Here’s a serious question for you: As a gamer, how many Nazis have you killed? Lots, probably. We’ve killed them in Call of Duty, in Medal of Honor, in Wolfenstein of course, on the moon, under the ocean, in their home turf, off their home turf. We’ve shot them with missile launchers, pumped them full of lead with submachine guns, and we’ve even been given the opportunity to shoot Hitler in the ball.
But rarely have video games gotten into why, precisely, we feel it’s OK to pile up dead Nazis like cordwood. It appears that Wolfenstein: The New Order is going to change that.
The basic premise of the game, of course, is that it’s an alternate 1960 where somehow the Nazis took over the world but all the music survived. But amid the usual shenanigans in a gameplay video, there are a few hints that the game will get a little heavier than usual for a shooter:
First of all, it’s perhaps less than shocking that Black people haven’t had a good time of it in a Nazi dieselpunk alternate universe. And at the 1:13 mark, we’re 99% sure the game is telling us the end result of the last trailer is our hero, B.J., arriving at a concentration camp.
Controversial? Yeah, it’s going to make people angry, and it’s easy to understand why. And it does raise a few questions about tone. But by the same token, it’s better to have a video game that deals with the fairly serious issues of WWII histories than ones that essentially just say “Nazis are bad! But ask your parents why it’s OK to shoot them!” Ducking the issue does games no favors, artistically, and even if we have to have a discussion about a clumsy, ham-fisted discussion of one of the worst tragedies in human history in a video game… hell, at least we’re going to have a discussion.