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Any world war 2 game that tries to have "good guys" is just disrespectful in my eyes. The Nazis went well out of their way to exterminate people, I don't see how you could possibly spin that to being "the good guys" without turning into David Irving. Even having them as the playable protagonist faction wouldn't be so bad so long as you don't pretend they weren't agents of genocide wherever they went.

However the CoH2 developers have openly said they think their game is historically accurate, so I don't have much trust in them.
 
You could make good guys out of WW2 Germans when they were defending Germany in 1945 (because there wasn't much scope left for genocide lol jk). Or possibly the German Navy (because there were not many Jews at sea?).
I agree that ethical WW2 games should provide at least one campaign scenario where the consequences of Nazi ideology are painfully visible, like Allied liberation of a concentration camp or mass shootings if you play as a German. The player may feel uncomfortable for a moment, but these things tend to leave an impression and it's something that needs learning.
 

Scuba Steve

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Any world war 2 game that tries to have "good guys" is just disrespectful in my eyes. The Nazis went well out of their way to exterminate people, I don't see how you could possibly spin that to being "the good guys" without turning into David Irving. Even having them as the playable protagonist faction wouldn't be so bad so long as you don't pretend they weren't agents of genocide wherever they went.

Exactly. The entire conflict was not one of "good guys" and "bad guys", but the Axis powers were objectively doing heinous ****. That's legit "bad", there's no defense that can be made for it.
 

Nodice83

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I agree that ethical WW2 games should provide at least one campaign scenario where the consequences of Nazi ideology are painfully visible, like Allied liberation of a concentration camp or mass shootings if you play as a German. The player may feel uncomfortable for a moment, but these things tend to leave an impression and it's something that needs learning.
You won't get and should not desire realism in the examples you described (IMO). So far It has to be softened to the point it has nothing to do with history or reality. Stalags were depicted in some games but those were different places where people - officers of certain armies were to some extent... treated as humans. The scale of atrocities is incomparable. I recently stopped playing games like HoI as I generally "overthink" playing those titles and lose interest. I agree history has to be learned but I doubt it is a good idea to do it via video games. Not because it is an impactful way (it is very much IMO), but because it will be either trivialized, twisted, or entirely spoiled.

Can we get a game where the Germans are the good guys please
Ufo Enemy Unknown
 
I agree history has to be learned but I doubt it is a good idea to do it via video games.

The problem is that most people get their understanding of the world through mass media, and video games are now bigger than film or TV combined. Like it or not, video games have an educative role. For instance, almost everything your average person believes about ancient Sparta or the Vikings is complete nonsense from cryptofascist films like 300 or weird liberal revisionism like the Vikings TV show. If the only WW2 games people can play are clean Wehrmacht denialist rubbish like CoH2, don't be surprised when the average understanding of the war is that the nazis weren't so bad.

For example, when I was around 7-10 years old I read a lot of (school) books about ancient rome and greece, but I still thought hoplites carried gigantic pikes and that Onagers were used on the battlefield because I had seen it in Rome Total War.
 
I agree that ethical WW2 games should provide at least one campaign scenario where the consequences of Nazi ideology are painfully visible, like Allied liberation of a concentration camp or mass shootings if you play as a German. The player may feel uncomfortable for a moment, but these things tend to leave an impression and it's something that needs learning.
One of the greatest scenarios in pretty much any HoI is the Götterdämmerung - a 1944 post D-day German defense (difficult but not outright impossible like the Jan 1945 one). The satisfaction from achieveing a 14 days stalemate on the eastern front or even from consolidating the Luftwaffe in the neveredning grindfests that Allied bombing bring is a wonderful experience. And it is quite hard to achieve that. I know the HoI policies on war crimes but I believe this is where holocaust events should come into play - as events that give you net advantages with the only disadvantage being the moral implications. Harsh crackdowns on civilians to suppress partisans and improve TC a bit? Authorise slave labour to help with the U-boat production? Yes, please. There should be some dilemma and there should be a concrete advantage of doing evil things (this also goes for RPG games where, even sticking just to stats and mechanics, being evil is usually flat-out worse than being good). Otherwise you either get games that avoid the topic altogether or games that take you on a roller coster ride to show you that genocide is bad. Duh.

