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here are some new trailers for WOLFENSTEIN and an interview by Jason Ocampo
Wolfenstein First Look BJ Blazkowicz returns to blast Nazis and the supernatural. by Jason Ocampo
US, July 31, 2008 - Wolfenstein 3D is the granddaddy of all first-person shooters; a fitting description considering that since it debuted in 1992 it's fair to say a sizeable percentage of today's shooter audience was still in their diapers, and another large chunk wasn't even born yet. This may be why Activision, id Software, and Raven Software wound up naming this entry in the franchise simply Wolfenstein. That's because the companies view this as a new Wolfenstein game aimed at today's gamers who may not know the franchise, but one that also includes all the elements that fans have come to know. We got our first look at Wolfenstein in action just prior to QuakeCon in Dallas, and here's what it's about.
This isn't a remake of the original Wolfenstein, and this new game is set immediately after the events of 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein. You once again take the role of Allied super soldier William Joseph "BJ" Blazkowicz as he takes down Nazis and demons during World War II. Yes, that's right. The Wolfenstein games have always been a bit like Raiders of the Lost Ark in how they blend history with the supernatural, so in addition to mowing down legions of Hitler's finest you also have to tackle the paranormal as well. This isn't just another World War II shooter, though it's clear that Raven has picked up some tips from recent games.
The story deals once again with the Nazi's obsession with things arcane. Sure, BJ took out Germany's occult division in the previous game, but this time the Nazi scientists have discovered a powerful new power source called Black Sun that they intend to tap. Black Sun, though, is found in a different dimension, and you know what happens when man tinkers with things that he does not fully understand.
The theme of the game, according to project lead Eric Biessman of Raven, is basically choice. This is a departure from the rigidly narrow and linear corridor shooters that Wolfenstein is known for. The tactical situations in this new Wolfenstein will feature multiple approaches to them. For instance, if you're facing an entrenched German position during a street battle you can charge it headlong, or find a nearby staircase that takes you to the rooftops so you can shoot down, or you might find a sewer grate and try going beneath it. Another situation will require you to take out two machine gun nests. You can go up the middle, or try to work your way along either flank.
Choice will also extend in a number of other key ways, as well. You'll have a choice in pursuing side missions that characters offer you, and these could lead to discovering more gold and treasure. This newfound wealth can then be used to purchase upgrades both conventional and paranormal, customizing your play style. Then there's the most dramatic and supernatural ability at your command; the ability to enter "The Veil", which is sort of an intermediary dimension between our reality and that of Black Sun.
By using a special ability, BJ can enter a greenish realm where opponents have a sort of aura to them, which lets you spot them easier. Moreover, BJ can use special abilities in the realm, such as Mire, which causes others to move slower than him. Other special abilities weren't really identified at this point. However, you'll also discover strange creatures inhabiting the realm, such as Geists, which are strange worker drones that move around the world to collect energy, only to return with it somewhere. Take out a Geist that's fully charged and it'll explode, sending lightning shooting outwards. Keep in mind, the Nazis have discovered The Veil first, so they've already made use of it. One sign of this are markers in the real world that indicate something special in The Veil. For instance, a solid brick wall blocking your way in reality might have a gaping hole in it in The Veil.
The game features conventional German forces, as well as friendly forces that assist you, which is a first of sorts for Wolfenstein. You won't control these forces directly, but they can fight alongside you. In our demonstration, BJ found a safe house manned by one of these factions where he received a mission from a character. In a first for the franchise, BJ will also have a voice and a personality, so he's no longer a strange cipher of a character.
Then there are the supernatural and unconventional foes, such as a Nazi heavy trooper armed with a particle cannon that works like a disintegration beam. Hit a German trooper with it and he vaporizes. The heavy trooper is protected by a shield that will deflect conventional arms in the real world, but shift to The Veil and you can target his weak spots.
Since Raven began work on the game several years ago, it based it on a modified version of the Quake IV engine. There are enhancements to add depth of field effects and other graphical features, to be sure. However, if you were expecting id Tech 5, id's latest engine, you'll have to wait for future games.
So where is Wolfenstein in terms of development? In classic id and Raven faction, it'll be done "when it's done," and the build that we saw was described as still pre-alpha, which means it's not feature complete. In addition, Raven barely talked about multiplayer, and that's an important part of any Wolfenstein game, so who knows what state it is in now? So it sounds like there's still a fair bit of work left to do. Based on looks, I'd guess that this is a 2009 game, and it'll ship simultaneously on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
The bigger question is how much weight does the Wolfenstein name have with gamers today? It has been more than seven years since the last game, and 16 since the original. During that time, there have been no shortage of World War II shooters, and a number of them have also blended the historical with the fantastical as well. That's what happens when you're the granddaddy of an entire genre; everyone wonders if you have what it takes.
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