Who knew that Wolfenstein II‘s slogan of “Make America Nazi-free again” would be controversial, but here we are in 2017 and it is for some reason. Despite the Wolfenstein games slaughtering hordes of Nazis for over thirty years, people that seemingly can only be described as Nazi sympathizers are coming out of the woodwork to call out Bethesda for “getting political” with their “leftist” agenda. This is real life.
The pushback seems to be from people who believe in an ideology rooted in ethnic cleansing and think they should be able to discuss those views without reciprocation. They’re lashing out at Wolfenstein II‘s marketing ahead of the game’s October 27 release because of phrases that reference the game’s alternate history in which the Nazis have taken over America. Phrases like: “Make America Nazi-free again,” and “No more Nazis.”
Pete Hines, Bethesda’s VP of PR, reiterated the plot of the game and how it was not developed as a commentary on the current state of U.S. politics even though there is a sad overlap. “[In the game] freeing America is the first step to freeing the world. So the idea of #NoMoreNazis in America is, in fact, what the entire game (and franchise) is about. Our campaign leans into that sentiment, and it unfortunately happens to highlight current events in the real world,” Hines told GameIndustry.
Meanwhile, the commenters are out in droves, but they’re mostly getting shut down.
At the time none of us expected that the game would be seen as a comment on current issues, but here we are … 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.
Coming into prominence as one of gaming’s first 3D shooters in 1992’s Wolfenstein 3D, Wolfenstein has been the go-to game series for collecting Nazi scalps. Considering how many people are buying the game simply on the basis of “it’ll make the trolls mad,” this may be its most successful iteration yet.