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Germany Lifts Long-Standing Ban on Nazi Imagery in Video Games

Works like 'Wolfenstein II: A New Colossus' had been heavily edited to remove swastikas and Adolf Hitler — not anymore

Germany’s video game-regulating agency announced on Thursday that the country will allow video games with Nazi imagery to be sold unaltered in the country, as long as the imagery is proven to serve an artistic agenda.

The Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body, or USK, had previously required video games to be edited in order to bought and downloaded within the country. Images like the swastika would need to be scrubbed.

A previous video game to require such editing was “Wolfenstein II: A New Colossus.” The game was set in an alternate reality in which the Nazis had won World War II.

The German version of the game was heavily changed. Nazi imagery was removed and the character of Hitler was changed to “Heiler.” The dictator’s mustache was even removed.

“Other games have been similarly edited to remove depictions of Nazi iconography, with swastikas, for example, being replaced by triangular symbols,” noted The Hollywood Reporter.

The world’s biggest gaming convention, Gamescom, is set to take place in Cologne, Germany, from August 21 to 25 — and this will no doubt be a big topic of conversation for attendees.

“Through the change in the interpretation of the law, games that critically look at current affairs can for the first time be given a USK age rating,” said managing director Elisabeth Secker of the USK (the Education Software Self-Regulation Body) in a public statement.

“This has long been the case for films and with regards to the freedom of the arts. This is now rightly also the case with computer and video games.”

In Germany, films may currently show Nazi imagery as long as that imagery serves an artistic purpose — but German law still states that glorification of Nazi Germany and almost all public use of Nazi symbols are not allowed.

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PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].