#NoMoreNazis: The Wolfenstein II marketing “controversy”

How in the hell did it come to this? Not to do away with the tradition of an introductory paragraph too emphatically or anything, but seriously – what the hell.

We all know Wolfenstein: an FPS institution that stands alongside DOOM as one of the classics, and – most conspicuously – a game about killing Nazis. No beating around the bush here, that’s just what you do. It’s what you do in a lot of games, in fact, from early Call of Duty games to… well, recent Call of Duty games, as CoD WWII rolls out next month. Evidently, killing a time-honoured and plainly evil foe is just an easy crowd-pleaser. Or so you’d think.

As little as a year or two ago, the mention of a Nazi-killing game like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus wouldn’t raise any eyebrows. Hell, it might have provoked a few exasperated sighs – we’ve done this, we’re used to it. Now, in the absurdist dystopia of 2017, it’s somehow controversial. After the Twitter page for the game dropped a trailer with the hashtag #NoMoreNazis, certain members of the community took up arms in opposition. @ironyispoison shot back that Bethesda were ‘tapping into hysterical leftist power fantasy’, while @ckhttp lamented that the tweet was a bid to ‘make it political’ (as though wholesale Nazi slaughter was somehow a new addition to the 36-year-old series). Meanwhile, @LeviDeRosier bemoaned the developers’ ‘team[ing] with SJWs and ANTIFA’; in case you missed it, being opposed to fascism in general is controversial now too.

This is emblematic of a gaming culture which is more and more bipartisan with every passing day. On this occasion, Bethesda have invoked the ire of the side who believe that developers have an obligation to appease every gamer, regardless of whether or not they consider people of colour to be human beings, or whatever other godawful belief they may have dredged up from wartime Germany. Personally, to put a fine point on it, I think that’s bullshit. Bethesda have made their stance on Nazis perfectly clear in Wolfenstein II – as with every game in the series before it, developed by them or otherwise – and it’s a stance I can wholeheartedly get behind. No more Nazis – not now, not ever.

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