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id, Raven Developers Discuss New Wolfenstein 162

CVG is running an interview with Kevin Cloud, executive producer at id, and Eric Biessman, who leads Raven Software's programmers and artists, about the upcoming installment to the Wolfenstein series. They provide some detail about what kind of weapons will be available, what those crazy Nazis are up to this time, and BJ Blazkowicz's new ability to "shroud" himself. "Press a single button, at any time, and you'll see the other side of reality: a green and violent dimension that's filled with strange creatures and whirling tornadoes of energy. Just being in the shroud gives you options: floating above the ground are 'collectors' - fleshy heavy metal album cover worms that are scavenging electrical energy. Pop them, with a single rifle round, and they'll blast apart, damaging enemies in the real world. They are essentially exploding, hidden, organic barrels. ...In shroud mode, too, occult symbols etched into the masonry are transformed into holes in walls that BJ can simply step, shoot, or lob a grenade through."
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id, Raven Developers Discuss New Wolfenstein

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  • shrouding? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:33AM (#24635031) Homepage
    3DRealms has had duke nukem doing this for ages now.
  • Protagonist (Score:5, Funny)

    by Narpak ( 961733 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:37AM (#24635073)
    I can't get over the fact that the main character is called BJ.
  • Is it just me, or... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:46AM (#24635127) Journal

    Does anyone else hope that Id will throw in the original Wolfenstein gameplay, but with updated graphics?

    • by skelly33 ( 891182 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:52AM (#24635173)
      Yes, please - and missions and story. The shroud thing sounds ridiculous.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Fishead ( 658061 )

        The ridiculous shroud thing sounds like something that should be reserved for more mystical games like doom, etc. Wolfenstein was cool in that there was no monsters, just human guards and german shepherds. Shroud sounds lame.

        • by WeblionX ( 675030 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:13PM (#24635749) Homepage Journal

          You obviously missed the "Electric Butts" in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. And zombie things. And lord knows what else I've might have forgotten.

        • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:15PM (#24635769) Homepage Journal

          You've never played Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Occult aplenty, including an unhealthy dose of zombies, and guards with superhuman eyes and ears that seem to detect you from 30 miles away.

          • by morari ( 1080535 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:56PM (#24636113) Journal

            Even outside of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Spear of Destiny had plenty of sci-fi elements. Wolfenstein isn't mundane by any means...

            • Never having played Spear of Destiny or Castle Wolfenstein past the first few levels, the whole paranormal thing threw me off in RTCW - it wasn't what I was looking forward to nor what I was expecting. To me, it was a disappointment.

              • by phorm ( 591458 )

                Hitler in a giant combat suit, soldiers with guns welded to them in various odd places (original wolfenstein) seems weirdly sci-fi and/or paranormal enough in places to me.

                • Never having played Spear of Destiny or Castle Wolfenstein past the first few levels

                  I never got to meet him, nor anything more interesting than guards with pistols (and attack dogs, I think?)

                  Having played Doom first, there wasn't much with Wolfenstein that warranted me to play through. Or at least when I was 12. (I think? can't remember when that all was)

              • by morari ( 1080535 )

                The paranormal aspects were about the only thing that managed to even let RtCW stand out amongst the plethora of crappy World War II shooters at the time.

        • by uhlume ( 597871 )

          A game which features, among other occult references and plot devices, the Spear of Destiny [] doesn't strike you as "mystical"?

          Maybe you're confusing Wolfenstein with Battlefield 1942.

      • It remembers me the "Scrye" view which was present in Undying. In my opinion, the implementation was brillant - every part of the game could have a regular and flip side - but it was underused and ultimately just a gimmick. I think it is a very interesting move to have something like this in the next Wolfenstein - we'll just have to see how it turns out to be.
        • I wouldn't call it a gimmick -- I always used scrye as a flashlight. Of course, I can see how you would think it wasteful if you only used it when the game prompted you to. God, just thinking about that game still gives me the creeps.

      • by antic ( 29198 )

        More outdoor levels. Less electric-arse creatures flying at you at lightning speed.

        And +1 to the shroud concept sounding ridiculous.

