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Author Topic: German for an FPS Protagonist  (Read 977 times)

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Offline MikemTopic starter

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German for an FPS Protagonist
« on: August 07, 2014, 05:51:13 PM »
When it comes to World War 2 Shooters, the gaming industry has basically moved on for the most part. Now it's all about the Modern day, the Near Future, and all kinds of Paranormal or Science Fiction. But one thing I've always questioned and never got a legitimate answer for is this; "Why hasn't there been a Triple-A First Person/Third Person Shooter set in World War 2 where you play as a German Soldier?" I'll get to the obvious facts so no one else has to point them out.

Yes we all know Germans during the second world war were the "Bad Guys". That they deserved to be treated as monsters for what the SS, and by association the German Army, did. But the German Army themselves, the Wehrmacht, weren't necessarily evil people. Most of them during the later years of the war were just teens and young adults forced to fill the void when all the older veterans were lost on the Eastern Front and Africa. Most of them were enemies of the Allies just because they were following orders. And in world war two, you either followed orders or were shot for insubordination/desertion. The Germans were just unlucky to be on the side that the world classified as the bad guys.

So to either give the gaming community a taste of the opposite side for once, or to just somehow honor the hundreds of thousands of young Germans who fought for their lives and country, why can't a developer go and make a game featuring the Wehrmacht? We shouldn't be so uptight and uncomfortable about this anymore. As a country we hated the Russians just as much if not more so in some ways during the Cold War and yet they don't hold such a stigma in the media.

Offline Oniya

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 06:43:10 PM »
Actually, there was one, that won PC Gamer's award for Best Multiplayer FPS:

http://www.heroesofstalingrad.com/overview/factions.aspx

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 07:02:43 PM »
I get what you're saying, and I'm on the same page. First of all, I always find that it's a bit unfair and historically inaccurate how Germans are treated in WW2-themed games. I think it's about time we stepped back from the whole 'Bad guys/Good guys'-thing we've got going on, and focused on history itself. Was every German soldier a hardcore Nazi-party extremist? No! A majority? Possibly. A vast majority? No, especially not later on in the war when the euphoria of the early victories started to subside and the general public started to realize that they were in fact just as vulnerable as the countries they were invading. Specifically in the early 40's when bombing raids on German soil started to hit their marks and Germany started to take on major civilian losses.

Apart from that, there's also the fact that there has never been a war in which you can draw a straight line between 'Good' and 'Evil' just like that. Most of WW2 was based on conflicting political beliefs, and yes, some Nazi groups committed some of the worst atrocities in modern times, but those groups, the part of the SS and responsible for the death camps, really had very little to do with the war itself. In fact, if Hitler had not prosecuted the Jews he would most like have been the first world leader to own nuclear weapons! Luckily for us, he was rather shortsighted. (Were they really any less devastating and terrifying in American hands though?)

But before I get too far off topic (This is a bit of a sore subject for me, as WW2-History enthusiast) then it's sort of silly how even German commoners who had never held anything more deadly than a ladle in their hands are seen as bloodthirsty monsters who deserves a bullet put between their eyes. Why not make a game that correctly depicts the life of the average German soldier?

Now, there is of course Day of Defeat, in which you choose from a range of different accurate classes of soldiers with army-specific weaponry. In this multiplayer shooter you either play as the German-speaking Wehrmacht or the Allied forces in deathmatches and Capture the Flag maps based on actual WW2 battles and locations. It's possibly the most one I can think of off the top of my head - But as for a major 3xA game based on the German side of things? Can't think of any, and they probably barely even exist as singleplayer experiences, which is a shame.

But then again, we live in a world where:

A: A game like 'Valiant Hearts' had their review score lowered because of it's educational content.

B: Playing as a Nazi soldier is a big no-no, while playing as a cowboy mercilessly mowing down native Americans with the occasional humorous bark thrown in there every now and again is A-Okay.

A game like Enemy Front which recently came it gives me hope that the next generation in gaming might perhaps go back and explore the canon of WW2 in a new, less biased, more educational and, quite frankly, correct way. But I'd not count on it - Most big 3xA companies today would not risk exploring such controversial stories when Call of Duty 817 is a guaranteed Platinum.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 07:05:58 PM »
It wouldn't be sold in Germany regardless. :|

Name one modern game where "Cowboys can mow down Native Americans".

