‘South Park’ Season 21 And ‘The Fractured But Whole’ Have Overlapping Release Dates

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Cartman checking out your character sheet in 'South Park: The Fractured But Whole.'
Cartman checking out your character sheet in 'South Park: The Fractured But Whole.' Ubisoft

South Park Season 21 premieres Wednesday, Aug. 23. Two months later, on Oct. 17, is the release date for South Park: The Fractured But Whole.

The new release date for the repeatedly delayed Fractured But Whole aligns it for an overlap with new episodes of the series. Will Season 21 see a return to the superhero genre? There are six episodes in the new season due to come out before The Fractured But Whole, more than enough time for one or several prequel episodes to the video game.

This has happened before. South Park’s 17th season parodied Game of Thrones with a trilogy of episodes set in the lead-up to Black Friday at South Park Mall. The trilogy’s final episode, “Titties and Dragons,” ended with Cartman holding aloft the Stick of Truth, ending where South Park RPG The Stick of Truth begins.

The stick’s truth: kids don’t need video games to play and have fun. Cartman makes a good argument. “Last few weeks we’ve been too busy to play video games and look at what we did. There’s been drama, action, romance. I mean, honestly you guys, do we need video games to play? Maybe we started to rely on Microsoft and Sony so much we forgot that all we need to play are the simplest things,” Cartman says, lifting the Stick of Truth. “Screw video games, dude. Who fucking needs ‘em. Fuck ‘em.”

But it’s just so hard to give them up when they look as good as The Fractured But Whole . The new trailer, “The Farting Vigilante,” makes a good argument for The Stick of Truth sequel exceeding the first, including some hints at how the new game handles character creation. Mainly though, the new trailer is about farting — fart-flying, face farts, shockwave farts and some sort of fart-powered meat gun.

A lot’s changed on South Park since the last time the series did the superhero thing. Season 14’s three-parter — “Coon 2: Hindsight,” “Mysterion Rises” and “Coon vs. Coon and Friends” — exhausted the concept, not just teaming Cartman up with Cthulhu, but explaining the Lovecraftian origins of Kenny’s repeated deaths. They weren’t great episodes, but that doesn’t preclude South Park from turning a DC into a Marvel in Season 21.

It could even be the entire season’s storyline. After increasing serialization in Seasons 18 and 19, South Park went all in on Season 20. But soon the story’s increasing absurdity became it’s own joke, with a season finale titled “The End of Serialization as We Know It.”

With Season 21 months away, not even the show’s creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, know what direction new episodes will take. South Park is notoriously unplanned, often written and completed in the same week. So while a narrative link between Season 21 and The Fractured But Whole seems like a certainty, whatever form it takes will be ad hoc.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
South Park: The Fractured But Whole Review: Marvel Polish, DC Inspiration
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a polished and improved sequel to The Stick of Truth, but we're still ambivalent about the Marvel Cinematic Universe parody angle.
  • tactical combat
  • great environmental puzzles
  • seamless adaptation of South Park
  • engaging boss encounters
  • Coon and Friends parody was already stale
  • sometimes more referential than funny on its own
  • several game mechanics feel extraneous
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