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German censors dislike Call of Duty: Black Ops and the Rolling Stones

Upcoming shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops is going to have to make some big content changes to get into the German market. This fact will not surprise anyone who has followed the gaming industry in Europe. But the exact nature of the censorship strikes us as a little odd.

The following changes have been implemented for the upcoming game (from Game Politicsvia CODFeed):

• A scene where an enemy is shot in slow motion with copious amounts of gore has been toned down for the German release.
• A torture scene involving a prisoner has been completely eliminated from the German version.
The song “Sympathy for the Devil”, made famous by the Rolling Stones, has been removed. (Emphasis ours)
• No explosions that lead to limb loss.
• Removal of what Germany deems ‘anti-constitutional symbols’.

The toning down of gore and removal of dismemberment is no surprise, and similar changes will most likely find their way into other markets like Japan, where dismemberment is strictly forbidden by the country’s rating system. However, the removal of a Rolling Stones song seems, at least at first glance to be almost non-sensical.

That is until you look at the song’s lyrics in which Jagger, playing the part of the devil, discusses his various roles in tragedies throughout human history including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Russia’s 1917 Communist Revolution and … wait for it … World War II. Given Germany’s strict policies on imagery from the Third Reich and the Holocaust it’s likely that the verse in which Jagger sings, “I rode a tank, held a general’s rank when the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank,” is the reason for the song’s removal. Just our hunch, mind you.

It’s worth noting that the song Sympathy for the Devil isn’t banned in the country and far more direct World War II references appear in other games (Black Ops, you’ll recall, is set during the Vietnam War). Go figure.

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