How a German company makes a WWII game in Germany

Gaming Nexus has a great interview with Inga Mittendorf, PR-Manager of Replay Studios, in which she talks all things Velvet Assassin, the upcoming World War II stealth based game. The discussion concerning the German sensitivities toward the topic of WWII and how that affected the game making process is of particular interest.

Mittendorf admits that “we accept that our country has this cruel and embarrassing past,” but by dealing with it in an open and frank conversational atmosphere, the topic is less sensitive among the younger populace. She says, “from earliest years in school children work up the crucial historical period of WWII and we have developed a critical view on the things that happened 60 years ago,” and “we feel enlightened enough not be intimidated by the topic any more-we consciously make it a topic! It has happened many generations before, so us young people should not feel guilty about it but instead make sure by open discussions and critical thinking to let this never happen again.”

Despite the feelings of the younger generations, Replay Studios did have to take into consideration the general climate of the German culture and could not include some things in Velvet Assassin that would have made the game completely historically accurate. For example, the developer could not use the swastika symbol in game, even though the player has no choice but to play against the Nazis and the “message of the game is definite anti-nazi.”

In closing, Mittendorf says that they do understand why people would be skeptical about using the serious, sad, and dramatic setting of WWII in a game that is usually meant to be fun. “There is a fear of abusing out cruel past,” she says, so the developers chose to have a female main character who is less violent. Additionally, they chose the stealth genre for the game, which adds a lot to the gameplay and ensures that the player does not go around the whole game running-and-gunning. She adds that people who saw the game “give the same feedback and think that our way of dealing with the topic looks healthy and grown up.”