Since their inception, games in Germany have received censoring when it comes to Nazi symbolism. For example, titles like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus have replaced Nazi imagery or straight up removed Hitler’s mustache in the German version of the game. In this case, Bethesda had to cut any depiction of even the slightest bit of Nazism to release in Germany.
As of today, that is no longer the case. According to British retailer, Game, video games “that depict symbols of unconstitutional organisations” will no longer receive immediate censorship. Instead, the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) will now look at games on a case by case basis.
Effective immediately, the USK will check if a game meets the “social adequacy clause” of German Criminal Code. If depictions “serve an artistic or scientific purpose, or depict current or historical events,” the team will consider a rating.
For a while now, most forms of entertainment have been subject to this. By allowing video games the same chance, it puts them on the same cultural level as movies or books.
“Computer and video games have been recognised as a cultural medium for many years now, and this latest decision consistently cements that recognition in terms of the use of unconstitutional symbols as well. – Felix Falk, Managing Director of Game.
In an interview with gamesindustry.biz, the managing director of Game spoke about the long-running battle for the recognition of video games as an important piece of culture in Germany. He praises this win, but also notes:
“The decision now does not mean that the next Wolfenstein – or any title that comes out – will get an age rating from the USK with these symbols. It’s always about context, and always an individual decision – case by case.”
With this change in effect, Bethesda can choose to resubmit Wolfenstein II to Germany in all of its Nazi-hating glory. Yet, because acceptance is still on a case by case basis, they may leave it be anyways.
What are your thoughts on this change? Do you think its a big step forward for video games recognition as an art form? Share your thoughts in the comments below!