Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the forthcoming entry in the long running nazi-bashing first-person shooter franchise, will be the first in the series to release in Germany unedited, taking advantage of a 2018 law enabling censors to examine games on a case by case basis.
Before this point, games in the Wolfenstein have had to scrub their Nazi iconography from the game, in addition to removing the moustache from an aged and infirm Hitler in Wolfenstein II: The New Collusus.
Bethesda announced the uncensored release of Wolfenstein: Youngblood on Wednesay on their German language forum initially, but have now confirmed across all channels that the international version of the game, replete with nazi regalia and the ability to batter and blast anyone adorned with it, will be coming to Germany uncensored.
It’s good news for FPS fans in Germany who want to play an unsanitised version of one of the best shooting franchises in the business, but it’s also culturally quite significant: the 2018 rule, which allows the USK rating agency to consider their games on a case-by-case basis, allows the inclusion of Swastika’s and other imagery
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“Many games produced by creative, dedicated developers address sensitive topics such as the Nazi era in Germany, and they do so in a responsible way that encourages reflection and critical thinking,” the German Games Industry Association said last year, after the new regulations were introduced. “The interactive nature of games makes them uniquely qualified to spark contemplation and debate, and they reach younger generations like no other medium can.”
It was unsure at that point what counted as a responsible way, and it’s pleasing to see that Wolfenstein, a game that on the surface has nothing of nuance to say beyond “fascism is the worst, you guys” still gets a pass, showing that it won’t just be thinky games allowed freedom of expression.
It’s good news, as other art forms in germany have had these freedoms for a while, so video games are now being given the same treatment as other art forms.
Nazis have fallen out of vogue a bit when it comes to video game enemies, but it’s good to know that if they come back to the fore, German gamers won’t have to play censored versions of their shooters.
“The interactive nature of games makes them uniquely qualified to spark contemplation and debate, and they reach younger generations like no other medium can.”
A sanitised version of the game will also be available in Germany, as Bethesda were working on a version for Germany and an international version in tandem, unclear about how the German ratings board would rule.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood comes out worldwide on July 26.