    • by D'Sphitz ( 699604 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:58AM (#24635223) Journal
      What was so great about the original gameplay? It was about as generic a shooter as you can get, level after level of identical looking mazes with identical looking enemies.
      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @12:05PM (#24635269) Journal
        Actually, the original was a purely 2D game for 8-bit machines. Wolf3D was based (loosely) on this. Possibly the grandparent thinks Return to Castle Wolfenstein was the original. It had great gameplay - lots of running and shooting monsters that died in large numbers. Lots of variation between levels (from running and spraying the area with fire to sitting in a hole sniping at large numbers of people, and just enough of a story to be interesting, without being a major element. Very much like Half Life in that respect (I don't want a lot of plot in FPS games - for good plots I can read a book - just enough so the shooting doesn't get boring).
      • by Rick Bentley ( 988595 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:56PM (#24636655) Homepage
        Wait, which "original" Wolfenstein gameplay are we talking about? RTCW-ET (Return to Castle Wolfenstien, Enemy Territory), the latest one of the series, if you don't include ET4-Quake Wars, is *still* one of the best gameplays out there.

        Multiple Character classes (Soldier, Medic, Engineer, Field Ops, Covert Ops)
        Each class with its own set of weapons and abilities
        Multiple classes needed to complete any given map (which makes online multi-player gameplay actually compelling)
        All of which creates the need to coordinate with strangers over the internet in real time to be able to win...

        There is nothing like going covert-op, grabbing a uniform, and taking an engineer with you through the tunnel to blow the Fuel Dump while everyone else is still trying to construct the bridge and move the tank. It's better than sex (not that I know what sex is, being on Slashdot and all...). In any case, it's nothing like a generic shooter, it's nothing like identical looking mazes.
        • And yet I have Wolf3d installed on my computer and not Enemy Territory. :)

        • by Miseph ( 979059 )

          RTCW is not the original game. It's a sequel that was made about 10 years after the original.

          The original was awesome for its time, and I'm not sure it's really fair to judge it against HL or other MUCH more modern games.

        • It's better than sex

          Uhhh, no. It isn't. It really really isn't.

      • It had (and still has) a incredible atmosphere.
        Modern games cant replicate that.

    • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @12:31PM (#24635449)

      I'm just waiting for a FOSS, net-aware multiplayer

      • by TrevorB ( 57780 )

        There was an Atari emulator that would allow multiple players to play a single game (e.g. MULE) from two net connected computers. Was a bit hard to set up though.

    • Does anyone else hope that Id will throw in the original Wolfenstein, but with updated graphics?

    • by solitas ( 916005 )

      I'm surprised that nobody has yet mentioned Muse Software's ORIGINAL Castle Wolfenstein - [].

      I maintain a functioning Apple][+ and it's still my favorite graphics game on that machine (those of you who have played it: imagine it on a widescreen LCD!). :)

      Oh, yeah, and I still play id's first version on my MacPro.

  • Wow, sounds like it gives new meaning to "god mode"

    or a violence induced psychoses.

  • the supernatural element has been in Wolfenstein 3D since Spear of Destiny. It's nice to see iD taking that just one step more.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd really rather have another installment in the Hexen/Heretic series.

  • Pseudorealism (Score:2, Interesting)

    I understand that the Wolfenstein series et al. has never been about realism in the strict sense. C'mon, you can take ten bullets to the face and still shoot perfectly until you drop dead...

    All the same, this does sound a little ridiculous. I realize that the Wolfenstein series has never been all that grounded in reality save the connection to the Nazis (see -- mecha Hitler, zombie things?), but really? Then again, it might give a nice shot in the arm to the vanilla WWII realism shooters... but I don't hold

    • Re:Pseudorealism (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @12:02PM (#24635251) Homepage Journal
      Think of Wolfenstein once id gets a hold of it less as a forerunner or relative to realistic WWII shooters, and more like a video game equivalent of bad fifties and sixties pulps about those shooters (since the original games were pretty much pure jail-break stuff.) Wolf 3-D was pretty much exactly that, replete with the occult stuff, Mecha-Hitler, etc. (Keep in mind Wolf3D had gun-chested zombies!) Newer sequels can be thought of as evolving in parallel by reproducing more modern, serious, and perhaps sorta conspiracy theory-ish interpretations about what the Nazis did or thought they were planning on doing. I guess the genre could be called Nazi Sci-Fi/Fantasy or something.
  • The Thing is (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @12:16PM (#24635335) Homepage Journal
    About Wolfenstein, it's best to just consider it a alternate reality WWII shooter, I don't think the game ever really took itself seriously so why should we, and that is where half the fun is.

    Also it seems like FPS's in general have been trying more and more to make us use an extra-dimensional elements, PREY's spirit form and 'shroud'. What else could developers do to expand on the game play without overwhelming players? Any ideas?
  • In Prey [http] there is a "spirit mode" that allows you to solve some puzzles ...

