Wolfenstein 3D 4

By Alec Meer on August 2nd, 2008 at 12:15 am.

Christ, look at the arms on BJ

Oh, I wish it really were called that. I miss the days when game names were ritually suffixed with ’3D’. I might start doing it anyway. “Next week, we’ll be posting about Fallout 3 3D, Spore 3D, Warhammer Online 3D and Peggle…”

There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of buzz around Raven’s upcoming occultist-Nazi shooter just yet, at least not compared to id’s own Rage 3D, but maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. Here’s what was shown at Quakecon, anyway. It’s possibly a little more subtle than the E3 footage – but it’s nevertheless certainly not subtle. I think/hope it’s pushing for deliberately silly, and it could be a lot of Serious Sam-y fun if so.

Still, I do find myself wishing for primary-coloured corridors and Nazis in bright blue uniforms. Oh, why must every modern (not going to say ‘next-gen’) game favour the greys and the browns, the dinge and the grit?

On that note, here’s Blizzard explaining their thinking behind the controversial dayglo Diablo III 3D palette: “There’s a lot of gray-and-brown games out there, and there’s lots of photo-realism out there. If you want that, there’s no end of games for you to play. We didn’t want you to look at ‘Diablo III 3D’ and go, ‘Oh, that looks like ‘Gears of War 3D.’”

I appreciate their thinking entirely, but I guess it does seem a little odd they’re employing an ostensibly (but most certainly not identically) similar look for all three of their ongoing game series. Very likely they’re aiming for The Blizzard Look, in the same way there’s The Apple Look or The Malnourished British Games Journalist Look. Which isn’t an altogether crazy idea. Outside of Nintendo, there’s not many developers who carry a signature look across their games. While it might upset a few thousand old school Diablo fans, it’s a clever branding exercise – a visual seal of quality, at least if that’s your idea of quality.

Whoops, rambling wildly. Back on subject – new Wolfiness. In 3D.

Again – I’m sorely hoping it’s shooting for waaaaaaaay over the top, and not just messy visual goth-noise like Clive Barker’s Jericho. There’s stuff so wantonly ridiculous in there that it surely has to be tongue in cheek, and that appeals. It’d be great to see Raven hit it out of the park for the first time in a long while.

Thanks to Wesley for reminding me we should probably post this.

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46 Comments »

  1. RLacey says:

    This has the potential to be great fun. Please, please, please get it right, Raven…

  2. spd from Russia says:

    hey it would be just Fallout 3d, cause the other two were 2d :)

    On the hype side – blame Activision. They are not investing much in Ravens` games pr/ads. Same thing happened for qauke4 (and ETQW too) sadly, while all the ad budgets were spent on pimping their primary action title – CoD4. And thats pretty much why ID ‘moved’ to EA. (atleast I heard so from a guy working at Raven)

  3. matte_k says:

    I liked Wolfenstein. It had zombies, nazis and zombie nazis to shoot. That adds about 30% to any review score (so if you see a 60% score on a game with those in, you know it’s poor).

    Looking forward to more over-the-topness from Raven, hope they don’t resort to a giant Rob Zombie again for an end game boss though…

  4. Muzman says:

    I kept waiting for Hellboy to leap in and punch something (that’s in no way a criticism).

  5. CrashT says:

    PCGamerUK has a preview of this, which makes it sound like rather interesting dumb fun; set in a fictional town where Nazi experiments lead to two seperate “realities” where what you do in one affects the other.

    Quake IV was a solid shooter, and I expect Raven to do the same here.

  6. James T says:

    If it has the optional stealth like RtCW, I’m totally down with it. Otherwise I don’t care.

  7. Erlam says:

    I dunno, I’m not sure how much hype you could give Quake Wars.

    “All The Spawn Death You’ve Wanted, But Were Afraid To Ask For.”

    Maybe:

    “Are you tired of playing for more than four seconds without dying? Here’s your game!”

  8. Inglorion says:

    I guess they stopped calling the games 3D once they figured out how to make them fully three-dimensional.

  9. Corion says:

    “Clive Barker’s Jericho”

    Don’t you mean Clive Barker’s Jericho 3D?

