South Park's humor has always aimed squarely at the uncomfortable, and its upcoming RPG sequel carries on that tradition. South Park: The Fractured But Whole (opens in new tab) has shocked parts of the internet by seeming to tie the difficulty setting to skin color: the darker the skin tone, the tougher the game. We reached out to the game's publisher, Ubisoft, who had no official statement but confirmed that it's just a joke. It doesn't affect combat difficulty or any other aspect of gameplay difficulty. The slider changes skin tone, but it's purely cosmetic.
Cartman tells you as you in character creation that the choice you make "doesn't affect combat. Just every other aspect of your whole life." The joke riffs on previous work from people like author John Scalzi, who wrote a great piece called Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is. (opens in new tab)
It's worth noting that the game is all about shocking its players. During one mission in the preview Ubisoft shared with press, (opens in new tab) you find yourself battling Catholic priests that are trying to molest you; in another, the racist South Park police send you to the home of an innocent black man to beat him up. That's just in the opening hours - you can expect much worse later. Let's not forget that the first game, South Park: The Stick of Truth (opens in new tab), has you battling the Giant Nazi Zombie Fetus of Khloe Kardashian.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (opens in new tab) will be released on PS4, Xbox One, PC on October 17.