A German regulating agency has lifted a ban on Nazi symbolism in video games sold and downloaded in the country.
The Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body, an industry rating group known as USK, announced on Thursday that games including banned symbols could now be sold with an appropriate rating — if the symbolism serves an artistic or scientific purpose or is used in an historical context.
The change comes after the video game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was released last year to debate. It depicts an alternate universe in which Nazi Germany won World War II. For the version sold in Germany, the mustache of an aging Adolf Hitler was digitally removed, and swastikas on banners were replaced with a similar but triangular symbol.
Other German versions of games have been edited to keep out depictions of Nazi regalia and iconography.
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The law in Germany banning public displays of Nazi symbols has not been changed, but the video industry’s interpretation of them has, CNN reported on Friday.
“Through the change in the interpretation of the law, games that critically look at current affairs can for the first time be given a USK age rating,” USK managing director Elisabeth Secker said in a statement. “This has long been the case for films and with regards to the freedom of the arts, this is now rightly also the case with computer and video games.”
It is an indication that video games, as a cultural medium, will be treated equally to other art and media forms, the German Games Industry Association said in a statement Thursday.