Escapist Podcast: 137: The Next Big Game This Year

137: The Next Big Game This Year

This week, the Escapist Staff discusses a number news items about some of the big titles coming up this year.

Watch Video

Ok, so ... the whole story about Zenimax, Wolfenstein, Geo-Lock, and Germany is not as funny and arbitrary as you guys may think. Sorry to be that guy, but since it also has affected me in the past, here goes ...

Wolfenstein 3D was only ever sold in its heavily modified SNES version in Germany. The PC version and all other versions are still banned from sale, because of the way it employs the barbed cross, etc. The display of the barbed cross in media, as well as other symbols and songs hostile to the German Constitution, is prohibited by the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany. An organisation or individual who ignores this, commits a Federal Crime in Germany.

But Zenimax is probably also taking this step for much more pragmatic and mundane reasons, and beyond the purely criminal aspect.

Germany has a federal government agency that reviews books, movies, and also games with regards to its content, and specifically how appropriate this content is for children and adolescents. The BPjM has the power to declare a medium as harmful to the youth and place it on an index list, which means that the (in this case) game can not legally be sold to minors, it can not be advertised in the press, it can not be advertised in stores, it can not played publicly where minors could be exposed to it, etc. you get the pictures.

In theory, for games targeted at an adult audience, this should not be a problem. In practice, however, this means that most department stores, and many game stores, will not carry the game, many online sales platforms will require additional steps to verify the age of the customer, etc. and the game virtually disappears from the general marketplace. Sales are heavily affected. For some games this has been the kiss-of-death in Germany in terms of sales revenue.

Now take into consideration that Germany is one of the biggest game markets in Europe (estimated revenue at US$ 3.7 billion currently), I do not think it is far-fetched to think that Zenimax is making appropriate changes to Wolfenstein for specifically that reason. Jim Sterling will tell you that Game Publishers are only happy when they get ALL the money, and the alternative would have been to not sell the game in Germany at all.

And then, by comparison, consider how humorous Germans may find it, that the US FDA has banned this for sale in the United States: Kinder Surprise ...

Yeah I don't know why Vanderwall is so confused that different countries ban different things. I don't see how it is surprising that Nazi stuff is not wanted in Germany. It would be a kin to having a game where the South won the civil war and you had to fight your way out of that. Granted it wouldn't be illegal to make he game, but it would just be in really poor taste.

Also let's look at it this way, who are the one human enemy that can be killed indiscemenetly in video games or tv and movies? Oh yeah, it's the Nazis. If you country was so vilified that even 70 years later others relish the chance to kill your citizenry, don't you think you would do everything you possibly could to distance yourself?

Well, one thing to keep in mind as well is that 'Freedom of Speech' is not the same in every country. It certainly is not enforced/tolerated in the same way in every country, and certainly not in the same way as in the United States. The First Amendment is just not applicable outside of the U.S. ...

bdcjacko:
Yeah I don't know why Vanderwall is so confused that different countries ban different things. I don't see how it is surprising that Nazi stuff is not wanted in Germany. It would be a kin to having a game where the South won the civil war and you had to fight your way out of that. Granted it wouldn't be illegal to make he game, but it would just be in really poor taste.

Also let's look at it this way, who are the one human enemy that can be killed indiscemenetly in video games or tv and movies? Oh yeah, it's the Nazis. If you country was so vilified that even 70 years later others relish the chance to kill your citizenry, don't you think you would do everything you possibly could to distance yourself?

Dont forget DEM BROWN TERRORISTS!
They are also the unimaginative enemy in far too many games

I live in Austria, but I may still be off on this as I am American. That said, it seems to me that the anti-fascism laws in Germany (and Austria) are less about distancing themselves from the past, but actually more about NOT FORGETTING the past to ensure that such atrocities NEVER happen again.

Rangarig explained the legal situation regarding games and media quite well. It is not only about Nazi symbols, but about the violence. The laws are not as strict in Austria and you can get uncensored games here, but I remember playing Half Life Opposing Force and all the soldiers were robots that bled black oil! It is funny, but Europeans seem to want to protect their children from violence and can not understand why there is so much of it in American games, movies etc, but they have no problem with exposing them to the human body. Americans on their part seem to want to protect their children from naked images and sex and are shocked by the nudity on European TV, but have no problem exposing their kids to violence. Go figure.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here