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Report: Ubisoft Recalls  Silent Hunter 5  CE In Germany
Report: Ubisoft Recalls Silent Hunter 5 CE In Germany
March 12, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

March 12, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

Ubisoft was forced to recall Collector's Edition copies of PC game Silent Hunter 5: Battle Of The Atlantic in Germany due to "World War II symbols" that were not edited out in accordance with German law.

The publisher failed to properly remove a portion of Silent Hunter 5's World War II symbols, presumably Nazi symbols such as swastika flags, in the game's Collector's Edition, according to a report from German website ComputerBase translated by Blues News.

Both the standard release and Collector's Edition (which includes special packaging, an official guide, a physical map of the Battle of the Atlantic, the game's soundtrack, and unique submarines/enemy skins) shipped in Europe and North America last week. Ubisoft did not recall Silent Hunter 5's standard edition, indicating that release didn't suffer the same issue.

German criminal law prohibits the distribution of video games with Nazi references such as flags, uniforms, insignia, and even forms of greeting used outside of a genuine historical context. Germany banned the sale of id Software's Wolfenstein 3D for this reason in 1994, confiscating copies of the PC and Atari Jaguar editions.

Activision Blizzard, which published a follow-up to Wolfenstein 3D, also recalled its game in Germany last September after discovering Nazi symbols that were not removed from the game during its localization process despite specific efforts to identify and replace the icons.

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Alex Covic
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Wow. Whoever in the management chain is responsible for this - run for your life! This is nothing new and everyone in the industry who has to deal with Germany as a market should know this or should look for a more appropriate job?

Having said that - and aside the ridiculousness of these German laws - there is an inconsistency (call it 'wiggle room') prosecuting infringements.

To keep the Nazi symbols the law demands "a genuine historical context", as the article cites correctly. This could be challenged before a court, but no videogame company will go there. Even Brenda Brathwaite's TRAIN would be in danger, if there would be Nazi symbols visible on the game figurines.

Indiana Jones movies are safe in theaters or on DVD, Indiana Jones the video games ... are not. Even Art Spiegelman's MAUS comic was confiscated when it came out, because of the ignorant DA's who combined the word 'comic' and 'nazi-symbols'. It took years before the German courts before some high court decision was finally reached that reflected common sense, even in such a mentally challenged country.

These laws do not prevent any Neo-Nazi youth from worshipping their false heroes. German society does the old trick that did not help before: "If we (legally) pretend, these things don't exist, than maybe they go away". Freedom of speech is a victim, as are videogames.