We’re currently in bizarro-land, as the latest Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus has been criticised by some for its anti-Nazi agenda and ‘politicised’ leanings. I don’t know where all these ‘alt-right’ have been for the past 30 years but Wolfenstein has always been about killing Nazis. After all, they say there are only two things you can kill guilt free in any game - Nazis and zombies.
The issues with the marketing campaign stemmed from a new trailer for Wolfenstein II that carried the message “make America Nazi-free again”, tying the franchise into the recent controversies in the US which have seen literal Nazis take to the streets. Bethesda also kicked off the #NoMoreNazis hashtag on Twitter.
We’ve somehow crept into an age where being anti-Nazi is a loaded agenda, and some people responding to the trailer evidently were not place. Tweets such as “Cool. Didn’t know Bethesda teamed with SJWs and ANTIFA” and “way to make it political, not buyin [sic]”. Some of these folks complaining of politicism proudly display swastikas in their profiles, so take it all with a pinch of salt. That we’re living in a time where being anti-Nazi can be viewed negatively is deeply worrying.
Pete Hines, VP of PR and marketing at Bethesda, has opened up about the controversy in a candid statement to GI.biz. "Wolfenstein has been a decidedly anti-Nazi series since the first release more than 20 years ago,” said Hines. “We aren't going to shy away from what the game is about. We don't feel it's a reach for us to say Nazis are bad and un-American, and we're not worried about being on the right side of history here.
“In Wolfenstein’s case, it’s pure coincidence that Nazis are marching in the streets of America this year. And it’s disturbing that the game can be considered a controversial political statement at all.
"This is what our game is about," he says. "It's what this franchise has always been about. We aren't afraid to embrace what BJ stands for and what Wolfenstein represents. When it comes to Nazis, you can put us down in the 'against' column."
That this is even a point for debate is just absolutely bizarre. As the old saying goes, those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them. The original Castle Wolfenstein is 36 years old now, while the influential Wolfenstein 3D launched in 1992. They’ve always been about killing Nazis for the express reason that they’re a pure representation of evil, making them the perfect cannon fodder for an FPS.
I, for one, can’t wait to gun down mecha-Hitler come October 27th, when Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus launches on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.