  10. CrashT says:

    I think calling Jericho “3D” is a bit of a reach ;)

  11. James G says:

    So, what was the last commercial release to have 3D appended to its title? I remember the dire Simon the Sorcerer 3D using the suffix long after other games had abandoned it; yet it also seemed to use a 3D engine from the time when adding ’3D’ after a title would indeed have been a unique selling point.

    I suppose we had Worms 3D even more recently, but that sort of gets away with it. The shift to 3D was an enormously significant (and in my opinion detrimental) change to the game mechanic.

  12. Inglorion says:

    There was Dragon’s Lair 3D in 2002. Pretty late.

  13. Noc says:

    If there is not a Demon Zombie Hitler Boss at the end of this game, I am going to be gravely disappointed.

  14. Will says:

    Haha Noc, GRAVELY disappointed… Zombie? Grave?

    *heh*

  15. Bhlaab says:

    Made by Raven, doomed to suck.

    Where’s Grey Matter gone off to?

  16. BJ Blazkowicz says:

    FUCK YEAR! ANOTHER GAME THAT I’M STARRING IN!

  17. andy m says:

    why are they still making this series? zzz.

  18. Xander77 says:

    It appears that German censors will have their work cut out for them.

    Also, no Elite guards. :(

    If the final Boss isn’t Mecha-Hitler wielding the spear of destiny with a flamethrower tacked on, I’ll probably give it a pass.

  19. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    I would pity Germans for all their silly, ineffectual, awfully-strict-for-something-so-minor laws. But as a democratic country, I imagine the responsibility ball was in their own court all along.

  20. Yhancik says:

    There’s something of Force Unleashed in that trailer (but no nazis holding hands while flying in the air :p unfortunately).

  21. Bob Arctor says:

    I want a “Fuck Year”

  22. Optimaximal says:

    As in, like, a year of non-stop sex? Think of the stamina required!

  23. James G says:

    @ Dorian Cornelius Jasper

    The problem being of course that the relaxation of the censorship laws in Germany could be a very thorny ticket to run on. Instantly a party’s detractors would portray them as Nazi sympathisers, attempting to make it easier for the far right to show a resurgence.

    One of the flaws of democracy, is that it is subject to the effects of propaganda an mis-conception. A vocal minority can often strike above their weight for example. Of course, until someone comes up with a better system, or I am installed as benevolent dictator of the world, its the best system we can come up with. Something that becomes incredibly disturbing when reading YouTube comments, or the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the BBC news website.

    (And how’s that for dragging the comments thread off-topic!)

  24. turban_man says:

    ROGUE SQUADRON 3D FTW!!!!!!!!!11

  25. Bill says:

    As long as there are guards making small talk about not having enough hot water, I’ll be happy.

  26. Andy Johnson says:

    For this to be Serious Sam-style is exactly what we don’t need. What we need is a bone fide sequel to RTCW, one of the best shooters of the last ten years.

  27. Charlie says:

    I agree, if there is no Hitler it will suck.

  28. Zed says:

    Screw Hitler. I want Tyrannosaurus Reich.

  29. bildo says:

    your not hearing much about it because Raven is developing it…look what they did to Quake 4.

  30. rob75383 says:

    Hey, thanks for plugging my favorite forum, RAGE3D!… or at least, sorta plugging it. By accident.

  31. Radiant says:

    What I hate about sci fi shooters is that you invariably end up with daft future/alien weapons that you have no idea how to use.

    That ridiculous Soul Cube bullshit that was in Doom3 [or was it Quake 4?] is a case in point; it took ages for me to figure out how to use it.

    Same with stupid insect grenades.

    One game [whose name escapes me] the alt fire for the insect grenade was to turn the insect over on to it’s back.
    No explanation for it’s use, it just turned the insect over and started poking [THE EXPLOSIVE CREATURE] in the belly.

    You’d think that, after 20 years of first person shooters, they’d at least get right the bits that actually shoot yes?

  32. Charlie says:

    Wow Tyrannosaurus Reich sounds amazing! How have I never heard of him!?

