The unorthodox tactic to raise awareness about systemic racism is controversial — yet effective.
Ubisoft is dishing up a dose of reality in its new comedy RPG South Park: The Fractured but Whole. Like most games, it allows users to choose their preferred level of difficulty. However, the effects of choosing “easy” versus “hard” have a grander impact on gameplay than with most video games.
EuroGamer reports that during the character creation section of the game, the difficulty is determined based on the color of the character’s skin. The easier the difficulty, the lighter the character’s skin. Conversely, the more difficult the game is the darker the character’s skin color. Said South Park stalwart Eric Cartman, “Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect combat. Just every other aspect of your whole life.”
When Ubisoft developers were asked how the difficulty affects gameplay, they replied that the color of one’s skin affects the amount of money the character receives and how other characters speak to you in the game. It is, very clearly, a social commentary on racism in present-day society.
The gameplay is also altered by the character’s gender. Later in the game, a player can choose from three options: male, female and other. Regardless of the decision, Mr. Mackey, the South Park school counselor, calls the character’s “parents” to confirm. Cis and Transgender options are offered but this, too, affects the level of difficulty.
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This new tactic employed by South Park to raise awareness about systematic racism is controversial but effective. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!