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 07:22:48 PM »
Well, I'll try. At least, I'll try and remember the name of it - I kinda quit it after the first level in which you were at Wounded Knee and there were native Americans all over the places on horseback and you were kind just plowing your way through them with your weapons - Needless to say your revolver had a tendency to overpower their bows. I wish I could remember the name and the release date - I don't quite see how the 'modern'-part matters though, or what you even mean. The last decade? Last five years?

And then there was one that played out in a fairly similar fashion and this one is fairly new, perhaps three years old at best. You traveled back in time and started blowing stuff up all over the place - I'm almost certain it involved native Americans at one too.

Regardless - It doesn't make any difference whether you're mowing down native Americans as a cowboy, blowing up the Mayans or cleaning out some Inca temple of it's inhabitants - It's all the same really: You playing someone who for whatever reason appears to be justified in your quest to annihilate another society on the basis of: Just because.

On another note I sort of forgot - Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army. In the multiplayer an SS officer is actually a playable character along with a Russian general, an American solider and a British scientist. What a strange party of people to band together in order to murder thousands of undead Nazis. But none the less, it's doable! (And might I add: Really quite fun!)

Offline MikemTopic starter

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 08:00:17 PM »
Quote
But as for a major 3xA game based on the German side of things? Can't think of any, and they probably barely even exist as singleplayer experiences, which is a shame.

It is definitely a shame. The German Wehrmacht was one of the most powerful and professional military forces in the known world at that time, and most of them were just soldiers doing their duty. They were separate from the Nazi SS and thus should be treated as such. I'd absolutely love to experience a story driven Singleplayer Campaign set on the German side for once. It really, really does get a little annoying after a while when the media always portrays 'MURICA as the good guys.

Course it would definitely be controversial seeing as if the game had an Enemy faction, many people wouldn't like the idea of killing American/Canadian/British servicemen. They could probably get around that by setting the game in the Eastern Front.

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 08:17:23 PM »
It's funny, that, isn't it? No one takes issue with the new Battlefield pitting the US. Army against the Chinese for a bit of casual city-wide devastation and the obliteration of what is the life of thousands of civilians, but god forbid the, as you say, 'MURICANS, were presented as the main antagonist. :P The only times American groups are portrayed as the bad guys, I tend to find, is when the good guys are also American.

On another note, the title 'Call of Duty' would actually be much for fitting for a Wehrmacht-based game than all of the nonsensical 'Lets kill terrorists in space and ignore all rules of conventional warfare!' BS that's being pumped out these days.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 08:37:10 PM »
Well, I'll try. At least, I'll try and remember the name of it - I kinda quit it after the first level in which you were at Wounded Knee and there were native Americans all over the places on horseback and you were kind just plowing your way through them with your weapons - Needless to say your revolver had a tendency to overpower their bows. I wish I could remember the name and the release date - I don't quite see how the 'modern'-part matters though, or what you even mean. The last decade? Last five years?

And then there was one that played out in a fairly similar fashion and this one is fairly new, perhaps three years old at best. You traveled back in time and started blowing stuff up all over the place - I'm almost certain it involved native Americans at one too.

Regardless - It doesn't make any difference whether you're mowing down native Americans as a cowboy, blowing up the Mayans or cleaning out some Inca temple of it's inhabitants - It's all the same really: You playing someone who for whatever reason appears to be justified in your quest to annihilate another society on the basis of: Just because.

On another note I sort of forgot - Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army. In the multiplayer an SS officer is actually a playable character along with a Russian general, an American solider and a British scientist. What a strange party of people to band together in order to murder thousands of undead Nazis. But none the less, it's doable! (And might I add: Really quite fun!)
You do know that Wounded Knee was a massacre right? The equivalent would be running a death camp. :|

I've never heard of a mainstream game reenacting the Wounded Knee Massacre, and if it did I would hope it'd be in a bit of the Russian attack of MW2 or in the vein of Spec Ops: The Line. 

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 08:46:24 PM »
You do know that Wounded Knee was a massacre right? The equivalent would be running a death camp. :|

I've never heard of a mainstream game reenacting the Wounded Knee Massacre, and if it did I would hope it'd be in a bit of the Russian attack of MW2 or in the vein of Spec Ops: The Line.

I'm.. Not sure where you're going with that - But yes, it was horrible, but apparently completely okay to use in at least one 3xA title I've seen and played. As I said, I can't recall the name of it, but I will get back to you if I do, but it's a thing.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 09:02:18 PM »
I'm.. Not sure where you're going with that - But yes, it was horrible, but apparently completely okay to use in at least one 3xA title I've seen and played. As I said, I can't recall the name of it, but I will get back to you if I do, but it's a thing.
I'm finding it a bit incredulous, that's my point. I say that because I've been running various searches and cannot find any game that reenacts Wounded Knee let alone in an FPS setting.

