Warren Spector “Tired” of Stuff Like Wolfenstein. Are You?
There’s a new Wolfenstein game coming later this year…but do you really want one?
Set for a Q4 2013 release on current- and next-gen platforms, Wolfenstein: The New Order is the latest game to be announced by Bethesda Softworks. The trailer, embedded above, sees longtime OSA agent B.J. Blazkowicz brought back into the fray, seemingly dropped into an alternate timeline where the Nazis have defeated the Allies, or at least have them on the run. There are no finer details as of yet, but we know the Nazis are still alive and well, they’ve launched attacks on American soil (the burning Statue of Liberty), and they have an army of death-dealing robots at their disposal.
Swedish Game Mafia MachineGames, The New Order is the “secret project” that’s been listed on the developers site for some time. Furthermore, The New Order will presumably be the first game developed outside of id Software to use the id Tech 5 engine (unless Doom 4 comes out first).
The current dearth of information should be remedied by Gamespot and their exclusive coverage over the next week, but some in the gaming industry are making their opinions known now, and in no uncertain terms.
Warren Spector, the veteran game designer with titles like Deus Ex and System Shock under his belt, took to his Facebook page earlier today to share some thoughts on the Wolfenstein announcement. Spector asks (rhetorically, of course), “Did the world really need another Wolfenstein game? Did we need a generically dark, monochromatic, FPS, kill-the-Nazi-giant-robot game?”
“Uh. No. The world did not. I am so tired of stuff like this…”
Warren goes on to lament the use of the “generic gravelly-whisper trailer voice guy,” while admonishing Bethesda and MachineGames for “…using Jimi Hendrix to promote your adolescent male power fantasies.”
So it seems like Warren will not be among those buying The New Order on day one. While I admire him for speaking his mind (and with a resume like his, it’s hard to ignore his opinions on such matters), this is some serious judgement coming down on a game that we’ve barely seen. The New Order trailer is 100 seconds of pre-rendered “The Nazis are winning” setup, and we’re waiting for Gamespot coverage, E3 or Quakecon before the punchline is delivered. It’s easy to understand Warren’s frustration, however, as the trailer does seem rather boiler plate. An overused Hendrix tune, World War II imagery, and some rather generic-looking robots of doom complete the trifecta, as it were.
The New Order (not to be confused with one of the greatest bands of all time) is the latest chapter in a franchise spanning twenty years…or rather, twenty years under the id Software and Bethesda banners. There is a storied history here, but Wolfenstein has suffered over the last decade — it’s disheartening to realize that there hasn’t been a worthy addition to the franchise in ten years. Return to Castle Wolfenstein was released in 2001, and it’s legendary multiplayer-only spinoff, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, arrived two years later in 2003. What have we gotten since then? A bunch of Wolf3D rehashes for mobile platforms (fun, but not original), 2009′s Wolfenstein, which was met with middling reviews and unenthusiastic fanfare, and…that’s about it.
With its recent track record (Dishonored, Skyrim, salvaging RAGE, and announcing an Elder Scrolls MMO), I’m hopeful that Bethesda can bring this franchise back to greatness. The tools for success are there, including a capable and proven publisher, a fresh new studio in MachineGames (led by former Starbreeze Studios talent), and an engine that can produce some wonderful imagery in the right hands.
In other words: Please don’t botch this, Bethesda. PC gamers the world over are watching.
What do you want from a new Wolfenstein game? Are you an old school Wolf: ET player who only wants a new multiplayer experience? Do you want Wolfenstein to return to its roots with a focus on single-player? Or both? Leave your thoughts on the trailer – and the franchise in general – in the comments.