Wolfenstein: The New Order Will Be "Geo-Locked" To Conform With German Law

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Wolfenstein: The New Order Will Be "Geo-Locked" To Conform With German Law

Wolfenstein: The New Order screen

Bethesda says the PC version of Wolfenstein: The New Order will be regionally locked to keep it from being activated in Germany.

It's no secret that Germany has some rather strict laws regulating the display of Nazi symbols, with penalties for those who violate them ranging from hefty fines to prison time. You can see how that would be a problem for the Wolfenstein franchise, which is all about fighting Nazis, because the fact that they're the bad guys carries no weight in the eyes of German authorities.

It's no surprise, then, that the German version of the game will be about "The Regime" rather than Nazis, as Bethesda's Pete Hines explained last month, and that all Nazi-related content has been stripped from that edition of the game. But today, the publisher announced that it's going even farther to protect itself by taking steps to keep the international version of The New Order - which is to say, the one with all the Nazi stuff - out of the country.

"In order to prevent any digital copies of the international version from being sold, exported, imported or distributed into Germany, PC versions will be geo-locked so that they cannot be activated within Germany," the publisher announced today. "On the basis of legal advice and industry standard practice, we are also not making the international version available for sale in Austria."

The German-language version of Wolfenstein: The New Order will be available in other parts of the world for those who want it, although Bethesda noted that the changes relate to "Nazi content only," and that "although there are some legally required differences, the levels of violence and action remain the same as in the international version."

Wolfenstein: The New Order comes out on May 20 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Source: Bethesda Blog

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Well dang. If I had interest in that game I would have to travel to Holland or Belgium then. This is, like, a 2 hours trip. On feet. TWO HOURS! /s

Bullshit. Bullshit laws, bullshit decision (it is the easy way out) bullshit institutions (FSK and their hypocticism of games and movies in that regard - movies are a-okay). What is more to say?

They should have changed them from Nazis to Hydra.

Then everyone would play it.

Andy of Comix Inc:
They should have changed them from Nazis to Hydra.

Then everyone would play it.

Return to Castle Red Skull.

Not to be confused with "Return to Castle Greyskull," an FPS starring He-Man.

They should change all the Nazi symbols to symbols of the modern German government. That'd be a laugh.

TheKasp:

Bullshit. Bullshit laws, bullshit decision (it is the easy way out) bullshit institutions (FSK and their hypocticism of games and movies in that regard - movies are a-okay). What is more to say?

Damn strait.
Swastikas in books? Sure. In moves? No problem. In a game? WHY WONT SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?
Oh, and while were at it, might as will take out all the blood and anything we deem "offensive" then delay the game for,
oh lest see, three weeks.
Yeah, that sounds about right.

"On the basis of legal advice and industry standard practice, we are also not making the international version available for sale in Austria."
Why? Do they have the same crappy childish laws that we do in Germany or is it that they just can't be bothered to make a destinction between the two countries?

I fucking hate that law. Fucking outdated "Oberste Landesjugendbehörde" with their retarded logic -.-'

According to Schnittberichte.com (popular site about censored games and movies), the UK version gets censored in the same manner.

Ain't the first time something like this is done, same was tried with Saints Row and Black Ops II. Probably because the publishers are very aware that nobody buys the censored garbage as soon as the word spread. There are several ways to circumvent the IP block, but most people will probably just pirate it.

Way to go, Bethesda...

SirBryghtside:
That sucks. Hopefully Germany get round to accepting games as art soon :/

Thank you. This is the problem in a nutshell (in Germany). It is fine for Indiana Jones and Captain Avenger-Face (of Murka) to punch Nazi-Idiots in the face since movies are recognized as ART by german law.

Video-Games do not get that benefit in Germany. This issue has been brought before german courts exactly once ca. 20 years ago when FPS-games were fresh and both public and political opinion of games and gamers in general was widely negative.

Times have changed but the law stays the same because no one has the willingness (game publishers) or the resources (gamers) to bring this issue before courts once again.

Instead Publishers like Bethesda actively choose to harrass gamers by breaking consumer-rights through locking out adult customers from being able to activate and play their legally obtained copies of a game that they are by law permitted to buy and own for personal use.

Wolfenstein in it's uncut form is not illegal in Germany. Sure, it can not be openly sold and/or advertised publically, but if adults choose to buy such games (in it's intended and uncut form) they may do so freely by importing them from other countries.

If Bethesda claims that they are operating within the parameters of the law of Germany then they are lying. This press release is a slap in the face for every German gamer who would enjoy nothing more than buying an uncut copy of a Wolfenstein game and shoot a f**king Nazi in the face.

