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Ukraine developers forced to scrap Auschwitz-themed video game after outcry

Creators say media ‘misinformation’ led to project being shelved; Warsaw opens probe into game over reference to ‘Polish death camps’

Ukrainian video game developers who were making an Auschwitz-themed game where players could assume the roles of SS guards and choose which inmates to send to the gas chambers, said this week they were “forced” to scrap the project amid an outcry.

Dmitri Dibin and Alexey Kutischev from Odessa began in August advertising the game titled “The Cost of Freedom,” the Polish Rzeczpospolita daily reported Monday. According to the paper, the ads included the tagline “Polish Death Camp.” Polish officials have vocally opposed the labeling of Nazi camps built on occupied Poland as being Polish because this transfers responsibility for the Holocaust from Germany to Poland, the officials said.

On Wednesday, Kutischev wrote on Facebook: “Due to the wide spread of misinformation about the game in various TV outlets and other media we are forced to freeze development for an undetermined time.”

The District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw is investigating a complaint against the designers based on legislation passed in January in Poland which prohibits blaming the Polish nation for Nazi crimes, Rzeczpospolita reported.

Auschwitz prisoners are marched to the gas chambers in the ‘Cost of Freedom’ video game. (Screen capture/YouTube)

The game allowed players to play the character of a prisoner attempting to escape or of an SS guard. All characters can kill other characters, according to Rzeczpospolita’s reporter Agata Łukaszewicz. She added in her article her personal opinion that the designers of the game have “gone far too far” by allowing players to play SS guards “pursuing and murdering prisoners, deciding which group of prisoners to send to work and which to the gas chamber.”

The game features selection scenes, in which players get to decide who is murdered, as well as mass executions of prisoners.

A video advertised as a trailer for the game shows people dressed in striped prisoner uniforms choking to death in a room full of gas. The a Nazi guard says: “Now it’s time for the ovens.”

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