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Wolfenstein 2 Has A Strange Workaround For Germany's Censorship Laws

Illustration for article titled iWolfenstein 2/i Has A Strange Workaround For Germanys Censorship Lawsem/em

Games are censored in Germany all the time, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is no different. Here’s one of the ways the game is different to the one we’re playing in America.

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This post concerns a late-game scene, so if you’re spoiler-averse, come back after you get there.

The German Strafgesetzbuch section 86a outlaws the use of Nazi symbols as part of the denazification of the country post World War II. This law covers not only symbols like the swastika, but gestures like the Nazi salute. It doesn’t explicitly prohibit depictions of Adolf Hitler, but nevertheless, Hitler’s appearance in Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus has been censored: they took his mustache off.

The symbol used to replace the swastika has already been present in the German trailers for the game, and this not-Hitler’s monogrammed smoking jacket has also been altered to remove his initials. The scene, which depicts Hitler as a sickly paranoid murderer/movie producer on a film about BJ Blazkowicz, has otherwise not had any of its visuals changed.

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While Wolfenstein has traditionally been a franchise about killing Nazis and taking down the regime, removing this iconography isn’t unexpected. Wolfenstein: The New Order was similarly censored in Germany to remove Nazi symbols. Video games are frequently censored in the country to remove blood and gore—Germany only got an uncensored Half Life 2 this year. The 2004 German film Downfall also became a subject of controversy in Germany for its depiction of Hitler as a sympathetic human being.

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DISCUSSION

This is actually not true- games used to be heavily censored back in the day, but it rarely ever happens these days, outside of third Reich imagery (swastikas and sig runes, mostly).

The reason that certain older games are only now being uncensored is that you need to wait several years to request a re-rating of older games (see DOOM and Quake).

Best, a german gamer and dev