And you know what the worst thing about all this is? The ridiculously changed german version of Wolfenstein will NOT include English language option but instead, once again, exclusively feature terrible, terrible german voice-over. Oh, and Austria get's to suffer, too? Why?
Oh, I guess because "F*** YOU Austria" and it's where Hitler came from, so.......it's your own fault.

*Sigh*

I wish someone would speak up for german gamers on this issue.

Someone with the power to confront game publishers with their bullshit and stick their nose in it.

Someone great.

Someone we should all thank god for.

*Sigh*

But it doesn't matter now, I will just buy and activate this game in my home country. A country that is proud of their killing of the Nazis. It's just sad that living in Germany means that we soemtimes have to put up with this bullshit.

-----

TL;DR:

THIS SUCKS, I hate it and I'm writing up a wall of angry ranting on the Interwebz. Well, F*** you Bethesda, you lying c**t.

#First-World-Problems

SirBryghtside:
That sucks. Hopefully Germany get round to accepting games as art soon :/

We sort of have, the German Cultural Council has declared them as such, which you could see as an 'official' acknowledgement of games as art. Sadly, legislation does not reflect that yet and I am not holding my breath for it as long as Angie is in office.

hazydawn:
"On the basis of legal advice and industry standard practice, we are also not making the international version available for sale in Austria."

Wow, ludicrous. They are saying it as if Austria is not a country in and of itself.

Without stamping on toes, how is Germany with the whole world war 2 thing? It would be insensitive to just assume Germans are ok with killing nazi's, so they strip it out but what if Germans are ok with killing them?

It's not like German = nazi, I think even Germans can say nazi's are bad. Though, that is saying "my great grand pappy was bad" which is a harsh thing to say.

omega 616:
Without stamping on toes, how is Germany with the whole world war 2 thing? It would be insensitive to just assume Germans are ok with killing nazi's, so they strip it out but what if Germans are ok with killing them?

It's not like German = nazi, I think even Germans can say nazi's are bad. Though, that is saying "my great grand pappy was bad" which is a harsh thing to say.

Germany has gotten over it. The far right is getting traction again thanks to the Euro crisis, but for the most part WWII is a thing of the past that's been analyzed, faced, and resolved in any way imaginable and feasible. It's every-bloody-one else who immediately pulls out the "Germans = Nazis" nonsense, which is why Germany has to keep that tucked away as much as possible, lest there actually be a reason for people to say such.

(Edit: As has been mentioned, this is (just like most violence cuts) actually not a matter of law - there has been no conclusive decision in recent years from any German court as to whether or not such imagery would be permissible (just like violence hasn't gotten a game genuinely banned (or even indexed) in ages). For what it's worth, I appreciate publishers having the ethical compass to avoid controversial topics in foreign countries - but they sure could try getting their facts straight and telling the truth.)

ive been screwed over by region locking before so i can relate to the germans with this, i can only hope their government stops being so retarded in the near future

seriously, they hope to fight the nazi ideology by acting in an authoritarian way themselves? yeah that makes a lot fucking sense

I will be interested to see how on earth they can get this too work , region locking is nothing new so what can they hope to achieve by this other than potentially losing income to pirate providers unless they think that unicorn farts are going to keep the game "geo locked" its going to take some very interesting DRM.

Watch your Graphics cards and hide your hard drives who knows what manner of hell this could cause.

senkus:

We sort of have, the German Cultural Council has declared them as such, which you could see as an 'official' acknowledgement of games as art. Sadly, legislation does not reflect that yet and I am not holding my breath for it as long as Angie is in office.

Pfff, the next Bundeskanzler/-in (Federal Chancellor) will not touch that subject either.
Here's a not too old interview (in German) with somebody from the responsible authority:
http://www.pcgames.de/Panorama-Thema-233992/Specials/Spiele-sind-keine-Filme-Interview-mit-der-Obersten-Landesjugendbehoerde-1112254

omega 616:
Without stamping on toes, how is Germany with the whole world war 2 thing?

We're constantly reminded in history class, television and society about what bad people we are that we mustn't let anything like that ever happen again. Which I agree, we must never forget. But politics and some people take this mentality too far in my opinion. In their mind we still owe the Jews and Israel some kind of special treatment. Or maybe they just feel guilty for no reason.
And we obviously can't even be trusted to be reasonable adults according to the law. Our fragile minds must be protected. Because anyone who reads "Mein Kampf" or sees a swastika in a video game THAT IS ABOUT KILLING NAZIS will turn immediately into a nazi as if there's a nazi-virus hidden in it. It's history god dammit! Let people educate themselves! ...and kill virtual nazis.

