"Make America Nazi-Free Again," says Wolfenstein II's official game slogan. It's quite a statement to make, but it's also fairly uncontroversial, right? Because of course — America should naturally be free of Nazis.
Well, some have taken issue with this slogan, particularly alt-right gamers who are now attacking Bethesda for pushing an anti-Nazi message.
Bethesda Isn't Backing Down From Its Anti-Nazi Marketing For 'Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus'
Here's what happened. Bethesda, for those who don't know, has started marketing its new game, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, by directly taking on the apparent rise of neo-Nazism and alt-right in the United States.
The company promoted the hashtag #NoMoreNazis on Twitter and followed that up with a short trailer called 'Not My America," which includes the message, "Make America Nazi-Free Again."
Despite the blowback, Pete Hines, Bethesda's VP for PR and marketing, did not back down from the game's anti-Nazi stance. If anything, he reassured that anti-Nazism is what Wolfenstein has always been about.
"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," Hines told Gamesindustry.biz.
True to Hines's statement, Wolfenstein titles have indeed always been centered around a protagonist helping to save the world from Nazi domination. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which comes out Oct. 27, resumes where the predecessor, Wolfenstein: The New Order, left off.
In Wolfenstein II, players navigate a Nazi-occupied America, and they must do everything in their power to make sure the world is liberated from such forces.
Here's the unfortunate thing: Hines says that when the company was developing the game, it didn't anticipate that it'll become a commentary on current events. Bethesda didn't know, for instance, that white supremacists would march the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia promoting, among other things, neo-Nazism and whiteness.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Is Angering Neo-Nazis
The way Bethesda is marketing the game has caused quite a stir among certain fans on social media, with some criticizing the company's politicizing of a game. Here are some of the reactions:
buddy what do you think wolfenstein is about pic.twitter.com/iH1b0cfnIo
— Goth Ms. Gristle (@spookperson) October 6, 2017
The amount of people legitimately upset by the new Wolfenstein trailer is equal parts sad and hilarious pic.twitter.com/icrl0CfiyO — 88 Fingers (@YungShaxx) October 6, 2017
imagine seeing the words "no more nazis" and reacting like this pic.twitter.com/5L9b8CPm3s — Vylash #TeamKICK (@MiraVylash) October 6, 2017
All told, Bethesda is quite proud of how it's presenting the new Wolfenstein game, and frankly, politics aside, the game's marketing seems perfectly appropriate since Wolfenstein is essentially a game about killing Nazis. Gamers hating on it would be like hating on Nintendo for marketing Super Mario as a game about going inside pipes and stomping on Goombas.
Hines says that he hopes to see more developers, mainstream or indie, to create games built around issues that are worth exploring. He says that video games are a powerful tool for this kind of expression.
"Their ability to immerse players in an alternate role, in an alternate world, like Wolfenstein's Nazi-infested America, allows players to actually feel and experience the emotions of the situation."
What do you think about the way Bethesda is marketing Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!