Culture

'Call of Duty' Makers Remove Swastika From 'Historical' Video Game

An aerial flyby show over Los Angeles for Activision's upcoming blockbuster, "Call of Duty: WWII" during E3 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for Activision/AP Images)

It’s said that history is written by the victors, and for a long time that was certainly true and a terrible problem if the bad guys actually won.

But with the invention of the photograph and then film and video recordings — and of course the First Amendment — that became less of a factor. Information about what really happened is much more accurate, and the whole world is better for access to that information.

Despite this evidence, however, it doesn’t stop some people from wanting to pretend that evil didn’t really happen. From Heat Street:

The makers of Call of Duty: World War II claim to be creating a “historically authentic” experience. The game is about killing computer renderings of Nazis for fun but in the realistically depicted setting of wartime Europe. One would naturally assume that this would allow for the display of Nazi imagery — but its makers at Activision have opted to scrub out the swastika.

Perhaps fearing a backlash from German censors, who often replaces swastikas in video games with fictional logos, or a backlash from perpetually sensitive social justice warriors who are triggered by the mere sight of the symbol, the developers replaced the swastika with the Schwarzes Kreuz, which dates back to the 19th century. New footage of the game released at E3 2017 depict the black cross instead of the swastika.

The developers may not want players to represent themselves with the Nazi symbol in online death matches — but there’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be used in the story campaign. It’s strange for a game that claims to be “historically authentic” to omit what became the most infamous symbol of the 20th century, representing one of the worst threats humanity ever had to face.

In contrast, Bethesda’s newly announced Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which features Nazis and the KKK as primary enemies, has the symbol plastered all over the game’s environments and characters. After all, they’re supposed to be Nazis.

Precisely. These are supposed to be the literal Nazis — and not in the social justice sense of the term where everyone who disagrees with you is “literally” a Nazi.

They should be portrayed as such, particularly in a video game that purports to be historically accurate.

Pretending that darkness doesn’t exist in the historical record because it’s troubling negates the purpose of recording history.

History is troubling, particularly Nazi Germany, for crying out loud. And if you want to prevent those evils from coming around again, you don’t do so by disappearing them. You shine a light on them, so everyone can see how horrible they were and constantly attack any attempts at spreading that kind of thinking again.

And shooting the hell out of them in a video game is a great idea, too.