The latest entry into the classic Wolfenstein franchise tells the story of an alternate universe where the Allies lost WWII and America is now governed by Nazis. It is not, however, a documentary on our lives in 2017.
To the development team at MachineWorks, this sounded like a great cooky premise for the follow up to their hit 2014 Wolfenstein: New Order reboot. But now we all live in the bizarro world of today, where a white supremacy-defending President sits in the White House. And, suddenly, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus started carrying a whole lot more weight when it came to current American political climate.
When the IRL President of the United States claims that there were “very fine” people at the neo-Nazi Charllotesville rally, a game about Nazis being bad suddenly becomes a bold political statement.
To be clear: it shouldn’t be. But, apparently, it is.
Certain aspects of Wolfenstein 2 parallel our IRL reality with unsettling accuracy. Easter eggs that feel way too close to home are peppered throughout the game, shedding a little light on the relationship between Trumpism, fascism, and the rise of neo-Nazis in America right now.
Because in the alternate universe/darkest timeline that is 2017, the truth can often feel much stranger (and more frightening) than fiction.
So here are some of the most depressingly real Wolfenstein 2 easter eggs showing the parallels between the game’s openly fascist nazi regime, and the American politics of today.
1. How populist, fascist morons rise to power in a democracy.
Remember how Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, and yet here we all are, living in Donald Trump’s neo-Nazi alternate reality anyway?
Wolfenstein 2 remembers. It remembers how the 2017 presidential race revealed that our democratic electoral process is often defenseless against mob-mentalities. The game’s newspaper collectible gets super real when it explains how, during these divisive and dire times, “the most devious and mediocre” men with the mind of “a virtual vacuum” often rise to power.
Those who know Trump is just a symptom of a much larger, systemic, long-standing American disease might also identify with the analysis that this president “represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.” The real twist of the knife is the final prediction that, “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
2. Is that you, Fox News? Nope, just the “fair and balanced” reporting of The Star-Spangled Daily.
Here, we see our IRL President’s wet dream of replacing every journalist doing their job of holding him accountable to facts (and his own actions) with the friendly hosts of Fox and Friends. This is the ultimate end goal in Trump’s war against the “fake news media,” which he declared public enemy #1 of America.
Breitbart’sThe Star-Spangled Daily’s declaration that it will “protect the American people from dishonest and deceitful news articles” even sounds like it came out of the nightmarish mouth of Trump’s ex-Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon.
3. There is no place for “Yes We Can!” in a world wishing to “Make America Great Again.”
This out of order pinball machine entitled “YES WE CAN!” should sound familiar — it’s a reference to President Obama’s campaign slogan from back when we didn’t live in alternate reality Nazi America.
These optimistic words that promise a bright future should also stand in clear contrast to the slogan that won Donald Trump the 2017 election. But the Wolfenstein developers have a response to Trump’s backwards promise that only he can “Make America Great Again” (for white, cis men).
And it’s the hardy rallying cry of #MakeAmericaNaziFreeAgain.
4. Fascist regimes always paint resistance leaders as terrorists.
Posters, newspapers, and even an alternate-universe version of the original Wolfenstein 3D game demonstrate another common tactic of fascist regimes: propaganda that paints anyone who resists their tyranny as villains.
In Wolfenstein 2, you can play a fully functioning arcade game called Wolfstone 3D: an exact replica of the real-life, original Wolfenstein 3D — except for a few key differences. Instead playing as the Nazi-murdering hero of BJ Blazkowicz, you play as a Nazi. And instead of killing Hitler, your objective in Wolfstone 3D is to kill the horrifying terrorist criminal known as BJ Blazkowicz.
Let this game serve as a reminder to those who seem all too ready to call resistance groups like Antifa (which stands for “anti-fascists”) terrorists, while hesitating to use the same label to describe the actual acts of terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists.
5. A media that normalizes Nazis and white supremacists.
In a clip from the Die Neue Wahrheit (which translates to “The New Truth”) in Wolfenstein 2, you come across a headline urging readers to “Meet The Dapper Young KKK Leader With A Message Of Hope.”
We wish we could sit back and laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of this headline, but we can’t. Because the progressive media outlet Mother Jones ran a frighteningly similar one last year that offered readers the chance to “meet the dapper white nationalist riding the Trump wave.”
Mother Jones wasn’t the first or the last in media to portray white supremacists in a sympathetic light, either. From the Washington Post to the now-canceled KKK reality show, our real world media doesn’t seem to see the issue with giving white supremacists a national platform from which to spout their insane bullshit from.
6. Can you imagine the President of the United States surrendering to Nazis? Yup.
If you replace words “the German Army” with “neo-Nazi white supremacist scum” in the first newspaper clipping, it could very well be describing the countless times Donald Trump has offered the total surrender of our country to racist, sexist, white-supremacist super villains throughout his presidency.
Just take a gander at Steve Bannon, KKK leader and staunch Trump supporter David Duke, or Richard Spencer — and every other neo-Nazi scrum our president bends over backwards to accommodate at every opportunity.
So, please, everyone. Let’s take Wolfenstein 2‘s story as a cautionary tale, rather than accidentally using it as a road map to creating a neo-Nazi ruled America.