As is now a tradition with the launch of a new Wolfenstein game, IGN is reporting that the Austrian and German versions of the next Wolfenstein game have had all of their Nazi-themed visuals removed due to laws that ban the distribution of materials containing Nazi references, including videogames. (It’s the action of the Europeans that’s traditional, not IGN’s reporting BTW). International versions of the game for consoles won’t be allowed into the country, either, and even if someone finds a way to buy the international version for PC, geo-locking technology will ensure it can’t be activated within either of those countries’ borders.
Of course, that probably means people who want the original, Nazi-stuffed version of the game will simply pirate it. It’s not like these measures actually succeed at stopping people from viewing legally-objectionable content, they just succeed at preventing its sale through official channels. Which I suppose is a win, I just hate the idea of governments dictating what people can and can’t look at in their own homes (but yes, I get that WWII is a pretty sensitive subject).
While no word has come on how, exactly, the censorship will affect the game’s story and settings, we do know that German and Austrian gamers won’t be blasting Nazis or seeing any of the symbols associated with the group in their Wolfensteins. Bethesda wrote a blog post assuring gamers in those regions that the action will still be just as actiony, though, so it’s not like the actual game bits will change – just the context.
Please note that the adaptation is in respect of Nazi content only, and although there are some legally required differences, the levels of violence and action remain the same as in the international version. The story and contents of this game are not intended to and should not be construed in any way to condone, glorify or endorse the beliefs, ideologies, events, actions, persons or behaviour of the Nazi regime or to trivialise its war crimes, genocide and other crimes against humanity.
– Bethesda Blog
So that’s OK then. Swastikas banned, “levels of violence” the same. Funny old world.
The penalty for breaking the law isn’t exactly light, either: offenders can expect to face steep fines and up to three years in prison should they find a way to play the uncensored Wolfenstein: The New Order in those territories.
Since the entire game is about the Nazis having won World War II and their expansion into the rest of the world, I must admit to being rather intrigued as to how the game will play out, as Wolfenstein without Nazis is like a Mario game without mushrooms.
The New Order, indeed.