Germany, understandably, treads carefully when it comes to the nazis.
Thanks to a ban on unconstitutional symbols, video games like the Wolfenstein series had to make amendments to the game in order to pass the German censors and be available for general release. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Replacing the swastika (and other nazi insignia) with other, meaningless symbols
- Changing names and other details pertaining to naziism
- Renaming Hitler and shaving off his moustache (no, really)
All of this was to appease the censors, but the instances above were only in recent years. In the ’90s and ’00s, other violent video games with nothing to do with the nazis also suffered at the hands of the censors. Between its Wolfenstein, Doom and Fallout franchises, Zenimax Media, parent company of Bethesda and Id Software, has found the German censors particularly difficult to deal with over the years.
But films, television series, and other creative works are allowed to use nazi imagery – so long as they’re used in an artistic way, and of course, don’t glorify an abhorrent ideology and dark time in Germany’s history.
Which is why it’s so remarkable that, when it releases worldwide tomorrow, Wolfenstein: Youngblood (and presumably the VR game, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot) will be available without censorship in Germany. This is thanks to a change in German policy that allows video games to be treated as works of art in the same way as a movie like Downfall, or a TV series like The Man in the High Castle.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a German-censored version of Wolfenstein: Youngblood. There absolutely is, and as ever, it’s chock-full of weird triangles and vague facsimiles. But there’s also what Zenimax is referring to as the “International Edition” of Wolfenstein: Youngblood, which is the full, uncensored game, including all that nazi imagery.
Both the German-censored and “International Edition” of Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be released on July 26, 2019. The versions are “identical content-wise, but feature different iconography within the game,” Zenimax said in a press release.
Both versions will be available at the same price.