Political climate often directly affects reception of arts, movies, books and most recently, video games. On Oct. 27, the new game in the Wolfenstein series, “Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus,” will be arriving in stores, with much political debate trailing after it. The game will be somewhat of a reboot to the series, as it involves an alternate universe that features a world where the Nazis had won the war.
Earlier this month on Oct. 5, the Twitter account promoting the new Wolfenstein game had created the slogan “Make America Nazi-Free Again” with the tag #NoMoreNazis. This sent Twitter into a frenzy, calling the developers and marketing team anything from “a liberal political soapbox” or “sellouts” to “those social justice warriors” (popularly referred to as SJW).
For those who do not know, the Wolfenstein franchise started in 1981, following American operatives who take on Nazi Germany. The series is often given the credit of popularizing first-person shooter games while still creating and maintaining a heartfelt story. Most importantly, it has always been about fighting Nazis. There is not a game in its series that does not include taking down the Nazi regime. Being offended with the latest installment’s focus on Nazis would be like getting mad at Nintendo for making a new Mario Kart game that featured racing.
Because of this, the response to the game appears almost comical. Indeed, the developers say that there is no political motive included in the new game. In response to the wild backlash from Twitter users, game developer Bethesda Softworks was forced to release a statement defending its actions and the hashtag.
Pete Hines, the vice president of public relations and marketing at Bethesda, said in an interview with GamesIndustry “We aren’t going to shy away from what the game is about. 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.”
So far, in early playthroughs of the game, it seems to be getting great reviews. Well-respected places like IGN (Imagine Games Network), Polygon and Game Informer have already given the game high praise and well-constructed compliments on its graphics, story and gameplay. In a review on Polygon, Ben Kuchera says, “This sequel successfully builds on what made its predecessor great.” It seems that despite the game’s initially bumpy marketing, there is now nothing but good news for the Wolfenstein franchise.