In Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus‘ new trailer, a live-action game show envisions just what a Nazi-occupied United States of America might mean through the lens of propaganda. “German… or Else!” says it all, as two Americans compete to translate abstract nouns from English to German. Being a Wolfenstein commercial, things only get more twisted from there, as Rupert handily defeats Linda and she is promptly taken by two Nazi soldiers for four weeks of, “Re-Education!”
“German… or Else” is terrifying. It isn’t just Linda’s gradually paling face as she grows increasingly desperate, or even the Nazi soldiers strong-arming her after her defeat. It’s the normalcy with which the game show carries on so normally knowing Linda’s predicament. The grinning, charming host, the laughing, smiling audience, and the smug confidence as Rupert wins without showing an ounce of remorse. Poor Linda never stood a chance.
Wolfenstein‘s latest trailer pulls off propaganda exceptionally, making it difficult to ascertain if what’s being shown is genuine or staged. It normalizes what should be unbelievable, but every player knows that Wolfenstein 2 itself won’t embrace any such subtlety.
The game show also hints at some details regarding the story of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. As has been well covered already, Wolfenstein 2 takes place in a United States that’s been conquered and occupied by Nazi Germany. But as the trailer tells us, we’re not so far into the occupation that Germans have total control. They’ve only created the atmosphere of control – smiling faces, friendly banter, and the constant threat of violence.
At the end of the trailer, the game show hosts tells the audience, “Remember, only 173 days left of English. Make sure you’re prepared.” The implication being that after 173 more days all American citizens will be required to speak German.
That’s the whole point of the game show, it seems – to remind Americans to learn their German and the consequences of not. Wolfenstein 2, mirroring the themes of revolution from Wolfenstein: The New Order, takes place in an environment that’s tensed to the point of explosion. Odds are BJ Blaskowicz and his arsenal are more than willing to light the fuse.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus releases October 27, 2017 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.