The release of new media coincide with a new round of previews of the game. Read our full Wolfenstein: The New Order preview for our early impressions of the upcoming shooter.
Wolfenstein: The New Order was announced in early May.
Set for release on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and next generation consoles, New
Order takes place in 1960 in an alternate reality where Nazis win World
Players will take the role of American war hero B.J.
Blazkowicz and are tasked with launching an "impossible
counter-offensive" against the Nazi powers who have taken over the
The title is developed by Sweden outfit MachineGames, a studio comprised of former key employees at Starbreeze. According to creative director Jens Matthies. the game won't feature multiplayer.
Wolfenstein: The New Order hands-on: An old school shooter with stunning visuals
We're in a taxi driving through 1960s London.
But where you might expect to see swingers, mods, and mini-skirts, there
are stormtroopers, military checkpoints, and colossal, swastika-covered
robots. In this universe, the Nazis won the Second World War.
"Ever since you killed Hitler in Wolfenstein 3D,
it's been a series about an alternate history," explains Andreas
Ojefors, senior gameplay designer. "So we took that concept and ran with
it. We've taken the game into the future. What kind of world would it
be if the Nazis had won the war?"
It's night, and the gloomy
streets of the capital are slick with rain. Our driver stops at a
checkpoint to hand over his papers, and we notice that we're driving on
the right side of the road - a subtle nod to the fact that the Germans
now control the city. The cabbie's ID checks out and a soldier waves us
through with a "Heil Hitler!" Ahead, we see our destination: a heavily
guarded Nazi research facility.
The driver pulls up near the entrance and lets us out. The place is
crawling with soldiers and clunking mechs. "Make this count," he says,
before flooring the accelerator and slamming into the front gate,
causing a massive, screen-shaking explosion. Our Cockney pal has
sacrificed himself to give us a way into the facility.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
continues the fascist-stomping adventures of William 'BJ' Blazkowicz,
who wakes from a 15 year coma to a world ruled by the Nazis. In the
years since he last fought them, their technology has made a sudden,
unexplained leap forward - a mystery that underpins the pulpy, comic
We see these advances first-hand in the research
facility. Surrounding a huge, spinning model of the Moon there's a
circle of gold astronaut statues giving the Nazi salute. "They put a
Nazi on the Moon?" grunts BJ. "Fuck the Moon." He's a preposterous
one-liner machine, and the game is a curious mix of moody atmosphere and
dumb, self-referential schlock.
"It's a story-driven
action-adventure," says Ojefors. "Those words are equally important:
both the action part, and the adventure part. BJ is up against a global
Nazi empire, and we like to think of it as a David and Goliath story. We
want intense action, but we also want you to feel immersed in the
"It's a tough game, with fast, brutal combat reminiscent of classic id shooters like Quake."
"You'll visit locations all over the world. You'll find yourself
searching for secrets, interacting and teaming up with other characters,
solving puzzles, driving a car through the Polish mountains, and
exploring the flooded catacombs beneath Berlin in a submarine. We want
to make it feel really varied."
Our first battle is against a
squad of stormtroopers and a hulking great robot. It's a tough game,
with fast, brutal combat reminiscent of classic id shooters like Quake.
Health regeneration is limited - only increasing in small fractions - so
you constantly have to scramble around for medical kits and shield
pick-ups. The oversized weapons feel weighty and powerful, and the AI is
single-minded and aggressive. It's an old school FPS with modern
"We've tried to combine the best of classic
FPS design with modern elements. We look back at old shooters and feel
that certain things have been left behind that really shouldn't have.
The health system is the perfect example. We have health and shields as
resources that you have to manage, but we've added some slight
regeneration. This is so you always have a fighting chance to survive,
but keeping an eye on your health and shields is still crucial to the
When you're behind cover, holding LB locks you in place and allows
you to safely pop in and out with the left stick. Humans explode with
gore and crumple into piles of jellied limbs when you kill them, but
there's a notable lack of feedback when fighting the mechs. Being heavy
lumps of metal, they don't react to your attacks, which makes them feel
like big bullet sponges. We'd love to see their armour being chewed
away, exposing wires and machinery.
Among BJ's arsenal is a laser
that's used as a weapon and a puzzle-solving tool. It can cut through
wire fences, vent covers, and metal chains, which makes for some
interesting environmental physics puzzles. It's not quite the game
changer Half-Life's gravity gun was, but it's a fun way to interact with
the world beyond just shooting people. In one example you use it to
sever an elevator's cables, dropping it into the shaft and hitching a
ride on the counterweight.
"It's an old school first-person shooter with modern production values"
is made up of former Starbreeze members, and you can see traces of
Riddick and The Darkness in the inky shadows, expressive characters,
natural lighting, and mech design. The id Tech 5 engine looks stunning,
with none of the distracting texture pop-in that plagued Rage - although we were playing on a high-end PC. The game will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, as well as 360 and PS3.
Variety will be important for Wolfenstein. The combat is entertaining,
but it doesn't feel like there's enough meat there to last the length of
an entire game. Yet if the developers keep throwing interesting
locations, characters, story moments, and puzzles at us, it won't
matter. We've only had a brief glimpse of this Nazi-ruled 1960s, but we
already love it. Unlike the bland 2009 reboot, BJ's next-gen debut is
bursting with character and old school charm.