First Look (Sort Of): Wolfenstein: The New Order

Last week, RPS sent Brendan to preview MachineGames’ Wolfenstein: The New Order. In a noble experiment in objective journalism, the preview you’re about to read has been written by veteran RPS contributor Quintin Smith, based on nothing but the two pages of notes Brendan took during the presentation. He hasn’t even seen a screenshot.

Good luck, Quinns! Everyone else should sit back, and enjoy the most unbiased preview in the history of games writing.

Hello! If you think Wolfenstein is about wolves, you’re wrong. Wolfenstein: The New Order features a story, in which there is a 1960 alternate reality where the Nazis won WWII using technology. You’ll be playing as BJ Blazkowicz again, who is still around because he’s been in a comma! That might say “coma”, but I’m going to give this game the benefit of the doubt and assume Wolfenstein will be doing some incredible stuff with metaphysical concepts, perhaps with BJ also killing his enemies using full stops. Day one purchase, everybody. [I am not sure this was such a good idea after all – Brendan]

In Wolfenstein’s story BJ will team up with “Angu” to work with a resistance movement. The question of whether Angu is an organisation, peer or love interest will have to wait until nearer release, or I find someone with better handwriting. [She is a woman and her name is Anya. I think.] But who cares about story! Not Brendan I guess because that’s where he moves on to much more important issues. “Leaning still a thing,” he writes, the indentation of each letter implying excitement, or perhaps arousal. [You can lean around corners, over or under cover. It’s useful when you shoot things, which is all the time.]

The presentation itself very impressive, by the sounds of things. There was a big mech who… was there, and then BJ Blazkowicz was on a train with a scary Frau antagonist who tries to test his Aryan Purity while the player is serving coffee. Wolfenstein: The New Order will have less of an emphasis on first-person shooting and more of an action adventure-vibe.

This is exciting, logical news, since MachineGames was formed by the ex-studio heads of Starbreeze. These were the icy brains behind Riddick and The Darkness, both of which had ceaseless, ambitious and inventive non-combat asides. Riddick’s simulation of prison life was wonderfully intimidating at times. The Darkness has a scene where you could just watch re-runs of (out of copyright) episodes of Flash Gordon with your girlfriend on the sofa. It was great! It’s wonderful news that Wolfenstein is doing stuff like that, like stealth, which featured in the demo at one point, with BJ knifing guys and so forth. [The stealth is actually pretty basic crouch-to-not-be-seen stuff.]

The guys at MachineGames went on to state Inglourious Basterds as an inspiration [it appears my notes are just plain lies at this point, because I don’t remember the developers saying any such thing], and whether you enjoyed that movie or are sane, Tarantino did imbue WW2 with more personality than the rest of the Wolfenstein games had put together, so that’s literally something you can probably expect to see from The New Order. “Gone are the archaeological dig sites of old Wolfenstein,” said a guy. [Again, what guy? I think maybe this was just me, pretending to be a boxquote.]

But maybe you’re interested in the shooting! In which case let me tell you, The New Order implements various modern developments, like regenerating health and also BJ will dual-wield everything. [True about the guns. He even dual-wields giant shotguns. There is a point at which you can barrel down a corridor blasting both of them at once and see nothing but muzzle flash and smoke. Then, when you stop firing, you realize you have just murdered 6 Nazis you didn’t even know were there. The health is a little more complicated, but we’ll get to that.]

But that’s not all! BJ will have a powerful laser which is half-tool, half-weapon, in a playful augmentation to your arsenal that similar to Half Life 2’s gravity gun, just without the gravity. With this laser you’ll be able to cut holes in cover to shoot through, or use it to laser down panels and find Wolfenstein’s traditional hidden areas. You’ll also be able to upgrade it several times, or use its alt-fire mode to fire it like a normal gun, which is innovative. [I definitely did not write ‘innovative’] Now, I know what you’re thinking. How will I charge my laser? Don’t worry. MachineGames have seen fit to place laser tool charging stations around.

