The short answer is: historical accuracy.
Wait, what? OK, so granted Wolfenstein: The New Order features some pretty outrageous stuff, like cyborg guard dogs and a mad scientist that has engineered human mechas. But as Wolfenstein’s creative director Jens Matthies tells Giant Bomb, a lot of research on proper historical representation went into that 80s’ action-hero, alternate-history framework:
It’s far too convenient to put a swastika on somebody and say “shoot them!” For us, it was incredibly important to show what Nazi ideology was about.
He elaborates that though the Nazis in Wolfenstein are sort of ridiculous, as villains in dumb, fun games are wont to be, they’re also true to the horrors of history.
From day one, we didn’t want to cartoonify Nazi ideology. We have these over-the-top, larger-than-life antagonists. Our main antagonist is called Deathshead! Obviously, we’re not talking about real people here…. But within that boundary, within that universe, we wanted to make sure that conveyed what Nazi ideology is about.
So what do you think? Does Wolfenstein pay proper respect to one of the greatest atrocities in history, or is Matthies trying to have his cake and eat it to?