    (awesome game btw., highly recommended)

    • Before that, Soul Reaver [] had similar shifting between real world and spectral world, required to solve some puzzle.

      Even "Spear of Destiny" (wolfenstein prequel) had a (scripted) shift to a parallel world once you picked said spear. (Although not an "at-will" ability used for solving puzzles)

      And lots of old 2D games had similar "shift", as far back as SNES games (Zelda : Link to the past) and Megadrive games (Sonic CD had a system with past/present/future time shifts).

      Shifting between alternate world isn't a

  • to go along with the shoot em up?

    Or is that too much to ask...?

  • oh no, not again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thermian ( 1267986 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @12:32PM (#24635453)

    I don't know what it is with ID and their terrible 'revive our old games' thing.

    Seriously, good as the engine was, doom 3 was a bad game, it lacked much of the gameplay associated with the original games. Obviously things had moved on in many ways, but it played more like an AvP knockoff to me, and not a well designed one at that.

    Quake 4 was also pretty poor. There wasn't much to wolfenstein, so they can pretty much start from scratch and go any way they like. Looking at their recent track record in games sat atop their (undeniably excellent) engines, I won't be shelling out the pounds for this until its been around long enough to be cheap.

    • by Maserati ( 8679 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:05PM (#24635685) Homepage Journal

      > I don't know what it is with ID and their terrible 'revive our old games' thing.

      If they end up with more revivifications like RtCW than Doom 3 then the industry as a whole benefits from it. There should always be a Castle Wolfenstein game available on a fairly modern engine. RtCW is a little long in the tooth now, so let's have a new one. Works for me, I loved RtCW and there are damned few servers left whenever I reinstall.

      Id's "first party" games are just tech demos for their latest engine anyway, have been for a while. That explains Doom 3 right there - they really weren't trying to make an awesome game, they were demoing an awesome engine.

      Waiting until games become cheap is an excellent strategy. If it's any good, there will still be a healthy online community. If there isn't, you didn't miss much.

      • I loved RtCW and there are damned few servers left whenever I reinstall.

        Wasn't Enemy Territory supposed to be a RtCW multiplayer v2.0, in a manner of speaking? Maybe you might find a few more people playing that. It also happens to be free.

        • by Maserati ( 8679 )

          Didn't like ET somehow, multiplayer got too complex. RtCW was nice, straightforward teams-based fps action. ET got way more involved than I wanted to deal with just to play a map and frag some fools.

          But yeah, ET in its own right is a very nice package.

      • I don't understand why everybody says Doom 3 was a 'demo'. It was not. It was an awesome game. Highly entertaining, as it kept the player on the edge with different events, an awesome atmosphere, amazing environments, high adrenaline etc.

    • by jadin ( 65295 )

      It's been an idea of mine for a while now that id should make game engines to license to other developers. Much like unreal does most of the time. Most of unreal's own games are pretty crappy (personal opinion) but they sell their engine to some great games (bioshock etc). If id did this their engines could be used to make far better games then they can in house, and probably make more money to boot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

      it lacked much of the gameplay associated with the original games

      Wha? Original Doom = identical mazes, randomly scattered weapon/health pickups. Find key, open door, move to next key/door. Shoot random monsters hidden in closets

      Doom 3 = identical sci-fi mazes. randomly scattered weapon/health pickups. Find key/switch/computer terminal, open door, move to next terminal/door. Shoot random monsters hidden in closets

      Doom 3 was a faithful a sequel as anybody could expect. The problem was the the FPS genre has moved so far beyond the original formula.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fallingcow ( 213461 )

        D3 was never frantic enough. Painkiller and the Serious Sam games were much, much more faithful to the original Doom formula. D3 tried to be the original (reason's out the window, monster closets everywhere) while trying for a more modern, atmospheric scariness (booooo, it's all dark, you're afraid!) and placing greater emphasis on the story (hey, look, audio logs!)

        IMO, they failed to do any of that well. Too few enemies for a classic Doom feel, too predictable for a creepier kind of fright, and the adde

      • When was the last time you actually played classic Doom?

        Doom was one part Aliens, two parts Evil Dead. Doom's maps were in large part very explorable, with many dead ends and interesting level design situations that didn't ever make any architectural sense but played interestingly. The monsters were dumb, but they were very distinct and dozens could be on the screen at any given time, and even the dumbest monsters placed in the right kinds of situations could create interesting combat 'puzzles' for the pl

    • doom 3 was a bad game, it lacked much of the gameplay associated with the original games.
      I think that your expectations are out of whack. If you'd never seen either before, you'd rate Doom 3 as way better than Doom. And with so few first-person games around, Doom was pretty impressive. But now, game makers need to do more to distinguish their efforts from the other titles.

