We’re living in a confusing world, where a lot of very confused people have some very loud voices. Some people have their heels dug in so deep that they’re willing to defend some pretty awful things if it means the opportunity to take a shot at a perceived political opponent. Recently, Bethesda put out a tweet condoning Nazis and they’re actually taking heat for it.
— Wolfenstein (@wolfenstein) October 5, 2017
It was a video teaser that shows Nazis marching in America, with the text “Make America Nazi-Free Again”, which has caused a bit of a backlash from people who are insulted by the similarity between the President’s campaign slogan of “Make American Great Again” and actual Nazis that are a part of this game, but really – if seeing an Anti-Nazi slogan gets you really worked up, it might be time to just take a step back and take a deep breath. It shouldn’t be seen as some huge controversial political stand to call out Nazis, it really shouldn’t be a divisive partisan issue. Killing Nazis should bring us together, not divide us.
The Wolfenstein franchise has always been about the stopping and killing of Nazis, wherever they’re located. This time around, they’re in America. In this videogame, America is overrun with Nazis, and the goal is to stop them, and to make America Nazi-Free Again. It’s pretty straight forward. It also has a text overlay saying “Not My America.” If you’re upset at the idea of a game where the goal is a Nazi-free America, and you’re NOT a Nazi, it’s time to take a moment to reflect on things.
A number of people on Twitter responded to the Wolfenstein 2 clip by saying things like “Way to make it political” or “Didn’t know Bethesda teamed up with SJWs and ANTIFA!”
Some of the backlash comes from people who are frustrated to see the word “Nazi” being tossed around to describe people who aren’t always Nazis lately, but the people who are upset about this need to remember that there are also legitimate white supremacists who identify as Nazis and they’re rallying in the streets of America.
Also, in this context from Bethesda, they’re talking about ACTUAL videogame Nazis, it’s different than the “You don’t agree with me politically so you’re a Nazi” meme that has been getting tossed around by people who use the Nazi label a little more liberally. The Nazis referenced in this clip aren’t just run of the mill right wing people being called Nazis by the left, they’re actual Nazis marching in the streets of America. Big, big distinction. If this game was about stopping conservative speakers in Berkeley, that would be one thing – but it’s not, it’s about stopping an army of militant Nazis. It’s alarming that people can’t make the distinction.
Productive discourse really needs to be a two way street. Not everybody who doesn’t align with the left in 2017 is a Nazi, but not everybody who is against Nazis is some ultra-left commie, either.. Once again, how has being against Nazis become a partisan issue? We should all be against Nazis, full stop. We’ve got to give people the benefit of the doubt more often, and not try to paint every opponent as the very worst and extreme versions of their ideologies. There are a lot of great, and a lot of bad, people in all areas of the political spectrum, but when you try to paint them all as the worst of the worst, it’s hard to have a conversation. Having said that, in this case with Bethesda, it’s pretty black and white: Nazis are bad, be against Nazis, don’t be offended by a videogame about killing Nazis that is set in America. Can that at least be the starting point?
If your politics have lead you down a path where you find yourself outraged at the idea of killing Nazis in a Wolfenstein game, to a point where you’re no longer going to buy the game, you should really take a minute and decide if that’s who you want to be. In such divisive times, it’s easy to get caught up by taking sides, where you’ll only see the errors of your opponents and are always looking to score easy political points – that applies to everyone – but when you’ve gotten to the point where you’re upset at the devs behind Wolfenstein over an advertisement about killing Nazis, it’s time to stop.
Here is the response of Pete Hines from Bethesda:
“We’re certainly aware of current events in America and how they relate to some of the themes in Wolfenstein II,” Pete Hines said in a statement made to GamesIndustry.biz. “Wolfenstein has been a decidedly anti-Nazi series since the first release more than 20 years ago. 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.”
“[In the game], freeing America is the first step to freeing the world,” Hines explained. “So the idea of #NoMoreNazis in America is, in fact, what the entire game (and franchise) is about. Our campaign leans into that sentiment, and it unfortunately happens to highlight current events in the real world.”
“This is what our game is about. It’s what this franchise has always been about. We aren’t afraid to embrace what BJ stands for and what Wolfenstein represents. When it comes to Nazis, you can put us down in the ‘against’ column.”