Edit: Ok, maybe "constantly" is exaggerated, but every now and then it pops up :p
And becuase we still treat it in this fashion I wouldn't say we've moved past it.

Can't Germany move on from this nonsense already by being uptight on shit that happened 70 years ago? Yes, there are a minority of people who follow Nazism in secret but does this mean the entire gaming community has to suffer because of World War 2 atrocities involving their country?

They're being uptight with Nazism as China is being with a game offending them.

I imagine one of the earliest PC mods out there will be the patch that will turn the German version of the game into everyone else's version of the game. Listen, Germany, we know you're sorry about what happened, but there's few left alive who can claim direct responsibility.

This level of censorship almost seems like Germany wants to pretend that Nazis didn't exist and don't exist.

WouldYouKindly:
This level of censorship almost seems like Germany wants to pretend that Nazis didn't exist and don't exist.

Nah, there are relatively often documentaries on television about it and if you're going into a new school it's bound to be treated extensively (just like time after the war with the DDR). It's been three times for me. And people and politics still feel a strong responsibility to root out every form of National Socialism. Hence these retarded laws. They're just overdoing it and don't treat the citizens of the country as adults. It's the same with violence of video games in general here. Now that I think about it, they just hate video games...

hazydawn:

WouldYouKindly:
This level of censorship almost seems like Germany wants to pretend that Nazis didn't exist and don't exist.

Nah, there are relatively often documentaries on television about it and if you're going into a new school it's bound to be treated extensively (just like time after the war with the DDR). It's been three times for me. And people and politics still feel a strong responsibility to root out every form of National Socialism. Hence these retarded laws. They're just overdoing it and don't treat the citizens of the country as adults. It's the same with violence of video games in general here. Now that I think about it, they just hate video games...

Well, that's just ass backwards. You hear several times about all the horrible shit they did but aren't allowed to blow them away as clearly evil villains?

I would be more understanding if the ban was used with more discretion, only banning things that paint the Nazis in a positive light. The 'Merican(that's the way it's spelled in this context) in me still wouldn't like it, but for a country that never wants anything like that to happen again, it's reasonable.

Chaosritter:
According to Schnittberichte.com (popular site about censored games and movies), the UK version gets censored in the same manner.

Ain't the first time something like this is done, same was tried with Saints Row and Black Ops II. Probably because the publishers are very aware that nobody buys the censored garbage as soon as the word spread. There are several ways to circumvent the IP block, but most people will probably just pirate it.

Way to go, Bethesda...

That better not be true. If not then I may have to consider alternative means to get this game.

Yeah, on your pamplet...well, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 to 1945. There's just a big gap.

EVERYONE WAS ON VACATION.

Wait wait wait, what are you talking about? Germany invaded Poland in 1939, and...

WE WERE INVITED. PUNCH WAS SERVED. CHECK WITH POLAND.

Wait so no Nazi symbols or anything allowed in German versions of games, but if you just hop across the border to Austria, the birth-place of a certain Mr. Adolf Hitler, all the Swastikas and Nazis and whatnot are just fine?

That seem weird to anyone else?

WouldYouKindly:

Well, that's just ass backwards. You hear several times about all the horrible shit they did but aren't allowed to blow them away as clearly evil villains?

I would be more understanding if the ban was used with more discretion, only banning things that paint the Nazis in a positive light. The 'Merican(that's the way it's spelled in this context) in me still wouldn't like it, but for a country that never wants anything like that to happen again, it's reasonable.

Yep, that's why I get so emotional about this. Because I can't even follow their stupid logic.
They give that treatment to movies (because of the art argument) but not video games.
Well almost. I just checked. Posters of movies are still evil.
http://www.schnittberichte.com/news/pics/inglourious_basterds_en.jpg
http://www.schnittberichte.com/news/pics/inglourious_basterds_de.jpg

hazydawn:

senkus:

We sort of have, the German Cultural Council has declared them as such, which you could see as an 'official' acknowledgement of games as art. Sadly, legislation does not reflect that yet and I am not holding my breath for it as long as Angie is in office.

Pfff, the next Bundeskanzler/-in (Federal Chancellor) will not touch that subject either.
Here's a not too old interview (in German) with somebody from the responsible authority:
http://www.pcgames.de/Panorama-Thema-233992/Specials/Spiele-sind-keine-Filme-Interview-mit-der-Obersten-Landesjugendbehoerde-1112254

omega 616:
Without stamping on toes, how is Germany with the whole world war 2 thing?