But it’s not all roses! “BJ’s husky one-liners are pretty annoying,” Brendan says here, insensate in the face of upgradable lasers. [But I do like the way he whispers everything. It’s a nice change after Far Cry 3’s Jason Shouty.] It’s not hard to imagine what might be annoying. Perhaps wartime rationing has left BJ with shoes that are too small. “God damn these tiny shoes!” he cries, huskily. “Are those even more stairs? Jesus! I hate this!” Quite why MachineGames would give BJ such impractical footwear remains to be seen, but I expect his shoes will be upgradeable too, as you pry increasingly large boots from bigger and bigger bosses. Oh my god that would be awesome. [None of this is in my notes.]

OK. I’ve had it easy so far, but here it gets tricky. The next part of the preview saw Brendan writing down a quote from a MachineGames designer called Find Out Name. Brendan wrote this quote in actual shorthand. I can’t read shorthand, but this is the internet! We can just find a shorthand dictionary and translate it ourselves.

So, here’s what Brendan’s notes mean:

“Wr h Id Software f, a w (illegible) w y c u w sh c w s ‘oh’ – w y (illegible) s t…? W rhdh udt W th hd kl – Wolfenstein uh it (illegible) ab 100 G y d v at (nonsense) (no idea) r.”

Next, we simply apply some common sense to fill in the blanks.

“We’re huge Id fans,” said the designer. He also said some other things, about games. [His name was Jens Matthies, the Creative Director, and he said: “We’re huge Id fans and when we came up with the concept we showed them. We wouldn’t do anything without telling them…” and then there’s some separate stuff about the health system. Shorthand is brilliant. Because you can show your shorthand to another shorthand writer and even they won’t know what the hell you’ve written down. It’s the most secret language you’ll ever learn.]

I’m very excited about Wolfenstein: The New Order. It looks great. Games have gone without small shoes and grammar guns for too long, and it’s the visionaries at MachineGames that simply want to give us something new. Rest assured, RPS will be keeping a very, very close eye on this one, and providing the earliest possible review.

[Okay. Quinns’ summation of events was surprisingly accurate. When he mentions the action-adventure emphasis, he is half-right. Those were the marketing fella’s terms. How much time will be devoted to the story sections we don’t know yet. We only got to see a short section of story in a train’s café carriage, whereby the Nazi Frau (who will become the antagonist of the tale) plays an arbitrary game of ‘prove your purity’ with you using some picture cards. The player gets to choose which cards to pick – what makes you feel proud: blue eyes or a setting sun? Stuff like that. It is true that it’s a scene straight out of Inglorious Basterds’ tenser moments. Although it’s difficult to tell whether the uber-mech standing in the corner acts to increase this tension or dissipate it.

Again, with the gunplay, Quinns was mostly spot-on. Apart from the grammar rifles thing. There were indeed many guns to shoot with, all of which are arranged in your inventory in oldy-worldy FPS form. Since the new Wolfenstein is taking the “let’s be big and dumb on purpose because it’s funny” route, there is no possible objection to BJ’s ability to carry a billion weapons at once, rather than swapping between a paltry two. They also feel very weighty. This will undoubtedly please a lot of old-schoolers. However, the dual-wielding system is a little strange. You’ll have to find a preset ‘pair’ of the guns if you want to dual-wield, so rather than simply picking up one of the thirty rifles your dead foes have dropped and putting that in your free hand, BJ has to wait for the allotted time at which the level sees fit to grant him with the ‘rifle pair’. Wolfenstein might take pride in being old-fashioned but this might seem a little too archaic for some.

The laser gun was the centerpiece of the demo and it did look undoubtedly cool when cutting down individual bits of chicken wire. Cutting holes out of cover looks equally cool but I never did this myself during a gunfight, mostly because it would take a lot of time fiddling with weapon selection when it was quicker to just lean out and blast people. The first laser you get is a little blowtorch-sized thing. You get an upgraded weaponised version later, although the ‘weapon’ side of this simply constitutes another projectile-based gun. I was expecting the player to be able to use the laser to slice through the legs of enemy mechs, in the style of Tiny & Big or Metal Gear Rising: Revengence. With luck, they’re saving that weapon for later but, if it does exist, it wasn’t on show here.

