The Opening Moments of 'Wolfenstein II' Absolutely Do Not Fuck Around


#1

I'm going to spoil the hell out of the first twenty minutes of Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. You've been warned. I'm also adding a content warning for, well, everything related to nazi behavior, including racism, homophobia, anti-semitism.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/evbzxn/the-opening-moments-of-wolfenstein-ii-absolutely-do-not-fuck-around

#2

Maybe it’s just the way of the news these days, but I found the contrast (or lack thereof) between these two twitter items kind of chilling


#3

I don’t see how things being over-the-top could dilute the point. The things that are shown are not made merely to make us hate the character but to give more exposure to the sick thinking that the antagonists have in their mind.

I’d be more perplexed if Wolfenstein suddenly put the brakes on their ride.


#4

Oh man. That’s some super gross shit.


#5

Did Austin pulled rank here? Because he was petting cats!


#6

This really dampers my desire to play this tbh. There’s value in seeing evil people doing evil shit but this is waaaay over my limit.


#7

I feel like both strategies have their pros and cons. Going too over the top will wake up Some people, but will make others scoff at how “unrealistic and cartoonish” it is while they ignore actual cartoonish evils happening. And when you downplay it for the sake of believability that works better for some, but others willfully miss the subtleties of the believable take, even when most might look at it and go “There’s no way you can miss this tho, right??”

Basically there’s always gonna be people who see what they want and always find a way to spin media to themselves so they never let it affect their own views and beliefs.

I hope the games good even if Probably Actual Nazis are gonna play it and not think anything’s wrong other than the “damn sjw” marketing.


#8

Not sure “this is a bit much” stacks up as an argument after all the times we’ve collectively gone, “you know if a movie/videogame villain said/did this it would be considered a bit much”, at actual real events that actually happened this year. Like, I can get a lot of the arguments for why it might personally upset or put some people off, but I also recon if you aren’t the type that can handle that kind of stuff you probably weren’t going to play a game about that. If you’re afraid of spiders then no ammount of sanitisation is going to make Lord of Spiders: The Spidering any less of a thing you aren’t going to play.

It would also speak somewhat to the mindset of the people doing the metaphorical punching if the punches were pulled. Once you decide that BJ’s Dad is going to be the worst of the worst scumbag, anything that isn’t done in service of making him out to be a scumbag is in service of making him more palatable and acceptable, weather it’s intended or not. It doesn’t seem like much to reign in a bit with something like “oh don’t show him beating his wife, that’s a bit much”, but what’s that ACTUALLY in service of? Making the people watching him hate him less than if they saw him do it? They know he does it. You’ve done enough there that there’s no way he doesn’t. All not showing it does is give plausible deniability to if he did it or not, and why the fuck would you do that?

I’d certainly be pretty concerned about the hypothetical person that made the suggestion to “tone it down a bit” during development, attached enough to the character that they want to make him more likable.

I get that it seems a bit callous, but pulling punches in depictions of Nazis is no small part of why we’re here right now.


#9

These moments effectively addresses one of the weak point of the character of Blaskowicz as a proud, patriotic American in ‘The New Order’. He yearns for better times that just weren’t there for marginalized people at the time. The introduction is a perfect opportunity to see that there is a part of himself, and his past, that understands that his faith in his country is not as clear-cut as it seems.

Throwing nazi flags in america and making the KKK in cahoots with them is easy to do, as they are already demonized. Wolfenstein 2 tries to create another layer, one of regular white america who is not part of this, but holds many of the same beliefs in terms of racism and homophobia, and I think it’s very interesting for them to do this. This is the part that hurts actual nazis in our time, to understand that they are a part of the american psyche and not just some fringe clown show that can be waved away.

So, is it too much ? Yes, because it strikes in the right place. This is why the game is right.


#10

I have a ton of sympathy for the people for who this is too much and aren’t going to pick up the game because of it. It might have been better if the game let you voluntarily skip the worst of it? It sucks to not be able to enjoy a game that you otherwise would have because of this stuff.

But, personally, I’m glad it goes so hard in the paint initially. I’m glad that it shows how close regular white America was (and, to some extent, still is) to Nazi ideology. My only real fear for this is that when your dad inevitably shows back up later in the game and they’ve turned him into a Nazi officer or member of the KKK. I think that would lessen the impact somewhat.