Secondly, the authors should have the artistic freedom to focus the narrative of the campaign in any way they like. If they want to stress the senselessness of 1945 fighting, so be it. If they want to focus it on comraderie, so be it. If they want to show relations between family members or the front and the interior, so be it. If they have any focus that does not revolve around war crimes, so be it. If the direction you seek with the German campaign is the same as all your other campaigns, except that your trucks have crosses instead of stars on them, so be it. Having nazis in your game doesn't require you to also include a proportion of nazi war crimes and the vehicle to your heroism / cowardice / sense of duty portrayal can be Mr Smith as well as Mr Schmitt.

And, Jacob, I still wonder from where you take that CoH2 is denialist clean wehrmacht rubbish. You don't play as the Germans and consquently the Germans almost never get any screen time in the campaign (haven't played the Ardennes campaign, though, so if it is something related to that one, I can't know). Is it denialist because it takes a very far fetched hard stance on the Soviets while NOT taking any stance on the Germans?
 
Is it denialist because it takes a very far fetched hard stance on the Soviets while NOT taking any stance on the Germans?

Yeah, this is what I meant. It's denialist by omission. While you could argue it's more "passive" than literally just saying the Wehrmacht did nothing, I don't think there is any difference in practice.
What makes me not give them the benefit of the doubt is that some of the war crimes they decided to pin on the Soviets are things only the Nazis did, and I may be misremembering but there were some scenes of civilian murder straight out of Come and See. I get that it focusses on the Soviets, but it has a very strong implication that there was no reason for the war geopolitically, and nothing to gain from the end of Nazism, especially at the end when it tries to make the final defeat of Nazi Germany seem like a bitter waste.
On top of that the developers and writers were completely adamant that there was nothing wrong with the depictions in the game. I remember seeing more but they've nuked the old forums.

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Vermillion_Hawk

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Even without characterization there's a couple war crimes the Germans commit in that campaign, mixing disguised armed personnel in with civilians is a big one off the top of my head, and the protagonists liberate a concentration camp in one mission. I wouldn't call Company of Heroes 2 the "clean Wehrmacht" one, that's definitely more appropriate to the first game. Both games are guilty in many small ways of repeating a lot of the mythology crafted by the former SS and German generals looking to dodge a noose, however, and I'm definitely not looking forward to Rommel being in the new game.

I'll disagree with you on the ending as well, if anything the defeat of Nazi Germany is a footnote and not relevant to the campaign's story overall. Whether or not that's a good thing is, of course, another story.
 
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Nodice83

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The problem is that most people get their understanding of the world through mass media, and video games are now bigger than film or TV combined. Like it or not, video games have an educative role. For instance, almost everything your average person believes about ancient Sparta or the Vikings is complete nonsense from cryptofascist films like 300 or weird liberal revisionism like the Vikings TV show. If the only WW2 games people can play are clean Wehrmacht denialist rubbish like CoH2, don't be surprised when the average understanding of the war is that the nazis weren't so bad.

For example, when I was around 7-10 years old I read a lot of (school) books about ancient rome and greece, but I still thought hoplites carried gigantic pikes and that Onagers were used on the battlefield because I had seen it in Rome Total War.
That was exactly my point when I said it might be either trivialized, twisted, or entirely spoiled, because of the fact it is such a powerful tool. Games are a mainstream vector of information nowadays. All the things you mentioned and how stupid those are depicted in the games are true (like greek states with the lightning of Zeus under one banner, or Macedonia from the very same total war game with a big Lambda letter on their banners...). Those are however ancient times and we basically talk about the rather modern history of mankind and cannot agree to one scenario (as humans). I fully agree games should be educative, but mind that perhaps yourself, myself, many people on this forum know or pursue to know the history of their countries, world history - can distinguish between the facts and fiction but there is still a majority of kids that will learn it solely from this medium. This is a real threat, in my opinion, to leave such important matters in the hands of game developing companies. History has to be thought taught but imagine tools as powerful as games used in the wrong way.