    Raven did well with Quake 4 and I will argue with anyone over it! Getting your legs sawed off was one of my favourite bits in a game. You keep thinking you will get saved somehow when you see the guy in front of you getting horribly mangled but you don’t!

  33. Erlam says:

    ‘Next Gen’ is basically the new ’3D.’ They don’t add it as a suffix, but they do cram the word, and it’s many properties, into every game preview/review/etc they can.

    Examples are: ‘Bloom (a white outline),’ ‘Gritty Realism (gray),’ ‘huge battles (respawning enemies),’ and so on.

    (PS. Am I the only person who liked Quake 4? It really reminded me of Quake 2, which is a good thing.)

  34. Radiant says:

    Erlam Q4 for me is a competently made corridor shooter.
    But it is just a competently made corridor shooter.
    It didn’t offer anything else.
    It didn’t stretch the genre or take it to new places like Q3a before it and it didn’t fix any of the problems of the genre either.

    Compare Quake 4 with Halo.
    Which, despite the cries of millions of fanboys, is a fair comparison; they are both, at the core, story driven corridor shooters.
    But one pushed the genre further then the other and even though Q4 came out later then Halo it didn’t learn any of it’s lessons.

    Imagine an upcoming 3rd person shooter not using an over the shoulder Gears of War/Resi Evil 4 style aiming system or a shooter not using regenerative health but instead regressing back to health packs .

    Progress was made in the genre within the years between q2 and q4 both good [the a fore mentioned regen health] and bad [overly complex stories] that Raven and Id failed to take note of.

  35. Saflo says:

    If I can just but in for a second, Radiant: is using health packs really considered regressive now? I haven’t been able to play many new shooters over the past few years, maybe it’s become the norm, but I never considered that aspect a glaring problem or anything.

  36. Erlam says:

    “Compare Quake 4 with Halo.
    Which, despite the cries of millions of fanboys, is a fair comparison; they are both, at the core, story driven corridor shooters.
    But one pushed the genre further then the other and even though Q4 came out later then Halo it didn’t learn any of it’s lessons.”

    First, what ‘genre pushing’ things did Halo do? The shield health system was around before Halo. So was a godawful starting weapon. So was shitty stories in FPS’.

    I will admit that a sci-fi hero in a BMX outfit is fairly original.

    Also, you cannot, in any way, successfully use regenerating health as progress. If anything, it’s a crutch for shitty design. “This part is too hard for our testers.” “Ok, put in some rocks they can hide behind to regenerate their health.” It’s total bullshit. It switches from being about skill to being about move, get shot/hide/move, get shot/hide.

    In fact, I can’t think of a single trend in recent shooters that isn’t more of a cop-out of decent design than regenerating health.

    And did you just refer to Quake 4′s story as ‘overly complicated’? Humanity invades Stroggos… kills Stroggs. Where’s the complication?

  37. Charlie says:

    Nicely said. Halo is shite. Quake 4 wasn’t the best game ever but I did enjoy it, and yeah it did remind me of Quake 2 which is most definitely is a good thing! Anyone here remember Q2′s intro sequence? It was amazing, really got the heart pumping and has a cool song by Trent Reznor if I remember correctly. Man I loved that intro!

  38. Radiant says:

    @saflo It was more of an example of progress made in shooters rather then a hard and fast rule.
    Great games still use medkits [Team Fortress 2 for example] it’s just in the case of story driven shooters the benefits of regen health offer a great solution to the issues players run into by using health packs.

    You ever hear the phrase ‘elastic progress’? In games using non storable health packs, Q4 and D3 in this case, you make forward progress up to a point wherein you have to backtrack half the map to pick up the health.
    So you’re always tethered elastically to the last health drop point [adding to the problems of repetitive scenary].

    And storable medkits, as used in Fear, bring up there own issues too; if two players go through the same fight but one player leaves with only 1 health pack left but the other guy playing the same fight had the skill to come out with 8. The difficulty has increased exponentially going forward for the player who isn’t as good at shooters.

    Not to mention, as someone else pointed out elsewhere that it breaks the immersion hunting around for healthpacks [whilst your fighting nazis].