      Personally, I rate Doom I as the better game because it calls for more imagination to be invested in playing the game. That's where t

    • As long as it gets us another free, cross-platform multiplayer shooter like Enemy Territory, bring on the new Wolfensteins!

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      It isn't just them. 2/3 of the movies I've seen in the lst few years are sequels or remakes to old comics or magazines. Video games are doing the same thing.

  • Enough B.J. Blazkowicz, let's talk about his grandson: Billy Blaze, best known as Commander Keen. How about a modern reimagining of the old games?
    • by Samah ( 729132 )
      I've never understood how a vaccum cleaner could possibly be useful when constructing a Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket. Surely a Nimbus 2000 [] would fly better? :)
  • This also sounds like the "Scrye" spell from Clive Barker's Undying [].

  • Shrouding into occult dimensions, really? Let me guess, the market is saturated with WWII shooters which are all a variation of the same thing, the same weapons, with the same game modes, and they really don't know what to invent anymore to do something even a bit different?
    • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:52PM (#24636087) Homepage
      Have you played Wolfenstein before? It was always about Nazis and the occult. Wolfenstein is the original WW2 and it's always had the same theme.

      That and Nazis were actually tied to Occultism. This theme has been done before in other areas and it the whole basis behind the Indiana Jones movies.

      So while it may not be the most realistic game it's not trying to invent something new to be different it's taking it's same twist on real facts about Nazis.
      • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

        Well the problem is not that they use the occult to make cool monster or story plots, but that they use it as a pretext to bring something new to the gameplay. Basically it says "It's so much of the same old "over there a nazi! shoot!!" shit that we had to come up with those alternate dimensions shit to make the gameplay stand out a bit". Kind of like eating the same soup you've ate for the past 15 years except this time adding a pinch of weird tasting herbs to it.

        By the way, there wasn't much occultism to

        • Well if you want to me a miserable shit about it most every game is retread of the same ideals that have been invented well over a decade ago. ;)

          Wolf 3D's sequel did cover the occult. While Wolf 3D didn't have zombies it had a robot Hitler amongst other things that are more outrageous than a zombie so you can't really call it a serious game or act as if it's something new when this version of Wolfenstein comes up with something "outrageous" compared to the likes of Battlefield 1942.

          I don't think anyon
          • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )
            I could reply to this comment by copying the comment you're replying to, meaning I feel that you missed my point. It's all about the gameplay, that is, what you actually do. In Wolf3D you just shoot guns, open doors, collect items and use FAKs. The monsters' backstory doesn't really matter much, but it matters when you introduce some bullshit about occult dimensions to make up for a lackluster gameplay.
  • Sounds innovative at first, but then I came up with two words to say about that:
    my... precious!

  • Well, I for one, have been faithful to Castle Wolfenstein, since it's Apple ][ debut. Yes, you guys think Castle Wolfenstein on the PC, I used to play it when it was really and I mean REALLY, 2d, maze like. It's gone a long way.

    I don't want wolfenstein to be based on realism, in fact, the more Hitler/Nazis/Occult/Weird Science/Monsters we get, the better it is.

    And of course, that BJ finds new types of weapons and defences based on what the enemy has been unearthing, researching, etc..., I love it!

    Bottom l

  • by RickRussellTX ( 755670 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:57PM (#24636667)

    "occult symbols etched into the masonry are transformed into holes in walls that BJ can simply step, shoot, or lob a grenade through"

    Remember our motto: There's a hole in the sky, through which things can fly.

    Now you're thinking with Portals!

  • I just hope the keep and improve on the multiplayer aspect of the game. It was the best part and why I loved the game and particularly why I played it for so long. It really gave the game long lasting legs on which to stand.

    I hope the take note of Enemy Territory and the team based multiplayer. Quake Wars is good, but I remember ET was the best.

  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday August 18, 2008 @09:48AM (#24644243)

    Wolfenstein used to have a simple and timeless premise: a Polish-Jewish supersoldier invades a Nazi stronghold and singlehandedly defeats everyone whose path he crossed, including a cyborg Hitler with rail guns for arms.

    I don't see why they had to go and complicate the story with "shrouding" and "occult portals" and whatnot.

  • What they need to do is increase the scale and realism. Let BJ drive vehicles. Make the environment more of a challenge. Have him learn some new fighting moves.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury