. The Stick of Truth was also notably delayed, and the end product was worth the extra wait, so hopefully Stone, Parker, and co. are making the most of the prolonged development time.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole trailer tells the story of a superhero blowout
In the childhood version of what must've been a Disney executive meeting at one point or another, tempers rise as Coon and Friends try to hash out the logistics of the sequels, spinoffs, and reboots in their Cinematic Universe. The core of the superhero team - The Coon (Cartman), Mysterion (Kenny), Human Kite (Kyle), and Toolshed (Stan) - can't reach an accord on movie phases or Netflix series, so they split into two factions led by The Coon and Mysterion.
All the while, Professor Chaos (Butters' maniacal, Dr. Doom-esque alter ego) is up to more of his diabolical schemes, serving as the big bad villain in charge of legions of foil-clad underlings and weaponized hamster balls. It's up to the New Kid (that's you) to unite the heroes and rid South Park of evil, using your fighting prowess and supernatural sphincter to beat up anyone who gets in your way. In TFBW, you'll be able to customize your New Kid as a boy or a girl (which wasn't an option in The Stick of Truth), which could lead to slightly different dialogue depending on your gender. If you choose to play as a girl, you should probably expect Cartman to constantly profess how girls are super smart and super funny (get over it).
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South Park: The Fractured But Whole gameplay looks greatly improved, with tactical combat and time-distorting farts
The Stick of Truth nailed the classic, poignantly crude comedy of South Park, but its turn-based combat could grow a bit stale as the game went on. TFBW mixes things up with added depth, eschewing the one-side-versus-the-other battles of traditional Final Fantasy for tactical, turn-based grid battles akin to RPGs like Fire Emblem. Your party members will have to move into position to line up attacks or take cover behind bits of the environment, and certain abilities can push or pull your enemies (or allies) around the arena to create chain reactions or set up moves in advance. Pushing your opposition around can also deal extra damage, like slamming a drunken Randy Marsh into the side of his car.
In terms of magical spells, your enchanted butthole can rip farts so potent, they can actually tear the fabric of time, letting you rearrange the turn order and gain a massive advantage (disregarding the inability to breathe through your nose). As with Stick of Truth, combat incorporates timed button presses for maximum effectiveness, a la Paper Mario. And, like any self-respecting RPG, you'll be collecting scads of loot and crafting some of your own.
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South Park: The Fractured But Whole classes cover a range of superhero archetypes
Whereas The Stick of Truth played off the conventional RPG holy trinity of Warrior, Mage, and Thief classes (plus, inexplicably, the Jew class), TFBW's superhero theme opens the potential class archetypes wide open. Thus far, we know about the Brutalist (melee bruiser), Blaster (ranged damage dealer), and Speedster (nimble striker), with talk of additional options including Elementalist, Gadgeteer, Mystic, Cyborg, Psychic, Assassin, Commander, Netherborn, and Karate Kid.
After customizing the New Kid's heroic look, you can tweak the specifics of your character sheet - and as the game progresses, you'll have the option to mix and match abilities from multiple classes to hybridize your fighting style. As for your harrowing origin story, well, six-year-old you had the misfortune of walking in on your parents having sex. On that day, everything changed (somehow), and you started on your path to upholding all that is good and just in South Park.
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South Park: The Fractured But Whole collector's edition includes a Season Pass
It wouldn't be an Ubisoft game without way too many versions available for purchase, and TFBW follows suit with Standard, Gold, Gold Steelbook, Collector Standard, and Collector Gold editions. Goodness. The Collector's Editions come with a Coon figure and bonus artwork, but they also clue us into the existence of a Season Pass. If you'll recall, The Stick of Truth also had a Season Pass for a somewhat paltry selection of DLC costumes, so hopefully TFBW will have more expansive content, like additional powers or superhero classes. As a nice bonus, Ubisoft is including a free copy of South Park: The Stick of Truth for PS4, Xbox One, or PC with every copy of TFBW (which you could theoretically start playing now if you pre-order). And speaking of pre-orders, placing one will grant access to "Towelie bonus content", which will assuredly involve the perpetually stoned terrycloth getting high. For better or for worse, it appears that none of the bundles will include the fart-smell-emitting Nosulus Rift peripheral that gave con-goers a nostril-defiling 4D experience when they demoed TFBW.
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South Park: The Fractured But Whole got its name because retailers would wrinkle their nose at The Butthole of Time
In the endearing developer diary above, Matt Stone and Trey Parker reveal some pretty nifty facts about the collaboration with Ubisoft's development team. Among those anecdotes are the fact that this sequel's subtitle was original going to the The Butthole of Time (referencing the New Kid's distinguishing bodypart), but Parker had to fall back to anus-based wordplay when he learned that having "Butthole" in a game title wouldn't fly with major retailers. Parker also relates how for what to rework in TFBW, using the famed YouTuber's Let's Play commentary as feedback.