The health system is a weird hybrid of old and new and I still don’t fully understand it. The enemy soldiers you shoot to death always seem to have some medical or armour points to scavenge and there are certainly a lot of armour vests and med packs lying around, all of which implies another nod to the Old Gods of the FPS. Indeed, the developers themselves said they wanted to stay true to Wolfensteins PC shooter heritage. However, when in the heat of battle, I noticed that health was sometimes regenerating as well. There’s some kind of metaphor to be made here about shooter genealogy, and Wolfenstein trying in vain to remain a ‘pureblood’ FPS in the age of Call of Duty: Angry Warfare. But I think we can do without such a metaphor for now, as this preview article is already stretching it in terms of ‘wacky’. {Thanks! – Quinns } I mean, look, we have to give Quinns a whole new set of brackets. {It’s mad!}

Overall, New Order is going for the same action-oriented irreverence as Bulletstorm or, in movie terms, Iron Sky. At the same time, MachineGames have put a lot of effort into making it very much one of the Old Guard. I think ‘pastiche’ is the wanky literature word for it. But then there is good pastiche and bad pastiche, and obviously it’s too early to tell which category this Wolfenstein will fall into. But we will be sure to let you know when we get a better crack at it closer to release.

{Brendan, close your brackets.}

Oh yes, of course. Sorry.]


  1. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    That Wolfenstein website is just awful. Jump through hoops just to see a partially obscured trailer and some screenshots.

    Edit: It doesn’t seem right that this should be the first comment. So for RPS regulars:

    Needs staring eye tag.

    • jodiefoster88 says:

      my roomate’s mother makes $84/hour on the internet. She has been out of a job for 9 months but last month her payment was $14816 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site…

  2. surv1vor says:

    Those screenshots really do look so unappealing, especially the first. Grey robots and corridors, sigh…

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I quite like the robot design. :(

      • Screwie says:

        I like them – they remind me of the 5th Column robots from City of Heroes. (Somewhat appropriately, I guess.)

        • BooleanBob says:

          Aye, some serious ‘inspiration’ from Cryptic going on there, methinks.

      • merc-ai says:

        Agreed, the design is nice, and so is execution (they have some top talent working on game art).
        And it’s not like we have dozen of games with robotic enemies lately, so it’s filling a nice niche.

      • surv1vor says:

        I wouldn’t say it was bad, just not massively original. Maybe I’m feeling a bit spoilt by my playthrough of Metro LL.

      • sonofsanta says:

        They look like robot Vortigaunts to me, particularly in that penultimate screenshot. Hunched stance, long arms, glowing cyclopean eye.

      • Rovac says:

        I like it too
        It’s blocky and less smooth than most robots out there. It also look very raw, in a good way

    • Premium User Badge

      distantlurker says:

      Wolf was one of the first games I ever played on a PC. It’s certainly the first 3D fps I ever played, I’m aware it is erroneously called the first ever 3D fps quite a lot, but either way.

      1993 – link to
      2013 – link to

      Screw you time and space! GAMING. IS. AWESOME!

    • Brendy_C says:

      The robots are the best part of the art design, if you ask me. As bullet sponges they are pretty conventional, but they look and stomp really well. There’s a ‘dog’ type (pictured) that scrabbles at you and gets crushed beneath some rocks like a tin can and it looks very good.

    • MiKHEILL says:

      I counted one potential corridor, and there’s the very real possibility that it may have in fact been a somewhat grey room. And the robots look awesome.

  3. RedViv says:

    I’ll just call her Ilsa the Second, and leave it at that.

  4. Prince says:

    Holy hell!!!
    This looks exactly like the game I would want from this franchise. We need more silliness in big-budget shooters.

  5. Hensler says:

    I’m much more amused by Quinns’ writing now that I’ve gotten to know him and his voice from Shut Up and Sit Down. I never appreciated him until he was gone :( !

