​Germany Lifts Nazi Symbols Ban In Video Games, After 'Wolfenstein' Censorship Backlash

After nearly 20 years, Germany has lifted a ban which blocked Nazi symbols appearing in any video games.

Nazi enemies and imagery have been reoccurring in many war-based franchises, most notably Sniper Elite, Call of Duty's Nazi Zombies (now called Zombies), and the Wolfenstein series.

The latter, however, caused the most outrage. It had to be redesigned by German developers for the German market, and it ultimately sparked the decision to lift the two decade old ban.

Within edited versions of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, swastikas are replaced with triangle-like shapes, Hitler is called the 'chancellor', and his moustache has been completely removed.

The first-person shooter explores a world where Germany won World War II and Hitler is still alive, but many gamers, including those in Germany, were outraged by the forced changes made to the title.

They want video games to be treated with the same laws as films - where Nazi imagery is allowed because movies are "a work of art" [via Telegraph] - and now they've finally got their wish.

The Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body have said: "Through the change in the interpretation of the law, games that critically look at current affairs can for the first time be given a USK age rating."

Credit: Bethesda
Credit: Bethesda

Managing director Elisabeth Secker continued: "This has long been the case for films and with regards to the freedom of the arts, this is now rightly also the case with computer and video games."

Bethesda, Wolfenstein's creators, haven't commented on whether the next title in the series, Youngblood, will continue having edited features for the German market.

During the German trailer for the upcoming game, swastikas were once again removed and substituted with another shape, so only time will tell if the company will change it back for the full release in 2019.

Featured Image Credit: Bethesda

Matthew McGladdery

Matthew McGladdery graduated with a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Salford University, where he worked at Revolution 96.2, Global Radio, and Fleetwood F.C. When he left university, he took on the role of co-editor for the Salfordian and worked as freelancer for the likes of BBC Sport. He continues to work in sport but loves talking all things Xbox, PS4, and PC just as much.

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