The closest I've come is Bioshock Infinite, and that only had a character who was there and it's referenced. It doesn't play out the actual massacre.

Offline Oniya

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 09:05:39 PM »
It is definitely a shame. The German Wehrmacht was one of the most powerful and professional military forces in the known world at that time, and most of them were just soldiers doing their duty. They were separate from the Nazi SS and thus should be treated as such. I'd absolutely love to experience a story driven Singleplayer Campaign set on the German side for once. It really, really does get a little annoying after a while when the media always portrays 'MURICA as the good guys.

Course it would definitely be controversial seeing as if the game had an Enemy faction, many people wouldn't like the idea of killing American/Canadian/British servicemen. They could probably get around that by setting the game in the Eastern Front.

That's exactly what the game I mentioned did. 

Offline MikemTopic starter

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 09:44:46 PM »
Quote
That's exactly what the game I mentioned did.

Oh oh oh yeah I know about Red Orchestra. It's a good game, but it focuses more on it's Multiplayer aspect.

I'm talking about the need for a good dedicated, deep story about a Wehrmacht soldier. An emotional, personal story.

Offline Oniya

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 09:48:17 PM »
Hrm.  I think for 'emotional and personal', perhaps an FPS wouldn't be the best platform? 

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2014, 10:21:51 PM »
Hrm.  I think for 'emotional and personal', perhaps an FPS wouldn't be the best platform?

What, in general? If so, I definitely disagree. :P Having a gun doesn't mean you can't have a connection with what's going on. I mean, look at titles like Half-Life 2, Dead Space 1 (TPS, I know), Bioshock 1, and plenty of others. ^^ Lots of FPS's and shooters in general that offer plenty of emotion and connection with your character, and those around it.

As for the game I referenced earlier: It might sound unlikely, but it exists and I've played it - So, unlikely? Perhaps, but there you have it. Unless you want to tell me my perception of reality is off. :)

At the end of the day - It doesn't actually matter at all whether or not you believe I have played this game or not, fact of the matter is that there are plenty of other examples of games in which you completely trample other cultures for no apparent reason, pretending to be a hero with a shotgun, mowing down people with sticks committing the atrocious sin of defending their home. So there's no real reason to not make a game about the Wehrmacht, which was the actual point of the argument. There are plenty of other examples to look at it other than native Americans. Sure, the game might not be put on the shelf in Germany, but that's honestly not much of an excuse to not make it. A lot of people who won't get the game locally, sure, but does anyone honestly believe that anyone in Germany who wanted to play Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army didn't find away around this to get their hands on the game?

Germany might try and censor their history for whatever reason, but that doesn't change the fact that WW2 happened for the other side as well, and there's plenty of untapped material to make games about. Hell, if you wanted to make the game less controversial, do a massive cop-out at the end and have the main character die or defect. There, problem solved!

But as I said in an above post, there are no 3xA releasing companies out there willing to take such a risk when you can still sell 'Call of Duty: Stuff Happens!' and eleven packs of DLC, not to mention 'Battlefield: 7 - The Americans VS. Random people they don't get along with!' at an inflated price because of hey! Premium you guys! 60 euro for the game, and then 60 euros for the actual game! Yay!

There's no reason to innovate, so no one is going to. We are all happily drinking up what we're served - Why have a glass of juice when we can get a bottle of water?

Offline MikemTopic starter

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2014, 10:31:11 PM »
Hrm.  I think for 'emotional and personal', perhaps an FPS wouldn't be the best platform?
I'm not saying it'd be the best, no. But look at Call of Duty: World at War. That game was unusually dark and dramatic for a CoD game.

Offline MikemTopic starter

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2014, 07:56:11 PM »
For an example, a game maybe centered around one of these soldiers featured in Band of Brothers.


Offline consortium11

Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2014, 09:43:58 PM »
The cynical side of why such a game is unlikely is fairly simple. The market.

The game would likely be banned in Germany, caught between their dislike of anything that may even hint at glorifying the Nazi's and their general dislike in video games. The US remains the world's biggest video game market and, fairly or unfairly, a game which has the Americans as the antagonist in a historical conflict is unlikely to do particularly well, especially a conflict as heated as WW2.

