On October 5, the official Wolfenstein twitter account posted “Make America Nazi-Free Again. #NoMoreNazis #Wolf2,” a twist on President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” President Trump who was elected due to conservatives and “alt-right” support, has been criticized for statements that have been seen as supporting the recent swell of neo-nazi activity. The tweet from the Wolfenstein twitter was immediately seen by the internet as a statement against the divisive President.
Was it really? Or was it just an old marketing ploy to use a well-known phrase or saying to plant seeds in people’s minds using a phrase they already know well? Is this just a major misunderstanding?
Wolfenstein And 2017:
Wolfenstein is a series of World War II games that date back to 1981. Wolfenstein has always been about killing as many Nazis as possible and doing as much damage to their war machine as you can. Wolfenstein 3D even allowed the player to fight a mechanical Adolf Hitler. The last game in the series, Wolfenstein: The New Order, showed a world where Germany won World War II and completed their domination of the world. The latest game, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, has been well known to deal with a resistance trying to make America free from the Nazi occupation.
The Wolfenstein series has never been a serious World War II series, it seems to concern itself more with being as much fun as possible, and Nazis are the only black and white evil group in the past century. There is really nothing redeemable about the Nazis.
The past year or so, groups of white supremacists, have been given a real voice in the United States. These groups see their white privilege being taken away, and they are fighting as hard as possible, as well as adopting Nazi symbolism, to keep their perceived place in society. After the bloody Nazi march in Charlottesville, VA, a debate has raged as to whether the first amendment covers obviously hateful language or actions. Whether Nazis are right or not, has almost become a conservative vs liberal debate with hateful vitriol coming from both sides.
A Strange Debate:
It’s this group of people that took offense to the tweet for the official Wolfenstein account, accusing it of making a political statement by using liberal anger as a marketing tool, and some threatening to outright boycott the game. There were some people who were not really defending the Nazi symbolism, but the use of the quote. There were also Twitter users that took the opportunity to make fun of the people who were angry by the post.
Bethesda, the publisher of the game, released a statement defending the controversial post. In an interview with gamesindustry.biz, Pete Hines, VP for PR and marketing at Bethesda made this statement,
“We’re certainly aware of current events in America and how they relate to some of the themes in Wolfenstein II. 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.”
It is a weird world we live in where a game about killing over the top evil people becomes a controversial subject. There are groups of people that have done some evil things, but maybe not had all that bad intentions, or were just misunderstood. It seems that all the people that history has dubbed evil was just on the darker side of the shades of grey that we all find ourselves living in. Modern-day dictators, even though they are committing atrocities, are trying to keep their power in a world in which losing power means death. In World War II, the Japanese were trying to regain the lands that they thought they had a right too, and Japanese culture has always been warlike.
Hitler and the Nazis were straight up evil and vile. Their whole belief system was built on murdering groups of humans that were “undesirable” or “weaker” than their perfect “master race.” They were trying to dominate the world in the hope that they could snuff out all but the best in the world. There is really no defending this, even though there are those who have tried.
Should this tweet be seen as a political statement, playing on anti-Trump sentiment to create controversy? I don’t think so. Wolfenstein has been a series concerned with having fun first and foremost. It’s almost like getting offended at those movies on Netflix about Nazis on the moon, or Nazi vampires, etc. Wolfenstein is a very B-movie, cheesy, almost grindhouse take on the World War II shooter. Nazis are evil people that need some new holes in their body and you are the person to place those holes in them.
If this tweet was not an attempt to court controversy, then what was it? It just seems like a tweet meant to get their normal market of mostly male, first-person shooter fans to get excited to play an awesome game about killing Nazis. If Inglorious Bastards was being released in 2017, I could see a tweet like this coming from the official twitter. I really don’t think that Bethesda, and whatever social media manager they have running the Wolfenstein twitter had any idea that this would get any kind of real attention.
The old adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” is true, so I’m sure that the attention the Wolfenstein tweet has received will do nothing but plant their IP in people’s heads. Now, whenever somebody who wasn’t paying much attention will see it and at least remember that there was some kind of fuss about this game a little while ago.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will be released on October 27, 2017 and will sell for $59.99 USD.