Bethesda Defends Its Trump-Inspired Wolfenstein II Nazi Killing Slogan ‘Make America Nazi-Free Again’
For so many reasons, Wolfenstein II looks to be a fantastic new addition to the classic game series, and as such, publisher Bethesda has pushed its advertising and promotional effort hard. As the company is quickly finding out, however, even if you think an advertising campaign provides a bulletproof message, you're may still to have to deal with backlash, especially if it also pushes the envelope a bit.
In this particular case, Bethesda published a trailer that held back no punches, stating: "Make America Nazi-Free Again." Blunt? Incredibly. Unfortunately, white supremacist and Nazi-related subjects have been prominent in the US news recently, while some people have related President Trump to that current landscape as well. As a result of this, and because the campaign slogan riffs off Donald Trump's original campaign slogan of "Make America Great Again" for his presidential bid, some folks have taken Bethesda's stance with this advertising campaign to be very anti-Trump.
Not long after Bethesda's advertising campaign went live, many on Twitter took offense to the message, and were quite vocal about it. Ultimately, a large portion of this confusion actually seems to be from those who don't know what Wolfenstein II actually is. Taken out of context, it's understandable how a message like this wouldn't go down softly.
However, in Bethesda's defense, Wolfenstein has existed since 1981, and the game has always involved killing a specific set of Nazis bad guys and demons.
Bethesda's VP of PR, Pete Hines, offers no apologies, stating that Wolfsenstein II doesn't detract at all from the series, and that he feels he and Bethesda are on the "right side of history."
Wolfenstein has been a decidedly anti-Nazi series since the first release more than 20 years ago. We aren't going to shy away from what the game is about. We don't feel it's a reach for us to say Nazis are bad and un-American, and we're not worried about being on the right side of history here.
We'll see what happens from here, but it sounds like Bethesda is OK with its ad campaign slogan, which prefaces the launch of the game on October 17th for Windows, PS4, and Xbox. Interestingly, Wolfenstein II is also going to make an appearance on Nintendo's Switch, although that version won't be released until 2018.