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Luc Bernard: Wolfenstein is an insult to the Holocaust

Luc Bernard: Wolfenstein is an insult to the Holocaust

Mon 09 Sep 2013 9:07am GMT / 5:07am EDT / 2:07am PDT
PublishingDevelopment

Indie dev wants to offer a different WW2 game experience

Indie developer Luc Bernard has strong words of criticism for modern day shooters, calling them distasteful and in the case of Wolfenstein: The New Order, even an insult to the Holocaust.

"You've seen it, right? I think they have robot Nazis or something like that? That's what I would call distasteful," he told GamesBeat.

"I'd nearly say it spits on what happened during World War II. You're taking what the Nazis represent - a mass genocide, the killing of so many people - and you're making it seem like a toy, a game. It's an insult to the Holocaust."

Bernard is currently trying to raise funding for his own game, Imagination Is The Only Escape, which he calls an "educational story-driven game about the Holocaust through the eyes of a child." He's turned to crowd-funding after publishers failed to grasp his concept.

"This doesn't really fit with publishers," he explained.

"I don't have anything against them, but a game like this doesn't fit in their market model. Even when I was trying to find people to pitch it to, they proposed instead that I try and get the license to Maus, the comic book. I said, 'No, that's a great story, but this is my own thing. I don't want to use someone else's license.' This just isn't an easy game to do through traditional methods."

In the past Bernard has worked on Mecho Wars, Reaper, SteamPirates and as a design consultant on Pocket God: The Runs.

The game's funding campaign currently has $3,441 of its $125,000 goal raised, with 39 days to go.

12 Comments

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
"You've seen it, right? I think they have robot Nazis or something like that? That's what I would call distasteful,"

It could also be seen as an interesting comment on the structure and indoctrination of armies and the rise of Nazism: the unthinking, obedient follower and the lack of challenges that can lead to terrible outcomes.*

I think I'd feel the game was an insult to the holocaust if it belittled or denied it had ever happened... not for painting the Nazi's in a poor light and then saying "what would have happened if they won".

*I'm under no illusion that the game will probably not address that side of things but having "robot" somethings does not just make it distasteful, IMO.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Mark Hughes Freelance programmer

15 40 2.7
Popular Comment
"I think they have robot Nazis or something like that?"
Sounds like the words of a man who hasn't actually played the game, and is probably in no position to be throwing around accusations of it being "an insult to the Holocaust". But hey, whatever gets you some free PR for your own game, right?

Posted:A year ago

#2

Renaud Charpentier Lead Designer, The Creative Assembly

66 144 2.2
As long as a game doesn't make an apology of crimes it has the right to exist.
Bad taste has the right to exist and political correctness doesn't have the right to limit creativity and free expression. Or the next day you can't have Nazis in your game, then you can't have war, because, you know, war is bad, it kills peoples, then you start banning Little Red Riding Hood because it is detrimental to women's image and PETA thinks the treatment of the wolf in the end is cruel. Then you live in a Brave New World and can't wake up from that nightmare.
Players are always free to vote with their wallets, if they find a game distasteful or shocking they are very free to not buy it. They are not free to forbid other players to buy it.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Jason Avent VP, Studio Head, NaturalMotion

139 140 1.0
Wolfenstein was great. So was Medal of Honor and Call of Duty 1-3. WW2 has already had it's day in the sun. In many, many guises. Most of which actually didn't have zombie, nazi monsters in them. A video game about 'the nazi holocaust from the eyes of a child' sounds like a really great arts project.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

340 292 0.9
I'm wondering whether this is genuine criticism or just throwing insults around to get the attention of the media (which I guess has worked).

I can't say I've found the new Wolfenstein to be offensive in any way, it actually looks far more interesting to me than any of the other Wolfenstein games in recent times.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,138 1,179 1.0
Popular Comment
Nazis have become such non-characters. Does anybody imagine they are shooting at real German human beings who were conscripted into the Germany army for whatever reason ending up fighting for the Nazi regime? At the same time Nazis have been trivialized. Sure, they are established as the bad guys in the context of the narrative, but compared to the cruelty of the real Nazis, most video game Nazis are funny Saturday morning cartoon badguys.

To this day, the events of this decade remain so incomprehensible that people, even in Germany, say the Nazis killed the Jews, in order to avoid saying that one group of Germans killed another group of Germans because of their religion and then tried to do the same to the entire world. Political enemies, killed. Minority groups, killed. Larger cultural groups deemed unwanted, killed. Dissenting press, killed.

If Luc Bernard wants to paint a realistic picture of that time, then he certainly does have his work carved out for him.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Andrew Clayton QA Functionality Tester, EA DICE

15 40 2.7
You're taking ... a mass genocide, the killing of so many people - and you're making it seem like a toy, a game.
Sums up just about every conflict-based game ever created.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media

61 88 1.4
You're taking ... a mass genocide, the killing of so many people - and you're making it seem like a toy, a game.
Bernard is currently trying to raise funding for his own game [...] about the Holocaust through the eyes of a child."
_U

Posted:A year ago

#8

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
"I don't have anything against them, but a game like this doesn't fit in their market model"

Remakes and reboots are a strong selling points nowdays. There you have the market model; a trend.

Can't believe a game designer comes with the same complaints we heard from politicians. I would like to hear his opinion on "Inglorius Bastards" or the Inidiana Jones movies.

A mistake when talking history is taking things out of their context. I descend from Cubans who lost everything because of Comunism and I don't feel offended by the tone of C&C Red Alert, because I am a gamer and I know it is just a game. A designer should know that better than I.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 9th September 2013 8:24pm

Posted:A year ago

#9

Antony O'Sullivan 3D Artist, Moonlit Games

4 8 2.0
Popular Comment
This whole article reads like this to me:

"This game that I haven't played is bad because Nazi robots, by the way this is me and here's my Kickstarter campaign that has 39 days to go".

I also have a fundamental issue with the quote "Publishers failed to grasp his concept"

This, in my honest opinion is more offensive to me than the claim of the article itself. There's a clear difference between publishers not liking a pitch and 'failing to grasp a concept'. I think this totally undermines the processes in which publishers employ to select what they believe to be financially viable and of GOOD design. I don't personally like the amount of silent first person adventure games currently being developed; that doesn't mean I've 'failed' to grasp their concept, and they're still developed regardless.

Attacking another game series (which, let's be honest has done a fair bit for the industry) for what is effectively free PR for your Kickstarter campaign is a bit of an awkward approach. I'm all for opinions as you can see, but I don't believe it's necessary to shoehorn your own development funding campaign on the tail of an attack.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Techni Myoko Programmer

43 81 1.9
He should be glad the game doesnt promote nazis like those muslim-state made games. He just wants to associate himself with something more popular to create controversy. And that i find insulting

Posted:A year ago

#11

Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer

75 47 0.6
Games are games FFS! You can do what you want with them just as with movies and comics and any commercially driven entertainment market. If you have the cash and freedom to make what you want you should do it. Any opinions that follow will determine how valuable your sequels will become.

Posted:A year ago

#12

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