E3 2013: Wolfenstein: The New Order Preview

June 15, 2013

It’s the 1960’s. The German Nazi Party has defeated the allies in World War II, conquering the known world, and even being the first to step foot on the moon. Much has changed, but unfortunately for them B.J. Blazkowicz has not. And after spending fourteen years in a coma he’s back to kick some Nazi arse.

Set to reinvent the Wolfenstein brand name, Wolfenstein: The New Order (headed by Bethesda’s MachineGames) was on full display at E3 2013. We got to take a peak at two demo levels from the latest build, to see how this one man Inglorious Basterd will make his name in a revision history world.

Our first demo was a short introduction to the mood and themes of The New Order. We’re standing in a Nazi train (assuredly undercover) hurtling down the rail, collecting a coffee to take back to our cabin. It all goes awry when we’re stopped in our tracks by an older lady clearly of senior Nazi status. We’re not quite sure how far up the chain of command she sits, but we’re guessing pretty high. She demands we sit down, for a test of impurity. She wants to make sure we’re of good Aryan stock. Sitting her gun on the table, she deals a set of photos and asks us to choose between them. The thick tension is quickly broken by her manic cackle, revealing it was all ruse, a test to see not what photo we’d pick, but whether or not we’d take the gun on the table. She lets us pass, none the worse for wear.

Our second demo put more emphasis on the actual play of The New Order rather than the themes, making our way through a destroyed bridge and dispatching Nazi scum along the way (including Nazi branded robotic brawlers). We found the combat pretty standard shooter stuff, many weapons coming across as futuristic stylised modern guns (like a laser machine gun), with the occasional dual wielding for good measure. We did get to see a cool laser cutter weapon though, which uses a procedural destruction system to let you slice through certain objects. Like cutting holes in cover to shoot through, or sawing your way through a chain link fence blocking your path. It will be interesting to see how this weapon is integrated into the level progression and encounters throughout the whole game.

Overall, the impression we got from Wolfenstein: The New Order is that it’s a big budget shooter with a focus on over-the-top Nazi themed elements. Like, you know, space Nazis. The tonal blend of silliness and crazy action with the occasional serious tension, like the Nazi interrogation, will be interesting to see play out in the final product, if just to see how well the polarisation works.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is on track for a December 2013 release on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.

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