You either die a hero or live long enough to see video games introduce a "toggle swastika". According to a new report, Sledgehammer Games' upcoming Call Of Duty: Vanguard will give players the option to choose between seeing the swastika or the iron cross during campaign playthroughs.
The swastika, a symbol that has been synonymous with the Nazi movement since World War II, rarely finds its way into video games. It's typically cut from the vast majority of titles set around the period and replaced with the Iron Cross.
2017's Call Of Duty: WWII, for example, did not include swastikas in the interests of respecting "cultural boundaries".
"We've wrestled with the topic of Nazi iconography, including the swastika, throughout the course of development," Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey told Forbes at the time.
"There are, of course, cultural boundaries that we felt we needed to respect. And we also wanted to be authentic in our approach to game design. It's a fine balance of not glorifying the symbolism, while also not ignoring or shying away from this dark moment in human history. There's certainly a line that we are very conscious not to cross, while still honoring the sacrifice of those who fought to push back the world from the brink of tyranny. In short, it's not something we take lightly."
Earlier this year, reports emerged that suggested Call Of Duty: Vanguard would not be censoring certain Nazi imagery. Industry insider Tom Henderson, a leaker with a proven track record when it comes to Battlefield and Call Of Duty, said back in August that there would be "no more Iron Cross", implying that the swastika would no longer be replaced.
Now, Henderson has claimed over on Twitter that players will instead have the option to choose between the swastika and the iron cross.
It looks like there could be an option in the #Vanguard campaign to have either the Swastika or Iron Cross.- Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) October 11, 2021
As previously mentioned, the Swastika was displayed instead of the Iron Cross in some internal artwork. pic.twitter.com/ONdRzYEIFr
As always, take this with a pinch of salt for now. Henderson is a proven reliable source, but there's every chance Activision and Sledgehammer Games could change its mind in this situation, given the obvious controversy that comes with it.
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