October 15th, 2017 – Popular gaming franchise, Wolfenstein, is in the middle of a media controversy ahead of the launch of the latest installment of their long-running third person shooter. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus puts the player in the role of William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, a hero charged with leading the resistance to a Nazi regime that has conquered an alt-history version of the United States. At the center of the game’s marketing effort is a riff on the slogan of former reality show star Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign: “Make America Great Again.” Enticing players to “Make America Nazi-Free Again,” the violent action game promises hours of shooting, stabbing and incinerating wave after wave of virtual Nazis.
The game comes at a time when literal Nazis are openly marching in the streets of American cities, alongside KKK members and other white supremacists – a group Trump described as including some “very fine people.” Many self-aligned “alt-right” voices online have criticized the upcoming game decrying the “social justice warrior” influence they feel has corrupted the video game industry.
The amount of people legitimately upset by the new Wolfenstein trailer is equal parts sad and hilarious pic.twitter.com/icrl0CfiyO
In response to portions of the gaming community rushing to the defense of National Socialism, the game’s developers, Bethesda Softworks, felt compelled to issue a statement on the origins and intent of Wolfenstein:
“Wolfenstein has been a decidedly anti-Nazi series since the first release more than 20 years ago. 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.”
German-born actress, Nina Franoszek, who plays Nazi villain, Frau Engel, had a personal stake in the matter telling entertainment reporter, Patrick Shanley:
“My father is Jewish and my mother is German. In the past, there was a German general on the mother’s side and Jews trying to survive in Poland on the father’s side, so the subject was very close to me.”
Brian Bloom, who plays Wolfenstein protagonist, Blazkowicz, said:
“The only thing [the new game] has in common with anything in history is that the Nazis are bad guys, and I hope and think and thought and still do that we all agree.”
The public can murder Nazis with impunity or not when the game is released in North America on October 27th.