Play the German games of World War II

"Battlefield V"German War history play in the Action game

The first person shooter "Battlefield V" takes you into World War II. For the first time you can slip into the role of a German Wehrmacht soldier there. In its best moments, it becomes an anti-war game. In "All Quiet In The Trenches" the gamers also play German soldiers, but during the First World War.

In Battlefield V, the player fights sometimes as a resistance fighter in Norway, sometimes in the middle of Africa as a foreign legionnaire for France. The short story episodes are called "war stories", each lasting about two hours. The game developers at Studio Dice want to make very personal soldiers' experiences playable.

Nazi play in "Battlefield V"

Now the story of the German tank commander Peter Müller has been added.

"Peter Müller is a German officer and commander of a Tiger tank who fought against the Americans somewhere on the Rhine in Germany in the last weeks of the war."
Thomas Ruscher, Deutschlandfunk Nova

A big blockbuster game in which the Germans are NOT cannon fodder - that's something special, says our Deutschlandfunk Nova game expert Thomas Ruscher. An exciting experiment for the game series "Battlefield", which is more known for bombast action than for a profound examination of the atrocities of war.

Peter Müller, the hero of this episode, is a cliché figure, a knightly soldier and apolitical tank commander who "only carries out his orders". Nevertheless, Müller and his tank crew have more character than Wehrmacht soldiers in other computer games - they are mostly just shooting gallery figures there.

Shooting - yes or no?

In "Battlefield V" there is now the role change: Now the American GI is the shooting gallery figure. In the game there are a couple of situations in which the player has to decide whether he or she lets go or shoots the American soldiers crossing the street unsuspecting. Julian Bärlin, himself a game developer, tried the game - and also decided to shoot around. That did something to him.

"I felt really, really bad after I shot the US soldiers for the first time."

Julian Bärlin thinks that this gives the game a kind of anti-war message. Computer games are often drawn in very black and white and present "the good guys" and "the bad guys" on a silver platter. So if you suddenly, as a representative of the Nazi regime, kill opponents who are usually always the good guys, that is a very strong change in perspective. Even Thomas felt uneasy about it.

This change of perspective has potential. Julian Bärlin is also currently developing a game himself that shows the war from the perspective of the Germans. It should mean All Quiet in the Trenches, something like "Nothing new in the trenches".

In the game from the small studio "Totally Not Aliens" from Bamberg, the player takes on the role of a German NCO who has to try to keep his few soldiers alive on the Western Front during World War I. It's supposed to be an anti-war game.

Stay alive instead of killing

In contrast to "Battlefield V", it is not primarily about killing your opponents, in this case the French soldiers. You can do that, but it's quite difficult in trench warfare - shooting is done here to keep opponents at bay. Rather, the player should make decisions: does he take prisoners or have them shot? Does he care for his wounded or does he save the medicine? To make a "right" decision in this war situation is almost impossible, says Julian Bärlin.

"It is important for this kind of experience. Precisely because then it is also about this pointlessness: You cannot do it right, you can only try to do it the least wrong."

It will be a long time before "All Quiet in the Trenches" appears: Julian Bärlin is aiming for autumn 2019.

More on the subject:

  • Multiplayer shooter Battlefield V: Women want to play war too | In the computer game Battlefield V, a woman in war paint fights with a weapon on the front lines in World War II. The game community criticizes that this is historically incorrect.
  • Games: The sense of Nazi symbols in computer games | Unconstitutional symbols have been allowed in computer games since August 2018. Deutschlandfunk-Nova games expert Jana Reinhardt presents two recommended games that show why developers decide to incorporate anti-constitutional symbols such as swastikas in their games.
  • "This War of Mine" - war without shooting | You are a civilian and you are fighting for your survival in the middle of a war. This is "This War Of Mine". A little game from a Polish development team - which can rightly pass as a really good anti-war game.