Video captured/edited by Mark Walton.
Bethesda, publisher of the upcoming shooting game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, has issued a formal response to decidedly informal (and largely anonymous) criticisms surrounding the anti-Nazi game.
In doing so, however, the company has made the curious decision to try to absolve itself of particularly political overtones.
The game’s latest advertising campaign, which launched this week, appropriates President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan by using the tagline “Make America Nazi-Free Again.” This message could be read one of two ways: as an isolated reference to the game’s conceit, which makes players battle through an alternate-universe United States overrun by Nazis; or as a pointed comment about high-profile neo-Nazi demonstrations in the USA over the past few months.
The campaign, unsurprisingly, was followed by vitriolic comments from unconfirmed social media accounts.
It’s a tactic that shouldn’t shock anybody who has followed recent, fascinating studies about Russian campaigns of disinformation and political-bubble exploitation that rely on similar social media actions. One of the most visible anonymous complaints directed at Bethesda, carried by “WTF really” retweets, described the ad campaign as an attempt to “tap into hysterical leftist power fantasy.” (To clarify: these anti-Wolfenstein posts do not appear to have a clear connection to Russian disinformation campaigns.)
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