If you’re old enough, you remember the day when you first saw Wolfenstein 3D in 1992 and marveled at the new world that opened up before your relatively young and eager eyes. It was the dawn of the first-person shooter, and even though it was in its infancy stages (there wasn’t even a Y-axis!), it marked the dawn of a revolution. Since that time, the FPS has dominated the video game realm and despite a few big gaps, the legendary “Wolfenstein” name lives on. The last entry was 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which was an excellent title and well worth the price of admission. Now, Raven and Activision are teaming up again for a next-gen entry in the series, which will simply be called, Wolfenstein. It’s still a ways off, but as we’re fans of both the genre and the franchise, we just had to check on the progress of this potential “AAA” blockbuster.
We imagine the name is going to confuse some veteran gamers out there, who think this may be a remake of the original classic. But it’s not; it’s an entirely new adventure and, for all intents and purposes, acts as a direct sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein. While the name isn’t as memorable as “Duke Nukem” or “Master Chief,” the main character from RtCW will make his triumphant return: you will once again step into the shoes of William Joseph "BJ" Blazkowicz, who proudly sports special powers that most normal humans don’t possess. But while the development team is embracing facets of the last Wolfenstein installment, they’re not about to forget they’re in a new generation…a new generation that’s starting to value freedom above all else. Hence, you shouldn’t expect yet another generic WWII FPS that forces you along a straight, linear path throughout the majority of the quest. Oh no, this time around, you’ll have some open-ended options at your disposal, so flanking an onslaught of German soldiers won’t always require the same approach.
Furthermore, for the first time in this series (if we’re remembering the games correctly), you will have an active squad with you that can assist and lead. You won’t be handling them or assigning orders – this isn’t Rainbow Six - but they will play a significant role in the game. And again, freedom of choice will be a major part of the appeal, as you can either refuse or accept certain side missions offered to you by other characters. If you choose to undertake such missions, you can pad your wallet by scoring more gold, which will be used to upgrade your combat abilities. This is going to be another new feature that most players will embrace, and you’ll like it even more when we start telling you about those superpowers. See, Wolfenstein has always held a decided mystical aura regarding paranormal or other-worldly elements, which is why you’d often fight very inhuman opponents in past entries. Well, even if BJ is human, he’s got some seriously crazy skills.
The one that will catch your attention most is outlined by IGN, as they describe the main character’s ability to enter “The Veil,” which is like an in-between parallel dimension that’s kinda like bullet time on steroids. When under the “Veil,” BJ can pick out enemies easier due to this glow they have about them, and everything will be moving slower, which means you’ll have a definite advantage. However, those annoying Nazis have gained control of the Veil as well, and they’re utilizing it during the course of your mission to rid the world of villainy. We’re not entirely sure what this means for your advancement through the levels, but we do know that what may be true and real in this world may not be so “true and real” under the Veil. Therefore, if you find your way is blocked, perhaps you should try “going under” to see if the obstacle is there in both dimensions. All of this adds some definite flavor to a genre that could certainly use a dash of Spike, yes?
We don’t yet have an estimated release date for Wolfenstein, but we’re hoping it’ll arrive some time next year. id Software and Raven have said it’ll be done “when it’s done,” but that reminds us too much of the Duke Nukem Forever quote we heard a good 8 years ago now… Well, we assume this game isn’t vaporware, and we’ll be excited to hear about its progress as times goes on. It looks to be a winner.
7/31/2008 Ben Dutka