We're constantly reminded in history class, television and society about what bad people we are that we mustn't let anything like that ever happen again. Which I agree, we must never forget. But politics and some people take this mentality too far in my opinion. In their mind we still owe the Jews and Israel some kind of special treatment. Or maybe they just feel guilty for no reason.
And we obviously can't even be trusted to be reasonable adults according to the law. Our fragile minds must be protected. Because anyone who reads "Mein Kampf" or sees a swastika in a video game THAT IS ABOUT KILLING NAZIS will turn immediately into a nazi as if there's a nazi-virus hidden in it. It's history god dammit! Let people educate themselves! ...and kill virtual nazis.

Edit: Ok, maybe "constantly" is exaggerated, but every now and then it pops up :p
And becuase we still treat it in this fashion I wouldn't say we've moved past it.

I don't speak German, so I read that in a pretty nasty Google translation, but did they seriously say (paraphrased because the translation was rough) "Games are recognized as art, for audio-visual representation, dramatirgical elements, and character representation" and then turn around and say "but they can't have swastikas because those are only allowed in very specific instances where they serve art, and in videogames they aren't serving the art?" Does this guy even logic?

Edit: Wait a minute, they're worried about Nazis, but the representative of the USK they interviewed is /clearly/ Captain Picard of the ISS Enterprise, in the mirror universe. Just look at him:image He looks like Patrick Stewart with an evil goatee. If you're doing business with the Terran Empire, you don't have much room to complain about the Nazis.

Chaosritter:
According to Schnittberichte.com (popular site about censored games and movies), the UK version gets censored in the same manner.

Ain't the first time something like this is done, same was tried with Saints Row and Black Ops II. Probably because the publishers are very aware that nobody buys the censored garbage as soon as the word spread. There are several ways to circumvent the IP block, but most people will probably just pirate it.

Way to go, Bethesda...

Plenty of games in the UK have had Nazis in them, I don't see why they would censor this one in particular.

Owyn_Merrilin:
I don't speak German, so I read that in a pretty nasty Google translation, but did they seriously say (paraphrased because the translation was rough) "Games are recognized as art, for audio-visual representation, dramatirgical elements, and character representation" and then turn around and say "but they can't have swastikas because those are only allowed in very specific instances where they serve art, and in videogames they aren't serving the art?" Does this guy even logic?

Pretty much.
Since I posted that link... >.<
The interviewer ask if in the futrue particular cases with these symbols could pass because the had a press converence in which they said that they would honor the aspect of art in video games.

To which the intervied answers that they already aknowledged beforehand that video games could be art. That they inspect the artistic aspects in games, e.g. audio-visual design, dramatic elements or character portrayal. Then he goes on how the law is very clear about how it is illegal to dipict these symbols and that only in very strict boundaries this could be allowed - among other things if it is for an artistic purpose.
And in the end I think he tries to say that this practice will only change once the courts start to rule otherwise.

Not perfect but I reckon (a little) better than google.

There you have it. Wolfenstein's just not artsy enough.

I always feel bad for german gamers when it comes to WW2 era games and censorship. For example in all of the HOI games they have the entire german cabinet and some of the general replaced by either black shadows or replacements with stupid names. Although at least there are workarounds for this example and the game in the story.

WouldYouKindly:
This level of censorship almost seems like Germany wants to pretend that Nazis didn't exist and don't exist.

Fun fact: Holocaust denying is a crime in Germany. So you could say that it's a crime to pretend the Nazi's never existed.

It's just an over compensation. "We aren't Nazis! We promise! See! We're going to punish everyone who talks about them, or writes about them, or thinks about them! We aren't Nazis, seriously! Please, guys, we're better now!" No, Germany, we get it. Nobody actually thinks you have anything to do with Nazis anymore. Now stop with the draconian banning of a part of history. It's time to move on.

Chaosritter:
Ain't the first time something like this is done, same was tried with Saints Row and Black Ops II.

Only Saints Row 2 but that is indeed a similar situation.
And Black Ops 2 was uncut, where as Black Ops 1 was available in two versions (a censored version without Nazi-Symbolism, no violence and so on and the international version, which still forced the replacement of the Nazi-textures but was otherwise uncut and compatible with the international version).

Eh...on the one hand, banning swastikas in games is rather foolish, especially when they aren't banned in other mediums.

OTOH, I very much have to respect the way Germany handles the Third Reich, head on, no denying it, and no letting a cult of memory spring up. In many ways Japan would do well to follow their example.

FEichinger:
Germany has gotten over it. The far right is getting traction again thanks to the Euro crisis, but for the most part WWII is a thing of the past that's been analyzed, faced, and resolved in any way imaginable and feasible. It's every-bloody-one else who immediately pulls out the "Germans = Nazis" nonsense, which is why Germany has to keep that tucked away as much as possible, lest there actually be a reason for people to say such.