    Regen health unclutters the hud, simplifies inventory management, provides a brief break in the fighting to regroup with out having to retread your steps and zeros base gameplay difficulty for all players [the hidden health bar also allows some wiggle room to devs to go 'easy' on players in some sections without making them feel rubbish or making them die first; I think Cod4 did this when you rescue and run to the chopper with the pilot].

    Yeah it comes with it’s own problems [enemy bullet sponges aka the 'these fuckers wont die!' syndrome] but it solves so many issues it’s hard to ignore as something that’s really pushed the genre.

  39. Radiant says:

    @Erlam your saying Quake 4 was a better game then Halo?

  40. spd from Russia says:

    Radiant: ofcourse Quake 4 is a better game than Halo 1/2! sp-wise atleast (never bothered to play Halo mp) Duke Nukem and Doom are better than Halo!
    And by your logic next step in shooters evolution would be uhhm regenerating ammo? Yeah, just sit there and wait for it to build up. Resource managing, exploration and difficulty is too un-casual. No one ever should die or run out of ammo! Oh and its less work for balancing the levels. Every one wins. And you forgot the restricted weapon arsenal – yet another simplification.
    Simple, easy, casual, shallow – doesnt mean evolution. But I dont want want to say its worse either, actually you can still have a fun game -remember classic arcade shootem-ep up scrollers. Or complex action RPGs on the other hand. Either can be fun

  41. Noc says:

    Also, Erlam, how is “This part is too hard, lets give the player’s some cover” a shitty design choice, while “This part is too hard, lets put a bunch of medkits about” a good one?

    The reason I like regenerating health is that it keeps the emphasis on the shooting instead of on the rooting around for health. Historically on FPS’s, the only purpose of cover is to limit the number of enemies shooting at you at once. And especially on higher difficulties or against skilled opponents, there’s little to no benefit of firing from partial cover. Regenerating health means that your position in combat is much more important.

    It’s not necessarily a step forward if not thought through and implemented properly. I like the COD4 “invisible health” approach, for instance. It gives you a “Shit, I’m being shot at!” jolt when you get hit, but once you’ve found cover you don’t have to sit and try and think back to the last place you saw a medkit. On the other hand, it’s now become the “new thing to do,” and there’s a better than average chance that an FPS will use it without actually taking the time to figure out the best way to implement it.

    Conversely, Health packs in HL2 work well because they encourage exploration. If you’re low on health or ammo, poking around a little will get you some – so you don’t have to backtrack. In TF2, regenerating health would make the Medic redundant, and though medkits are there they’re scattered rather thinly over the map. In both cases, the placement of healing items are important facets of level design . . . while in Halo and COD4, the presence and placement of cover is equally important. Much more important than it is in TF2.

    And I don’t want to be the one to say it, because my distaste for fratboys is as well matured as anyone else’s, but Halo’s not actually all that bad. Halo 1 especially had solidly presented storytelling, and was the first mainstream, story-based shooter to champion Regenerating Health and “Carry around two weapons at a time” over the established “Percent Health + Armor refilled with medkits and armor bits” and “Carry a pistol, shotgun, machine gun, rocket launcher, sniper rifle, and alien weapon around all at once and pull the one you need out of your ass at any given moment.”

    Are the former two mechanics inherently superior to the latter two in all incarnations? Clearly not; as with anything, the implementation is important. But they’re distinctly viable solutions which Halo’s success introduced to the mainstream.

    Also, the pistol in Halo was the most useful weapon in the game. Which was, you know, an innovation: in any other game I can think of, your starting weapon is only there as a placeholder until you get your hands on anything else. Also, for innovations: quickbutton for grenades, cooperatively manned vehicles, melee kills from behind . . . none of these are things that had never been done before, but they were ALL things you barely saw in shooters back in 2001.

  42. Noc says:

    Also: limited weapon selection means meaningful choices. You don’t just pick everything up, you figure out what you need and can afford to carry.

    More meaningful choices means a deeper game.

    Without regenerating health, bolting for cover and hiding in mid-combat is not a useful strategy; you’ll still be almost dead, and the next person who spits at you will kill you. Having the option to disengage and reengage – as opposed to keeping your crosshair over the enemy and hoping to hell he’ll die before you – is a meaningful combat choice, which adds depth.