I do want to take mild umbrage with some people describing the father as being ‘cartoonishly evil’ though (not here specifically, but it’s a thing I’ve heard a couple of times). Only because it implies, to me atleast, that it’s an unrealistic sort of evil. I live in rural America. I’ve met this man. He is alive and well in the year 2017. I went to highschool with someone who, maybe 5 or 6 years after we graduated, did something so unspeakably evil to his dog that the in game depiction of animal abuse pales in comparison (I promise you this is not an exaggeration for effect).

Wolfenstein 2’s depictions of evil are incredibly intense. They’re gut wrenching, awful and probably more visible than most are used to seeing in their day to day. They will inevitably be too much for some people. They aren’t completely unrealistic though.


#11

I feel like it being this extreme really helps it sell the impact of what’s happening since it’s an fps. A lot of people who will play this game are used to the violence all shooters have and demonstrate to people, and if it didn’t go this far, they might see it as “just another shooter scene where bad stuff happens to the player”, possibly already being desensitized to what most games of this kind commonly show.


#12

Again, another fantastic article on waypoint.
I’ll have to start not saying that as it makes it seems like it’s the exception…
Still, to the point… It’s kinda funny that they had to adjust the tone of the game to the current events so much (if they did that is, maybe it was a happy accident).
This year was so bonkers that if they didn’t make Nazis so comically evil they could pass for your run-of-the-mill right-wing supporter maybe.
The more I hear about this game, the more I think it’s message is looking more interesting than just the title could make you think it was.
Let’s be frank, you don’t expect bitting commentary out of Wolfenstein “let’s kill nazis by truckloads with robot-Hitler as the last boss” 3D.


#13

It actually was an accident, they started writing the story back in 2014 haha


#14

i can’t answer the big question of “does it go too far?”, but i can say for myself that decapitated heads getting rubbed into peoples crotches doesn’t have a place in my livingroom, no matter what the message is.

i’m glad you guys wrote this up so that i know to skip it. much appreciated.


#15

I’m gonna play it. It’s pre-loaded. But it may as well just come with a copy of Mario and display a tool tip on the loading screens that says: “If this becomes too much, play Mario.”

I expect to also play a lot of Mario.


#16

This is absolutely not the year to pull the punches on nazis. But also this is absolutely not the year I want to see a woman get decapitated to degrade a nazi’s gay daughter. Just reading that made me feel gross.

To me it’s not a matter of it being unrealistic or too evil or whatever. I just feel that you can easily show that nazis are completely heinous without making you sit through basically snuff material. It just seems gratuitous and I wager will make plenty of people who already know nazis are evil feel like complete shit.


#17

The depiction of BJ’s dad doesn’t seem gratuitous to me. I’ve known people who’s parents were outwardly racist and anti-semitic in that way. I’m not sure they would make a kid shoot a dog but they were shit people. It fleshes out BJ’s childhood in a way that actually feels believable rather than cartoonish.

What happens with Engel and her daughter though. I… think that steps over my personal line. I don’t think it would have, like, two years ago, but in a year where I literally fear for my life because of real-ass Nazis… I don’t know.


#18

Yeah the dad part seems very uncomfortable but serves a good purpose of showing how bad America can be without even factoring Nazis. After that just feels unnecessary.


#19

This game, weirdly enough, reminds me of a lot of Takes about the movie The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cook,_the_Thief,His_Wife%26_Her_Lover

It’s a really really dark satire that was pretty controversial when it was released. A lot of people interpret it as describing the relationship between Thatcher, her government, the opposition party, and the public. Whatever your personal take on it is, it’s definitely a pretty harrowing movie about a toxic figure with a lot of power.

Not for the squeamish, but totally recommended if stuff like Wolfenstein’s no-holds-barred commentary appeals to you!


#20

So I just played through the beginning last night. And it definitely hit me harder, even knowing what was coming, when I was actually playing it. I agree that the stuff with BJ’s dad is really uncomfortable, but I’m cautiously optimistic that there will be a payoff for it, and it helps contextualize the character of BJ.

But the stuff with Engel is just…ugh…like, if she just did the execution, I think they could have ended it there without losing the impact of the moment. But then everything she does after…just…it’s really unnecessary and only serves a purpose to further disturb the player and make you hate a person that you already hate with a hot, burning, passion.