Why ‘Wolfenstein II’ Is Staying Away from Hitler (for Now)

Jeremy Ray
PC Gaming Nintendo
PC Gaming Nintendo Games

Wolfenstein II‘s creative director Jens Matthies was recently answering questions at the EB Expo trade show in Australia. It covered a wide range of topics over an hour, and had dipped into the sensitive nature of anything involving Nazis in today’s political climate. Then the interviewer posed the question of whether or not we’d see Hitler.

Matthies had knocked back the last two questions with a “no comment”, so when he was asked if Hitler would appear, he was visibly anxious to provide a real answer.

The result was quite revealing:

“We always have this thought that if Hitler becomes part of the game, then everything becomes about Hitler. And so when you’re thinking about a trilogy, then… eh…”

His emphasis was on the word “trilogy” as he prompted the interviewer to fill in the blank. Which is a pretty large hint that Hitler might be in the third game. Might dominate the third game, rather. As for whether it actually will be a trilogy, that’s uncertain.

“We always thought about a trilogy from the beginning,” said Matthies. “So we kind of roughly knew that if we got to make a sequel, where would things go? The dream is to make a trilogy but obviously that’s more of a financial decision, so yeah.”

Of course, it’s completely feasible that Hitler would eventually be in the franchise. Even though it’s a sensitive topic, there’s a strong nostalgia argument. Mecha Hitler was in the first game. MachineGames is fully capable of taking that encounter to the same levels of ridiculousness to make it funny.

It’s also easy to see why Hitler isn’t a good fit for Wolfenstein II, which is set in a defeated United States. This sequel is all about the changeover period. Banners with swastikas have already been flung everywhere, and people are getting ready to shift the official language to German.

“We always knew that we wanted to take the sequel to the US,” said Matthies. “Once we established the Nazis were taking over the world, what would that look like in the US?

“Because of the time in history… It’s the 60s, so civil rights movements, things happening culturally that we thought would be very interesting to explore. By seeing how the Nazis have perverted all of that.”

There you have it. It’s not the right time to kill the final boss. Things have to get worse before they get better.

Jeremy Ray
Managing Editor at FANDOM. Decade-long games critic and esports aficionado. Started in competitive Counter-Strike, then moved into broadcast, online, print and interpretative pantomime. You merely adopted the lag. I was born in it.
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