Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be the first game in the Nazi-slaying franchise to release in Germany completely uncensored. Previous games in the series (as well as other releases) have typically had to erase Nazi imagery on account of German laws.
Fortunately, a change to these laws was introduced last year, which now allows Germany’s USK rating agency to consider games on a case-by-case basis. So while Wolfenstein: Youngblood will boast Nazi imagery, that doesn’t mean every subsequent Wolfenstein release is guaranteed to follow suit.
Bethesda first made the announcement over on its German forum, before later confirming in an English-language statement via email. A German-specific version of Wolfenstein: Youngblood was actually being developed alongside the international release, as Bethesda were unsure which way the USK would go with its decision. As such, the censored version will also be available in Germany.
Fans will probably remember that last year’s Wolfenstein was heavily censored in Germany. In addition to Swastikas being scrubbed from the game, a character who was clearly supposed to be an aging Adolf Hitler had his mustache removed, so as to distance him from resembling the man himself.
You can thank the “social adequacy clause” that was introduced to German law in 2018 for allowing Youngblood to arrive in Germany in the same state that it will every where else. This clause now allows the USK to consider allowing Nazi imagery in games based on their artistic merit (hence why it’ll be case-by-case).
The German Games Industry Association said last year when the new regulation was introduced:
Many games produced by creative, dedicated developers address sensitive topics such as the Nazi era in Germany, and they do so in a responsible way that encourages reflection and critical thinking. The interactive nature of games makes them uniquely qualified to spark contemplation and debate, and they reach younger generations like no other medium can.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood releases July 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. It focuses on regular protagonist BJ Blazkowicz’s twin daughters, as they gun their way through Nazi hordes in an alternate 1980’s Paris on a quest to save their dear old dad
The game will also feature co-op play (yay), but no split-screen (boo), and open-ended level design that Bethesda has compared as similar in structure to the Dishonored games. Co-op or not, I’m always down to put the hurt on some Nazis. Thanks, Wolfenstein.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.