Germany is a very good example of how modern history teaching can be altered. One would say the history of the holocaust should be taught to young germans (IMO in literally all countries) - no brainer. In primary, secondary, high school. So we are all sure it won't happen again, right? I was once in the museum in Cracow and there was a part of the exhibition dedicated to the restoration of the building. One guy from a German school trip (around 15-18 y.o.) asked why it was so massively destroyed. Their native tour guide said that nazis bombed it. It sounded like those guys (Nazis) came from some gloomy place in space and smashed half of Europe. The old lady who listened to that interrupted him and explained that those were his ancestors who did it. This guy was shocked, didn't know what to say. He simply didn't know. I have seen many similar situations like this. Germany as a state filter the history, probably to ease the emotional burden for their young generations. Have you ever heard about concentration camps in modern-day France and Austria? Not as many as what is modern-day Poland but shortly after the war those were razed to the ground - no place, no problem. They do not teach about both the fact those camps were there and the fact they wanted to hide it in the first place. So all in all that is why I am afraid and reluctant to see next generations being taught history by the videogame industry (without supervision - like there is any nowadays).

I really believe that old-school history classes would do. The problem with them those classes are... sometimes teachers (from my example) and that they stopped in the early '70s with their teaching skills. Anyways, this all may sound overrated but there is nothing better than people discussing those things and asking questions. The more international group will work on it the better.

P.S. Must add that I met Germans who know their history very well and really don't want to generalize - I see that there is still hope.
 
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Nodice83

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Depends on the game :razz:

(this is just a friendly jab, nothing serious)
Yes, you are right - that depends on the game. This seems to be a valuable, educative game (smth a'la 'telltale style, oui ?). "This war of mine" - that I find pretty accurate "sorrow and War pain" simulator seems to have some values but let's face it - playable, top WW2 titles define casualties as "depleting manpower".
 
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Yes, you are right - that depends on the game. This seems to be a valuable, educative game (smth a'la 'telltale style, oui ?). "This war of mine" - that I find pretty accurate "sorrow and War pain" simulator seems to have some values but let's face it - playable, top WW2 titles define casualties as "depleting manpower".
Here's another one (Through the Darkest of Times), and Germans are the good guys (and the bad guys).
A great story, great setting, well-written. The gameplay is fairly bunk though, and is something you endure to get to the next section. I found myself in a bizarre gameplay loop where my resistance team spent its time raising money to go out drinking and dancing most weekends while the fascists took over everything. As there were no hard objectives to accomplish in each chapter, merely biding time while keeping morale up in this way was a superior strategy. That didn't gibe with the tone well at all.
 
and I may be misremembering but there were some scenes of civilian murder straight out of Come and See.
You're remembering correctly, but it's arguably worse. In one mission you, a Soviet officer, are tasked with dousing wheat fields and peasant houses with gasoline fumes and then setting them on fire with flamethrowers, while your own troops are still fighting in those fields and the houses are occupied with Russian civilians. Then the Commissar praises you for doing a good job while your own men burn to death.

The Germans are never shown committing any warcrimes by the way, they are only implied.

This is what makes CoH2 such a disgusting example of historical revisionism by the way. It is clearly catering to Wehraboos by portraying the Red Army as pure evil and the Wehrmacht as ambiguous at worst.

Also I'm not a fan of Communism, and yes the Red Army did horrible warcrimes, but this game just invents whole new ones which are cartoonishly evil while not showing any of the horrors inflicted on the Soviet population by the Germans.
 