    Limited weapon selection means that you don’t have the opportunity to just switch to another weapon if you run out of ammo. Resource management, which gives a meaningful choice, which makes a deeper game.

    Lets look at one of the other best shooters in recent years: Halflife 2. Beautiful world, well-told story, lots of fun. But lets look at the meaningful choices you make during combat.

    “Whoops, he’s too far away from the shotgun. Better switch to any other weapon.”
    “I don’t have a lot of magnum ammo. I guess I can’t use it all the time.”
    “Oh, that’s a strider. I guess I better hide behind my crate of infinite rockets until it stops shooting at me.”

    In terms of combat, Half-life 2 is a tremendously shallow game. It feeds you medkits and ammunition whenever you need them, and the only real issue of “resource management” is trying to figure out where that sawblade flew off to after you shot it at all those zombies. I love HL2, and I’m not NEARLY a Halo fanboy . . . but looking at Halo and calling it simple and shallow is a little silly.

    More casual? Maybe. Since it’s on a console, it’s less twitch-reliant. Which makes it, technically, less hardcore. But shallow gameplay? Nah.

  43. Saflo says:

    That was as good a defense of Halo as I can recall reading.

    @Radiant: I don’t see how frantically searching for a medkit while pinned down under heavy fire could do anything but aid immersion. Moments like that make for some of the most exciting – and occasionally annoying – in shooters. For comparison, take the older GTA-ish game The Getaway. You regenerated health in that game by leaning against a wall and catching your breath. It was looney, and especially so seeing it third-person.

    It’s well-implemented in games where it makes sense in context (Halo) or doesn’t play so big a part (Portal). For everything else, I’m fine with healthpacks until someone thinks of something better.

  44. Saflo says:

    …or would it be “Grand Theft Autovian”?

  45. Dan (WR) says:

    I’m with Noc on this. I’d add a couple of things though.

    Halo’s regenerating shields make sense in context – particularly as the Elites have them too. If you deplete their shields, they’ll seek cover and try to regenerate as well.

    The other thing is grenades. Halo makes use of grenades like no other game. They’re a plentiful all-purpose tactical weapon instead of a limited resource. A single grenade will take out a shielded enemy, so at any point you can still be taken out by a grunt with a sticky grenade. And because they’re so plentiful, they’re perfect for flushing regenerating people out of cover or scattering enemies so that you have a chance to reach cover and regenerate. It’s a very well balanced aspect of the game.

    Regenerating health isn’t a cop-out. It’s just a design choice. The thing I’d say about health kits is that it must be difficult for designers to balance their placement for differing skill levels. It can leads to the ‘elastic progress’ Radiant mentioned, and encourage inorganic play. You can have a large firefight and have enormous fun with it, but finish up with very little health. Do you crawl forwards towards the next healthpack area, and have to keep reloading because a single shot will kill you? Or do you reload the enitre fight and try to get through with more health?

  46. Requiem says:

    Regenerating health isn’t any smarter design than having loads of health kits scattered around but not a spare to carry. It’s no different than being able to carry one of every weapon in the game, not exactly progress swapping one convienence for another. It works in some games, those which are sci-fi and supernatural based, where there’s a reason given for the regeneration but it is a cop out for historical and real world settings like the COD series.

    Inexperienced or just poor fps players will have a hard time of it anyway, what holds true for health and health packs also holds true for ammo. Should fps games go the unlimmited ammo route as well? Because not every enemy drops ammo on death, and it’s just as inorganic to reload or backtrack to find more ammo as it is for health.

    There are lots of different ways to go other than regenerating health, it really depends on the type of game. Would Call of Duty games be more palatable if instead of regenerating health you were knocked immobile, Republic Commando style, screaming for a medic or one of you squad mates to come patch you up. How about that for immersion?

    But probably the best solution for health pack placement would be to have those enemies that already drop weapons and ammo to drop small health kits as well. Leaving the large health kits to be found in logical places like supply dumps, vehicles and field hospitals.

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