  6. pakoito says:

    We miss you small ladybug Quinns.

  7. Anthile says:

    I noticed the mech bears the iron cross/Balkenkreuz instead of swastikas. They also seem noticeably absent in the other screenshots as well. Is tit going to stay that way?

    • RedViv says:

      Likely, given the international problems with showing these symbols even when appropriate. Great and influential and thoughtful and deep art like Indiana Jones can do that, but not silly vidyagems. At least not in some big and present way.

      • stahlwerk says:

        Effectively, yes. But it’s more due to an unfortunate misunderstanding during the early days of video games, which somehow perpetuates itself. The short of it is that the board of regulations confused authorial intent of depiction with an intent of endorsement, which stems from the german judicial foundation that media that glorify violence or “Verfassungsfeindliche Organisationen” or their actions are not to be made accessible or marketed to <18yo. This in turn is derived from German constitutional article 1 protecting “Human Dignity”, so it’s not like it’s taken from thin air or without merit.

        The main problem is that VG publishers, after a certain period in which they adjusted to the german market (circa Wolf3d, Doom, Quake 1 and 2) nowadays don’t want to risk the effective ban on sales to minors. If they just were content to sell their authentic and intact works to >18 (as is done successfully in the independent horror film market), there’d be no need for the infamous german version.

        Also, publishers very well could escalate this to the EU level on the basis that it incurs undue development costs for a market that should in theory be homogeneous, besides different languages.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        So, what, has the technology to replace a swastika bitmap with something else for the German release been lost to the ages? I don’t see the problem.

    • DickSocrates says:

      The woman in one of these screenshots appears to have the swastika on her arm. they might just be keeping them out of publicity shots. I’ve played a few WWII games, Medal of Honour 1, and the expansions etc, CoD 1 2 and 3 and they were all chock full of swastikas.

    • Brendy_C says:

      The developers were asked the same question by some of the German press. They said that the German version will have the swastikas replaced with other icons and that the ‘Nazis’ will be replaced with ‘The Regime’. I believe they’re also planning to tone down the blood spatter as well for the German release but not sure by how much.

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        They’re sanitizing the Nazi iconography and terminology for the Germans?

        I don’t know if I find it hilarious or frightening.

        • vedder says:

          They have to, you’re not allowed to show those things in Germany. In that regard you should be scared about how a country can just sweep their history under the rug in an attempt to pretend nothing ever happened.

          • aepervius says:

            Hu. No. They are not in udner any way and circumstance “sweeping their history under a rug” you are confusing them with Japan. They admited their error&horror publicly, they repaid victims, etc… The only problem , if I recall the law in question properly, is that while you are allowed to show svastica for educational purpose, you are not supposed to do it for entertainment, which leads that game are not allowed to show svastica. That’s supposed to stop the praising/glorification of the whole shebang.

            Now you might agree or disagree with that law (which was If I recall correctely, imposed by the allied at the end of WW2 and never repelled), but sweeping under the rug is definitively not what’s happening.

          • Anthile says:

            Wow, that might the most ignorant comment I have ever seen here. It is allowed to show swastikas in scholarly works and art. Video games have a hard time being seeing as art. It is, for the most part, an outdated law nowadays.
            I can’t believe you really think this law is supposed to be some sort of coverup. Jeez.

          • zachforrest says:

            Germany faced up to it’s past. Thanks to that it’s a successful and admired country.

          • FFabian says:

            A misconception common most often among ignorant Brits and/or USians

          • Phasma Felis says:

            I love how many gamers’ knowledge of German policy on Nazi iconography begins and ends with “you can’t have it in games.” It never seems to stop them from making up great fanciful theories about what’s actually happening outside games, though.

        • Premium User Badge

          Bluerps says:

          It is illegal to display Nazi symbols (especially the Swastika, but others as well) in Germany, unles it is for historical education or research. Using it as part of a work of art is fine, too (that’s how Indiana Jones got away with it). It is also not illegal to use the Swastika as a religious symbol.

