Until now, games that had things like a swastika (like in Wolfenstein) were released in a heavily censored edition in Germany. However, the country slowly starts to steer away from such decisions.
The symbols could be used in movies and literature for a few years, but with games, the censorship was still openly happening. If we had to bring up one recent example, we’d mention Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
In the video above, we can see how even Adolf Hitler had to get rid of his moustache due to USK, the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body, to allow MachineGames’ product to be available in Germany. In fact, even the word Führer was cut from the game – instead, Hitler was referred to as Kanzler, the German word for chancellor. Remember; Wolfenstein II came out last Autumn – USK was still widely censoring the Nazi symbols and terms due to them being unconstitutional (as the German constitution has banned the NSDAP, the Nazi party, altogether).
Game, the German games industry trade body, says that the USK can now apply ratings to video games that include such content. USK will assess case-by-case whether games that „depict unconstitutional organisations’ symbols” could get a rating or not by looking if „those symbols serve an artistic or scientific purpose, or depict current or historical events”. They rely on the German Criminal Code’s section 86, which includes the „social adequacy clause.”
So, we can slowly bid farewell to severe censorship: previously, we saw games getting either no blood or green blood, or even seeing enemies modified to aliens or robots – look at the censored version of Half-Life!
Censorship is not always useful, and in the case of Germany, it was more of an annoyance in the past decades. Now, they should shrink the USK rating logos on the games’ boxes…