I was absolutely floored by Wolfenstein: The New Order during my hands-on time with it at E3. You can expect an impressions article for that soon, but in meantime, this interview between me and Machine Games gameplay designer Sabine Roesgren will hopefully tide you over.
Q: In terms of continuity, is this related to any of the previous games, like Return to Castle Wolfenstein or the 2009 reboot? Is it just based off the original game?
A: We’re trying to keep the storyline in the same vein as the old ones, in terms of continuity. But we have an alternate history setting. So we’re trying to differentiate in that way. We’re creating our own game, although we’re based in a universe that has a lot of elements from Wolfenstein 3D, like BJ’s character design. So when you’re playing, you can relate back to that game as well.
Q: In terms of paranormal elements, will we see any of that return? Previous Wolfenstein games had zombies, ghosts and things of that nature. I didn’t see any in this demo, but will anything supernatural appear later on?
A: Actually, we’re leaning more towards sci-fi. In the story, the Nazis have found this new technology, and with this, they have created war robots and crazy weapons and such, which you saw in the demo. So yeah, we’re leaning more towards a sci-fi aesthetic.
Q: From what I understand, this is single-player only, right?
A: That is correct.
Q: No co-op either?
A: No. Machine Games is really focused on making immersive single-player experiences. If you’ve heard of Starbreeze Studios, which many of our people were from, they made great campaigns with Riddick and The Darkness. We’re just trying to do what we do best and create the best experience we can by doing single-player.
Q: Are there any other games or films that The New Order is inspired by? I actually felt a bit of Dishonored in their a bit, in terms of the oppressive regime motif.
A: In terms of inspiration, I would say Inglourious Basterds is a big one. We’re trying to have some dark humor in it, and of course, it’s about Nazis. There you have it. *laughs*
Q: I noticed the use of splitscreen storytelling in the cutscenes. I really like this, since it helps you get attached to your support characters. You actually see them and their reactions rather than just hearing their voice. Are you going to use this as a major storytelling device throughout the campaign?
A: Definitely. We’re really focused on storytelling, which you’d see if you played The Darkness and Riddick. It’s definitely a Machine Games thing.
Q: Do you have any idea how long the game will be?
A: I can’t really say, in terms of a specific number. Sorry.
Q: I love how you brought back exploration. In the 2009 Wolfenstein, I didn’t feel like exploring the drab open world to find money for negligible upgrades and such. But here, there’s an immediate reward to exploring, since you find useful health, ammo and armor pickups. Are you going to emphasize exploration throughout the game?
A: Yeah. We’re really focused on bringing back old-school with a modern twist. You’ll be forced to explore, and to find items to help you out. The game is pretty hard, I bet you noticed when you played it.
Q: Yeah. Even the difficulty levels are back, such as “Don’t Hurt Me”, “Bring It On” and so on.
A: Yup. Exactly. There’s something for everyone. On the standard difficulty setting, which is what most players will probably do, the game will be challenging but fair.