Unlike the first game, the latest installment sees Cartman and the gang ditching the staff and swords and playing as superheroes. These characters can be leveled up and equipped with certain powers. That means your team of buddies won’t essentially have the same fighting styles across the board, but will bring a unique flair in regards to special abilities, in addition to their charming personalities.
According to both the Ubisoft development team and South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, combat was the hardest feature to implement.
“The combat stuff is definitely, like, the most intense technical gameplay part of it,” admits Matt Stone in the latest developer diary. “We knew we wanted to keep turn-based because that works really well for timing and comedy, and allows us the conceit of the boys playing a game within a game. But, we definitely wanted it to be version 2.0.”
Unlike Stick of Truth, the sequel will rely less on traditional JRPG turn-based moves and use a system that’s more tactical-based, giving players more flexibility in terms of combat. Thus players can choose what characters can fight at their side, combine powers and abilities, and position those characters where needed, similar to Banner Saga or the Mega Man Battle Network series. Ultimately, gamers must apply additional thought in terms of combat than what was seen in Stick of Truth. They may even need to think “two or three moves ahead.”
“You want it to be complex enough to be fun and challenging and have strategies, but you also want it to be simple enough that it looks like South Park and it is still just fun,” says Trey Parker.
As for the magical butthole, the new game takes that ability to the next level. The farts are more powerful, and could even possibly rip a hole in the space-time continuum. The South Park creators really don’t go into a whole lot of detail in this dark department, only saying that they came up with a good “time/fart” system that works well in a video game.
“It was originally called the Butthole of Time,” Parker says towards the end of the developer diary. “They ran it past the whatever and they said you can’t put ‘butthole’ in a title. The retailers won’t put it there (on the shelf). So I just sat there at my desk for hours… butthole…. butthole…. but whole…. But Whole.”
The Fractured But Whole’s current combat system could be somewhat inspired by Pewdiepie. Parker said he watched the famed Youtuber play Stick of Truth online, and admitted that coverage was the best feedback he could ever have. He was essentially watching an audience member play the game and state what he was thinking about it throughout each session. It was a great resource, one that pointed out that the character attacks were overall similar in the first installment.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole hits the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows on December 6, 2016. The game will come with a free copy of South Park: The Stick of Truth in case you missed the first installment. Gamers who pre-order now will receive bonus Towelie content.