          So in theory a video game could try to feature Nazi symbols in Germany, as a work of art. However, in practice a game developer is not going to bet the legality of a game in a big market on the outcome of the “are games art?” debate.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            I know how German law works in that regard. I just find it ridiculous.

      • aepervius says:

        Note to self : buy the international / US version.

      • The Random One says:

        In the German version the Regime will be explained to consist of humanlike aliens full of strawberry jam.

        • aepervius says:

          Or they will be renamed “cyborg” given a weird dying noise and the blood recolored to green “oil” like C&C ;).

    • GaiusJulius394 says:

      If I recall correctly, Swastikas weren’t generally displayed on German vehicles in WW2 anyway (and these robots presumably count as vehicles). And the woman in the screenshot definitely has a swastika armband.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    I’d have actually preferred that if it was just Quinns all the way through, and no sensible cleanup of his remarks :-)

    • Hydrogene says:

      Same here. I really miss Quinns” words. :( He has a really unique brand of crazyness.

  9. Skabooga says:

    Not going to lie, I am impressed that Brendan can write in short hand. And that Quinns was even able to decipher as much of it as he did.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I didn’t think anybody still wrote shorthand. The only person I’ve ever met who knew it was my great aunt, and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t Brendan.

      • jalf says:

        But how sure are you really?

        Have you ever seen them both in the same room at the same time? Ever wondered why not?

  10. Skeletor68 says:

    Speaking of punctuation guns, I would love one that shoots fadas. Makes the enemy instantly Irish.

    Or maybe a circonflexe grenade to make people French.

    • Quinns says:

      Oh my god, yes. Or just emoticons you can cycle through with the mousewheel, firing them at enemies with left clicks.

    • RedViv says:

      I have to regretfully inform you that the Laboratory of the Field of SCIENCE has already run out of the materials required to sufficiently safely manufacture a significant amount of precise enough Accent Ammo. Acute Bullets have, in tests, varied between switching the subjects into using various Romance and Nordic languages, among many others.
      We have to assume that a higher dosage of Accented Elements would not help either, as is best demonstrated by the sad case of Subject 67, who we tested HD Accmo on, which saw him, apparently irrevocably, transformed into a strange and hitherto unseen mix of Welsh, Irish, Czech, and Slovenian, with a bit of what we think might be Viking. We are unable to communicate with him, though he has reacted well to relaxation therapy in The Room With The Sheepies And The Beer.

      • Skeletor68 says:

        Haha, touché :).

        Well if punctuation is not regionalised enough to use as described, can we at least agree that the main enemy should be multiple exclamation marks?

        I’m imagining a Doom style shooter with dank corridors, trusty red pen bobbing as you navigate the maze when you hear a gradually increasing cacophony of ‘lol, lol, lol, LOL, LOL, LOL’ and then are faced with !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

        Well that’s my madness quota for today.

    • Gemsa says:

      Killing with commas and punctuation; an evolution of the killing with words at the end of Alan Wake, no?

    • stahlwerk says:

      The Unicode-Killer strikes again!

    • anark10n says:

      I’d much rather prefer puzzles involving colons.

      He he … colons … he he

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      It isn’t a punctuation gun, but it is a letter remover device. link to

      • Premium User Badge

        Bluerps says:

        I am pretty sure, if a punctuation gun does not actually exist in the world of Counterfeit Monkey, it would at least be possible to build one.

  11. SirKicksalot says:

    Health regenerates to the nearest multiple of 20. The rest is filled by medkits or boosts dropped by enemies.

    • Rovac says:

      This one
      It’s ex-Starbreeze right, they might as well go down the Riddick way of regenerating health and medkits.

      Come to think of it, there is a new Riddick movie coming sometime this year. Will be pretty awesome if the devs work on another Riddick games

      • SwENSkE says:

        I just hope Vin Diesel got to play Riddick. I can’t imagine anyone else playing him.

