International versions of Wolfenstein: The New Order are forbidden within Germany due to the use of Nazi imagery in the game, and as a result developer Bethesda is geo-locking versions on Windows PC so they cannot be activated in the country.
Bethesda details this decision to geo-lock the game on its official blog. Geo-locking, which is a method of selecting what countries can access content, was implemented on the basis of legal advice and industry standard practice, writes a Bethesda representative, adding that the international version also won't be available for sale in Austria.
While Germany offers cultural exemptions on the use of Nazi content in films, current legislation in the country does not extend to video games. "A violation may result in confiscation of the Game, a high financial penalty or up to three years in prison. Any person involved and/or responsible for such violation may be prosecuted and sentenced, including officers and employees of companies involved," write Bethesda.
The German release of Wolfenstein: The New Order only censors Nazi content, but violence levels remain the same across both versions of the game.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is slated to release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on the same day. Pre-orders for all platforms include beta access to the new Doom. For more on the game, read our recent hands-on impressions with the title and publisher Bethesda's commissioning of an original German-language pop music soundtrack for the alternate history.