There are a number of video games out there that allow one to play as the Germans in WW2, albeit they tend to be military strategy and/or grand stratergy games, often on the harder and more technical side. Hearts of Iron is probably the most notable series.



On the slightly off-topic discussion I'm also struggling to think of a AAA game that involved the player taking part in Wounded Knee. In truth pretty few of the AAA Western games I can recall over the last decade or so really deal with Native Americans at all.

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2014, 07:24:21 PM »
On the slightly off-topic discussion I'm also struggling to think of a AAA game that involved the player taking part in Wounded Knee. In truth pretty few of the AAA Western games I can recall over the last decade or so really deal with Native Americans at all.

Bioshock Infinite?

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2014, 07:27:17 PM »
That's about the only one I've been able to find, too - although the reference to Wounded Knee is kinda transitory.

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2014, 07:59:02 PM »
That's about the only one I've been able to find, too - although the reference to Wounded Knee is kinda transitory.
That's what I've found too.

It informs about Booker, but so does the Boxer Rebellion and his time as a Pinkerton detective. :|

Offline consortium11

Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2014, 03:56:58 AM »
Bioshock Infinite?

But the *player* doesn't actually take part in it do they? It's part of the character's backstory but it's not a "level" or a "mini-game" or something the player actually engages in.

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2014, 11:53:32 AM »
But the *player* doesn't actually take part in it do they? It's part of the character's backstory but it's not a "level" or a "mini-game" or something the player actually engages in.

Skyrim had a reference/paraody to Wounded Knee with a Quest dealing with the Foresworn(since they look like natives anyways.)

Offline Sel Nar

Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2014, 12:12:44 PM »
On the slightly off-topic discussion I'm also struggling to think of a AAA game that involved the player taking part in Wounded Knee. In truth pretty few of the AAA Western games I can recall over the last decade or so really deal with Native Americans at all.

Off the top of my head, Darkest of Days has you directly involved in the battle of Little Bighorn (Custer's Last Stand) in the prolouge, and has you basically stolen from your imminent death to be a 'time cop', with your partner, Dexter, being a firefighter who was 'killed' during 9/11.

The Call of Juarez games (Original, Second and Fourth, specifically) all have you in conflict with natives, but never at Wounded Knee.

(And, finally, according to wikipedia, only the comic series 'Saint of Killers' and the game Bioshock Infinite make direct references to Wounded Knee)

In regards to the Original Poster's question of why there hasn't been treatment of Germans as Protagonists in more games, I know it's not an FPS, but Company of Heroes, or, more specifically, the Opposing Fronts expansion pack, has you playing as the commander of a heavily mechanized 'Elite' Regiment in the Heer, and in lulls in the combat, you can actually listen to your soldiers discuss things such as how shitty the coffee is, or that one of their buddies joined the party but only for the chance of promotion due to promotons being weighted towards party members first.

There's also the 'Nazi Zombies' sidegame in Call of Duty: World at War, which has you playing as an American, a Russian, a German, and a Japanese Soldier. (at least, in 4-player Co-op; in 2-player, you're either American or Russian)

Offline MikemTopic starter

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Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2015, 01:50:38 AM »
The cynical side of why such a game is unlikely is fairly simple. The market.

The game would likely be banned in Germany, caught between their dislike of anything that may even hint at glorifying the Nazi's and their general dislike in video games. The US remains the world's biggest video game market and, fairly or unfairly, a game which has the Americans as the antagonist in a historical conflict is unlikely to do particularly well, especially a conflict as heated as WW2.

There's a title called Spec Ops: The Line, where the main Antagonists are actually a U.S. Army Infantry Battalion, and you're a Special Forces operative in a team of three that's sent in to find out what happened to them, only to be pitted against them. I played it and heard it got quite the positive reaction, many critics praised it for actually showing the U.S. Army as the "bad guy" for once. Of course though this wasn't historical, it was fiction.

Still it would actually be pretty amazing to be in the perspective of a German soldier on the Eastern Front or at the Normandy Coast.

Offline Sabby

Re: German for an FPS Protagonist
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2015, 03:59:29 AM »
I would so be down for this. Play through the life and training of a generally good person who just happened to be made into a doubting cog in the German war machine. There's more potential for shooter gameplay then you'd think, aside from the obvious 'Shoot ze Americans' stuff. I mean, what happens when Berlin falls? Plenty of soldiers must have scattered, right? I remember playing Call of Jaurez: Bound in Blood, where the scenario was very similar. You deserted the civil war in the final days of it and a crazed General spent the whole game hunting you down with what was left of his army.