    • The Random One says:

      Seems to be an interesting middle ground. You’ll be able to top off your health without having to keep backtracking to a health station, but it’ll still be possible to fuck up and have a simple encounter be a nightmare because you’re low on health.

      I’ll like it even more if the medkits turn out to be flagons of beer, whole roasted chickens and plates of strudel.

    • Brendy_C says:

      Yeah, since submitting I’ve been told that the health works by regenerating up to the nearest 20, like you say. So if it is on 23 when you stop being shot, it will boost up to 40. You can also get your health all the way up to 200 by munching on as many medkits as you like – but it will slowly degenerate back to a static 100 over time.

      Also, there are some items that upgrade your health permanently, later on.

  12. Muzman says:

    No mention of how the Nazis now appear to have armored xenomorphs working for them?

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Slave labour of the racially impure type working in death camp factories manufacturing them whilst hidden under mountains would be my guess! That appeared to be their MO!

  13. The Random One says:

    A “pull quote”? Obviously the block quotes have tainted the Hivemind and anyone who’s ever written for RPS places them on anything they write.

    Also, angu is a Brazilian kind of polenta. So I’m guessing it’ll be a Rincewind inserted love interest.

  14. phlebas says:

    Is that a waxwork of Honor Blackman?

  15. killmachine says:

    no multiplayer. end of sentence.

    • phlebas says:

      No multiplayer? You mean they’re actually making the single-player experience a priority? Fantastic!

  16. Ultra Superior says:

    Are there swastikas or just some quazinazi glyph?

  17. Albert1 says:

    I’m already bored – it seems so uninspired! id franchises aged so bad!

  18. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    oh man does new wolfenstein look boring and generic as if this could possibly be a surprise

  19. Xanadu says:

    I’m assuming from the title that this has an awesome soundtrack by Barney Sumner and Peter Hook, so definite Day One purchase on musical grounds alone…

  20. saso77 says:

    Wolfenstein was a really good game for his time ,it is still early to make opinion about this new part but i hope it will be successful like his ancestor even knowing that the concurrency now is much,much bigger.

  21. pilouuuu says:

    It looks quite good and hopefully it is closer to Return to Castle Wolfenstein which was an amazing game.
    Rage engine is great and hopefully this will be a better game than Rage.

    Now if only we could to the nazi in the game… That would be really innovative!

  22. Radiant says:

    I really like the design work from what I’ve seen so far.
    Both in the mechs and in the general graphic design. It all has a very nice modern aesthetic.

    Hopefully the game design is up to the art design.

  23. AnotherGamingEnglishman says:

    Fun fact: The architecture in that 8th screenshot looks like it was based on Hitler’s (pretty darn mad) intended rebuilding of Berlin: link to

    Those crazy Nazi’s and their silly big buildings.

  24. AvistTorch says:

    The health system reminds me of Hard Reset Far Cry 2 a little. This is not a bad thing.

  25. valczir says:

    The stuff about shorthand made me think about regexp (and, by extension, Perl [and, by extension, PHP]). It’s the same thing – it’s very quick and easy to write, but any person who tries to read it will end up with the wrong answer. The only person who can read regexp is the person who wrote it. And even then, if it’s been too long since the regexp was written, even the author won’t know what the Hell it does.

  26. Michael Fogg says:

    A remake of the original Castle Wolfenstein as a modern stealth/adventure title. I’d buy that for a dollar.

  27. Shooop says:

    The robots look nice, but does this mean no shooting nazis in the flesh?

    Boo! Boo I say!

  28. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    The second pic: Is that a robot xenomorph? Oops that has already been mentioned.

    I’ve never played much of the Wolfenstein games, except for the first, from the Doom period.

  29. bstard says:

    I dont want no story, or robots or BS: is there multiplayer, is it like RTCW and does the idtech5 engine delivers proper gameplay?

  30. amishmonster says:

    My favorite article in a while. Good job, guys!

  31. sabrage says:

    “God damn these tiny shoes!” he cries, huskily. “Are those even more stairs? Jesus! I hate this!”