Call of Duty and the Holocaust

Recently I came across an advertisement for a new DLC (Downloadable Content) pack for the newest Call of Duty video game Call of Duty: WWII. The expansion pack (entitled The Resistance) provides players additional maps for gameplay (including the game’s ‘Nazi Zombie’ mode). I personally haven’t given this game much attention but I was intrigued. In the past, I have played previous Call of Duty games and their previous iteration set in World War II also featured a mode where player are able to maintain a safe house against hordes of the undead wearing Swastikas. The idea of having Nazis as the antagonist for this game mode strikes me as interesting, as our conversations in class. I feel like it is almost too removing of the actual context of the Holocaust. Given that these were actual humans who committed actual atrocities, it almost seems a poor choice to depict members of the Third Reich as supernatural monsters. To me, that takes the agency away from the people who committed such awful acts and almost neuters the power that Nazi imagery should have.

Additionally, after investigating the ‘Nazi Zombies’ of the game; I was curious how the game handled the Holocaust aspect of World War 2 (if at all). I was able to find several articles that commented on the game’s depiction of a concentration camp. The game does depict the main characters entering an abandoned shell of a camp. Although it doesn’t go as far as it could with depicting the actual killing camps (the camp in game is described as a labor camp), the American GIs in the game do make a point of documenting the conditions that they see (video below). Given the game’s more ‘approachable’ attempt at depicting the Holocaust (not showing corpses, emancipated prisoners), I feel like this is in line with a more marketable depiction of the atrocities of WWII, without potentially alienaning an audience. I think it is interesting that consumers are more than willing with interacting and portraying the battlefield carnage of WWII but that realism stops at the depictions of the Holocaust.