When Call of Duty: Black Ops was launched late last year, games media fell over themselves to get a piece of Wolfgang Hammersmith. He’d spent 19 years in Black Ops combat, and wrote a book about his experiences – Beyond The Call of Duty: Gunfight!
In a (now-deleted) interview with Leigh Alexander at Gamasutra, he called for games like Black Ops to be “more realistic”, turning off auto-aim and opponent-finding radar, and giving characters just one life.
He was heralded as one of the best in the world at small-unit combat tactics, with military ranks up to his elbows and some amazing life experiences. He regaled everybody with stories of how, aged 8 years old, his father took him into the desert and shot bullets at him so he would be “desensitised”. He led 86 combat missions in 41 countries, and included details of 10 of those in his debut book.
As a military veteran, he also took objection to the poster art for Call of Duty: Black Ops, claiming that the guns displayed – 1911 A1 model pistols – were either broken, or in an unusable state due to the position of hammers and triggers.
…but then a bunch of Professional Soldiers got wind of Hammersmith’s antics, and suddenly Hammersmith was the one being taken objection to. Something didn’t feel quite right with his claims, so the forum did a bit of investigating. Turns out the author has used a number of fake names in his past (he’s always explained “Wolfgang Hammersmith” as a combination of call signs), and has been known for some shady dealings in the past. He also works for an encryption technology firm claiming an “unbreakable” form of encryption – despite skepticism from industry experts.
Now, Hammersmith’s website has been modified, with most content replaced with a letter “explaining” his side of the story. The letter states that Hammersmith cannot currently produce his military credentials, so he is voluntarily following legal counsel to remove his rank from the book, as well as changing the genre from “non-fiction” to “fiction”. When he is able to provide proof of his history, he will do so, and revert the changes.
Until then, it’s probably safe to assume that Wolfgang Hammersmith is a creative, not-terribly-accurate author with delusions of grandeur who’s happy to disrespect men and women who died for his country just in order to sell a few books.