Nodice83

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Here's another one (Through the Darkest of Times), and Germans are the good guys (and the bad guys).
This is not the typical "War Game" - that is for sure. I didn't play it so only based on the comments and developers' notes must say I'm in two minds about it. I'm sure there were anti-fascist groups in pre-WW2 Germany but according to how openly the 3rd Reich adapted fascism it is hard for me to grasp the idea behind placing it in Germany (maybe to show how overwhelming it was for the kind people in the 'Den of Evil' - but I didn't play it so this is pure speculation).

From Wikipedia(German resistance to fascism), both of us quote on an occasional basis, one may found:

'German resistance was not recognized as a collective united resistance movement during the height of Nazi Germany,[1] unlike the more coordinated Italian Resistance, Soviet partisans, Polish Underground State, Greek Resistance, Yugoslav Partisans, French Resistance, Dutch resistance, and Norwegian resistance movement. The German resistance consisted of small, isolated groups that were unable to mobilize widespread political opposition.'

On the pre-War resistance (1933-1939)

'There was almost no organized resistance to Hitler's regime in the period between his appointment as chancellor on January 30, 1933, and the crisis over Czechoslovakia in early October 1938. By July 1933, all other political parties and the trade unions had been suppressed, the press and radio brought under state control, and most elements of civil society neutralized.'

I really recommend reading it. It is very well written with all the sources linked, etc.

All in all - video games teaching history. I'm still uneasy about the idea.
 
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All in all - video games teaching history. I'm still uneasy about the idea.
Better get used to it, this is the reality we're living in right now. And there is lots of potential, too, but unfortunately most games just stick to the same old Saving Private Ryan storyline.

Also LOL at that resistance game set in Germany of all places. Those who know me are probably tired of hearing this, but WW2 Yugoslavia resistance game please?

Oh well at least we got a Warsaw Uprising game already...
 

Nodice83

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Better get used to it, this is the reality we're living in right now. And there is lots of potential, too, but unfortunately most games just stick to the same old Saving Private Ryan storyline.
This is the trend, and if that's the time to transform into this old fart sayin' 'it is not how it should be' - then fine...I will gladly embrace it. ;p
Oh well at least we got a Warsaw Uprising game already...
There were a few, but I presume Darkest Dungeon clone is what you refer to...
 
Also LOL at that resistance game set in Germany of all places. Those who know me are probably tired of hearing this, but WW2 Yugoslavia resistance game please?
That could be a guerilla and/or clandestine resistance game and there's plenty of real, harsh history to base it on. The only trouble is that it's very complicated to explain the various occupation arrangements for different regions and the different quisling forces.
This is not the typical "War Game" - that is for sure. I didn't play it so only based on the comments and developers' notes must say I'm in two minds about it. I'm sure there were anti-fascist groups in pre-WW2 Germany but according to how openly the 3rd Reich adapted fascism it is hard for me to grasp the idea behind placing it in Germany (maybe to show how overwhelming it was for the kind people in the 'Den of Evil' - but I didn't play it so this is pure speculation).
I agree (but not with your choice of color that looks too pale on my light theme :smile:). The Gestapo was too successful in snuffing out all kinds of organized resistance, as any secret police with broad powers in any police state.
I think the scale of resistance is most visible in the arrests and trials after the July 1944 plot. Maybe the most serious challenge to Hitler was the resistance within the military and the periodic plots discussed by senior generals every time Hitler did something dangerous or foolish.
I wouldn't call the game whitewashing of popular support for the Nazis, but it may come close.
This is what makes CoH2 such a disgusting example of historical revisionism by the way. It is clearly catering to Wehraboos by portraying the Red Army as pure evil and the Wehrmacht as ambiguous at worst.

Also I'm not a fan of Communism, and yes the Red Army did horrible warcrimes, but this game just invents whole new ones which are cartoonishly evil while not showing any of the horrors inflicted on the Soviet population by the Germans.
I didn't think the day would come when I wholeheartedly agree with you. Where's your conservative anti-communism bias? :smile:
 
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