Wolfenstein: The New Order, MachineGames' reimagining of id Software's military shooter, is more than just a regular first-person shooter, according to gameplay designer Andreas Öjerfors. It's also an action-adventure game.
Speaking to Polygon, Öjerfors said that the theme of Wolfenstein — that of a retro, sci-fi future set in the 1960s where the Nazis won World War II — offered the development team opportunities to explore larger-than-life political leaders, weird technology and strange experiments, so it embraced these elements and made the game a first-person action adventure game.
"In the adventure aspect ... players [will be taken] around the world to explore all of these different places [and] explore the realities of this new world where the Nazi have taken over the world," he said.
"So this is very much our own vision of what we think the setting is and should be for the future," Öjerfors explained. "So we started out by looking at what we thought Wolfenstein was. We think it was the intense immersive action. We think it is a David versus Goliath theme of being grassroots against the Nazi army and now the Nazi Global Empire."
Wolfenstein's gameplay will feature underwater settings, car chases and controlling Nazi war machines to break up gunfights and provide the element of adventure. The game will also feature retro-futuristic mechs that come in all forms, from a large dog-like robot to hovering sentries to humanoid Super Soldiers to hulking biped mechs. Cover is obviously your friend when taking on the mechs, but they can make quick work of eradicating the destructible environment. Robot armor is also destructible and you can see metal panels fly off one-by-one as each shot lands, exposing vulnerable parts underneath and sending plumes of oily grey smoke up. As Öjerfors explains, the Nazi technology and how they obtained it is a major component of the game's storyline.
As with other shooters, the enemy's AI was predictable, especially after clearing a section more than once. From what Polygon played from the demo, what was outstanding gameplay-wise, were the weapons, satisfying firefights and the mechanized designs. Played on the Xbox One, the game's controls were tight and the escalating weapon progression was pleasantly unexpected. Whilst playing, the shooter fatigue often experienced in generic shooters was not especially apparent, largely because the new weapons picked up in the environment and recovered from enemies provided a novel experience.
"The weapons are a really big part of who we are as a studio," Öjerfors said. "We've kind of taken a look at old school game design and we kind of decided that some of the things that were left behind that shouldn't have been left behind."
"So our weapons, for example, you don't just have as many weapons as you can find, you can also dual-wield almost every weapon," he said. "So you know, dual-wielding shotguns is just crazy carnage. So yeah, we kind of tried to combine the old and the new."
It felt great, and a little naughty, dual-wielding machine guns, especially since they felt like they had at least three times the heft and punch of other games' machine guns. Other weapons encountered included a metal cutting tool called the Lazerkraftwerk, a detachable gatling gun and more.
Read our feature for an in-depth look on the development of Wolfenstein: The New Order and our report about the studio's strive to find balance between old and new.
Wolfenstein: The New Order will be published by Bethesda Softworks this year on Windows PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.