As is Wolfenstein tradition, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus lets players kill a whole bunch of Nazis. In years past positioning the Nazis as the bad guys would have been as uncontroversial a stance as it is possible for a game developer to adopt, though in these divisive times numerous people have criticized the game for positioning history’s de facto villains as its antagonists.
The new trailer, which is pretty damn good, shows hero BJ Blazkowicz embarking on another mission to take down the Nazis an an alternate history where Germany triumphed in World War II, with the game transporting players to a Nazi-controlled America in an effort to aid an armed resistance. One of the leaders of this resistance, an African-American woman, inevitably irritated the racists, as did an image of Nazis rubbing shoulders with hooded KKK members.
The end result was a wave of comments criticizing Wolfenstein 2 for being “anti-white,” the implication being that portraying Nazis and KKK members in a negative light — because apparently there are other ways to portray the literal Nazis and the literal KKK — is somehow racist against white people.
Then there were those who positioned the Nazis — again, the literal Nazis — as a group of people who were merely disagreeable, and not an army that violently attempted to enforce a racial hierarchy upon the world.
The comments were also home to several “communists are worse than Nazis” hot takes.
Then there were those who argued that racists are “created” when you, er, call them out on their racism…
…along with the straight-up, abhorrent fascists.
Not to mention an abundance of SJW paranoia.
Nazis are hardly new villains in the Wolfenstein series, with them having been the primary antagonists since id Software’s 1992 classic Wolfenstein 3D. However, with the rise of the alt-right and white nationalist views becoming increasingly and worryingly mainstream in this divisive and racially charged social climate, it’s unfortunately unsurprising that racists are bending over backwards to try to explain why fighting virtual Nazis is a bad thing.