Preview

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

MachineGames Looks To The Past To Inform The Future
by Matt Miller on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:10 AM
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: MachineGames
Release:
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Wolfenstein: The New Order emerged as a surprise favorite for many gamers in 2014, thanks to its taut action and focus on classic single-player shooting experiences. The team at MachineGames has a stand-alone follow-up on the way in the form of The Old Blood. The game is releasing digitally on May 5th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

We asked executive producer Jerk Gustafsson to tell us what the team has in store. 

 

Why make this a standalone game rather than an expansion to The New Order?

For me, the most apparent benefit of The Old Blood being a standalone is that we are able to offer a game with lots of new and entertaining content that allows people to try the Wolfenstein experience for a lower price threshold and without having to have played The New Order. And I truly believe that The Old Blood has the potential to bring new fans to the Wolfenstein brand as a whole.  It’s a very nice, straight-forward and entertaining action-adventure game. 

It sounds as if The Old Blood includes two separate but interconnected stories. What can you tell us about each one?

The Old Blood features a brand new story that is divided into two parts: Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves and The Dark Secrets of Helga von Schabbs. The narratives running through each part are very much connected. B.J. is on a mission to steal a secret document folder in Bavaria which contains the location of General Deathshead's compound. 

The first part will take B.J. into the legendary Castle Wolfenstein where he will encounter prison warden, Rudi Jäger, a sadistic animal lover whose favorite pastimes include locking prisoners inside a cell and watching them get torn to pieces by his dogs. 

The second part brings B.J. to the medieval city of Wulfburg. There’s a touch of occult mystery to this part and it involves an obsessive SS archaeologist Helga von Schabbs who is digging up ancient secrets that perhaps would have been best left undisturbed. 

The overall story of The Old Blood functions as a proper prequel that leads up to the assault mission that sets off The New Order.

Machine Games has said that much of The Old Blood includes new content, rather than recycled content from The New Order. What are some of the new enemies we’ll fight, and what makes them distinct?

Yeah, there is a lot of new content. In terms of new enemies, we have a marksman enemy using a scoped bolt-action rifle, a new heavy soldier that, as opposed to the marksman, is very dangerous on short distances. There's also a new rocket shooting Drone, two versions of the Supersoldaten and we've made some nice updates to the important Commanders. In addition to this, we have two colorful antagonists and a couple of very different type of new enemies that I don't want to reveal too much about at this point. 

Similarly, what are some of the new weapons or tools that players have access to in The Old Blood? Any personal favorites?

We have a number of completely new weapons, like The Bombenschuss, a high precision bolt-action rifle, which can be upgraded with a scope, then we have The Kampfpistole, a handgun that fires grenades, and a highly effective and very entertaining shotgun called The Schockhammer.  We’ve also made updates and improvements to the weapons that were in The New Order. As a couple of examples, the handgun now has a silencer attached by default and the assault rifle has been updated to a heavier weapon with high fire rate – a personal favorite and great fun when dual-wielding.

In addition to this, we introduced a new melee weapon that also works as a tool for progression - the pipes. The two pipes can be used in a dual-wield mode for a light and fast melee attack, and for the use of progression, like wall-climbing. The nice thing with the pipes is that the player can, at any time, connect the two pipes together and create a single wield weapon with a heavier, but slower attack. The connected pipes can then be a very efficient tool as its powerful attack can break walls and crates in one single blow. The pipes are definitely one of my personal favorites as well. 

It’s been said that The Old Blood is shooting for a “B-movie” vibe. Can you explain what that means?

Our initial plan was to release a couple of DLC packs rather than the standalone game that The Old Blood is today. When we later made the decision to go for the standalone, two of our DLC’s were pretty far along in terms of design and story. As they used a consecutive storyline we decided to merge them together.  During that process I found one of those old sixties or seventies war-movie posters, the wide type, which I wrote some stuff on and sent over to our art director. He then turned this rough mock-up into a very nice cover art piece with a scene from Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves on one side and a scene from The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs on the other. The poster very much resembled one of those classic double feature horror b-movies. I think this is how the whole “shooting for a b-movie vibe” started. I would say however, that the actual game is more inspired by old war-movies such as Where Eagles Dare and Dirty Dozen even though there are definitely elements of the “b-movie vibe” in there as well. I think our marketing department has especially done an amazing job with communicating to the public what we wanted the game to be.  

In some ways, The Old Blood seems to be harkening back to some of the more supernatural themes and ideas of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Is that a fair statement? In what ways is The Old Blood like that 2001 game, and how does it stand apart?

Absolutely. The Old Blood is heavily inspired by Return to Castle Wolfenstein. The story is even based on the first two missions of the 2001 game, and while The Old Blood definitely stands on its own, players familiar with Return to Castle Wolfenstein will find more than a few nods to that old game, from environments to weapons and enemies. 

For more on Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, check out the game's trailer