The problem is we actually DIDNīT get over it, otherwhise we would just say fuck the idiots who always pull the nazi jocker if they want to silence us. Especially because mostly everyone involved in WWII is dead by now. But anyway, the regionlock really sucks, i got the game gifted some days ago from my girlfriend who lives in finland, but you canīt activate it as long as you have a german ip.

Owyn_Merrilin:
I don't speak German, so I read that in a pretty nasty Google translation, but did they seriously say (paraphrased because the translation was rough) "Games are recognized as art, for audio-visual representation, dramatirgical elements, and character representation" and then turn around and say "but they can't have swastikas because those are only allowed in very specific instances where they serve art, and in videogames they aren't serving the art?" Does this guy even logic?

Not quite. He made clear that movies and games are completely different, because games are interactive. What that has to do with everything is not answered, probably because the reason is bullshit. The thing that getīs me is, he says that they look at the art aspect of games now, so Nazi symbolism in games is acceptable in really narrow borders, if they e.g. serve the aspenct of art [, science or education]. And in the next sentence it says, drawing Nazi symbolism in games is forbidden by law in the first place. That still doesnīt anwser the question way itīs ok in movies.

Till this whole nonsense getīs revisited by law, which it wonīt for at least the next 100 years we will not get swastikas.

EDIT: There is some hope, i found a different article about a game called Generation Zero made by Reality Twist. Itīs a german game that will deal with the collaps after the third reich and is supposed to be an interactive documentary. They want to get the saymbolism into the game, if that works itīs possible that other publishers will follow.

Glaice:
Can't Germany move on from this nonsense already by being uptight on shit that happened 70 years ago? Yes, there are a minority of people who follow Nazism in secret but does this mean the entire gaming community has to suffer because of World War 2 atrocities involving their country?

They're being uptight with Nazism as China is being with a game offending them.

Germany is not the one being uptight here. The Publishers are the ones that are being stupid idiots without balls. Yes, the Swastika symbol is forbidden in Germany, because the display of it in public counts as propaganda for the nazi party. But that's about it. The "Nazis" -> "The Regime" Nonsense is the biggest bullshit i heard ever. You can say the word nazi here people.
Additionaly the last game that has actually been banned for nazi content was the original "Castle Wolfenstein" Game. That game is from 1981. That's right, 30 freaking years.

Even if the game would be "banned" in germany it doesn't actually mean its completely banned. It can still be sold under the counter. It's just not allowed to be advertised.

Erm.. You seriously consider "game about killing nazis" to be "an expression of art"? To me that just seems tasteless and outdated, and I can absolutely agree to not making an exception for such a game. Now, if there were a game that dealt with the actual history in an interesting way, you know a sort of "Schindler's List" in game form, THEN this might be something to get worked up over if it were censored, but a brainless FPS? I don't see the issue, they might as well ban flappy bird, who the hell cares?

I'm not from Germany, but over here in the Netherlands it's still a fairly important topic. Part of that has to do with the fact that the issue wasn't handled very well right after WW2. People have a tendency to bury things and get on with their life, which is sort of good...but some cases you need to handle it better than that. In the case of my country, a whole new pit of filth was opened when a large archive about Nazi collaborators opened. That was in 2000. Now imagine how the new Germany, both as two different states and since the fall of the soviets, as one state, had to try and handle a past like that.

And it's not just how the countries handle their own past. There's been some resistance to Germany being the de facto leaders of the EU because...well, "look what happened last time they were in charge". Of course, those sentiments aren't that strong anymore, but Germany has always been very hesitant about things like leadership and military power ever since. I'm pretty sure that no German citizen would ever put a 10 foot pole in his lawn and wave the german flag around every day, and i'm also fairly sure that it's actually illegal. Also, Germany is pretty much the only country where denying the Jewish holocaust won't just kill your carreer and reputation, but is also illegal.

So no, things haven't been sorted out entirely. I'm not saying that the German people haven't moved on, but is that all there is to it? Important to note is that WW2 is still the latest war on European soil (not counting the balkans, but that's a whole different thing), so that makes it somewhat of a reference point.

Now, does the fact that after almost 70 years peoples and countries haven't been able to forget about this mean that a game should be blocked? Well, it depends on what other things about the war are allowed.

In 2012, a movie partially produced by Germans was released. It was called "Iron Sky". What was it about? HEY LOOK, IT'S SPACENAZIS FROM THE MOOOOOOOON!

So yeah, this wolfenstein thing is pretty weird even in context.

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