With Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus unlocking around the world, a lot of people are jumping into the game today. Which means they're beginning on a journey towards one of the most astonishing story moments of any PC game in recent memory. And I want to talk about. But if you have any thought towards playing the game, hold fire on reading further for now. Here's one final spoiler alert—achtung! before I dive in. Right, here goes. You'll find a video of the moment in question below. The slightly innocuous image of BJ Blazkowicz at the top of this page has nothing to do with anything, really. It's just the most uneventful screen I could dig up.
As teased in Wolfenstein 2's launch trailer, BJ Blazkowicz auditions for a sick Adolf Hitler. You pretend to be an actor pretending to be BJ Blazkowicz, then read, badly, to star as yourself in a propaganda film based on your ongoing battles with the game's villain, Frau Engel. Oh, I missed a vital detail: you're auditioning for this role in a Nazi base on the planet Venus. As you'll see in the video, too, you can attempt to kill Hitler—but the game doesn't let you.
What will people make of it? Maybe in the bizarro world we now find ourselves in it'll be contentious for the alternately ridiculous and cruel ways Hitler is portrayed—he's vomiting and pissing, then shooting a guy for fun, then referencing the dictator's real ideologies. Like the game itself, the tone in the scene jumps between ludicrous and disturbing, and you're left to figure out how you feel about it. The presence of Hitler—looking much closer in appearance to real life than you'd see in a movie or TV show—also adds a deliberately unsettling quality.
It's funny in places, like the way BJ delivers his lines, the other, doomed actors reciting their lines, or how Nazi propaganda has portrayed Blazkowicz as an idiot. Is it okay to use real-life historical figures to tell your story about a likeable hero and his pals killing Nazis with big guns? I expect that'll come down to the player. I'm not sure what what to make of it, personally—but it's certainly a talking point, and one of several moments from the game's story that I can't stop thinking about. For my full thoughts on Wolfenstein 2, my review is here. Final spoiler: I liked it quite a lot.