A new video game in which players play SS guards at an Auschwitz-like Nazi death camp and send prisoners to the gas chamber has been scrapped.
However, one of the developers says they still plan to release the Cost of Freedom in a revised – and less offensive – format.
The Cost of Freedom, which was being developed by Ukrainian company Alien Games, is being investigated by the District Prosecutor’s Office in the Polish capital Warsaw, according to local media.
An online trailer made references to “Polish death camps” and revealed that players could either play the role of prisoners trying to escape or guards who decide which prisoners to send to the gas chambers.
Alexey Kutischev, one of the developers, has now published a statement on Facebook confirming the game has been put on hold.
He said: “Due to widespread misinformation about the game in various TV outlets and other media, we are forced to freeze development for an undetermined time.”
However, his partner Dimitry Dybin later added: “After an attempt to destroy the game Cost of Freedom in its initial design, we thought we were going to lose the game production.
“But thanks to the fact the agitation is being lowered and we are changing the prison’s location, characters and any references to the past, the current gameplay will be saved.
“The location now is Antarctica, or just any snow-covered location. Follow our updates, game’s release is in December this year.”
Trailer footage of the Cost of Freedom appeared to show gameplay that prominently features imagery showing concentration camp prisoners being gassed and suffering excruciating, cruel deaths.
It was widely condemned as outrageous by critics including the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland, for making entertainment out of human suffering.
Spokesman Bartosz Bartyzel told Central European News (CEN): “Using the tragedy of the victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp is outrageous.”
He said the proposed game made entertainment out of human suffering and showed a total lack of respect for the memory of holocaust victims.
However, some questions have been raised as to whether the controversial game was ever a genuine proposal in the first place.
Polish journalist Wojciech Wybranowski thought it might be an elaborate Russian attempt to put a strain on Polish-Ukrainian relations.
He claimed that one member of the Alien Games team, Mr Dybin, had been “working for Russian television stations since at least 2012”.