Recently I got the chance to speak with Peter Sokal, Community Manager of id software about the pending latest chapter in the Castle Wolfenstein series. I want to thank Peter for answering our questions and Robert at Activision for arranging the interview.
OCMS: What is the background and setting for the game?
PS: In Wolfenstein, you play as B.J. Blazkowicz, an elite agent for the Office of Secret Actions (OSA).
The story in Wolfenstein takes place just after the events of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and the Nazis are back. Upon investigating and researching the dark occult, they discover an energy source known as the Black Sun. To access the Black Sun, the Nazis must first find a way through a realm known as the Veil, which leaks energy from the Black Sun into our reality. They believe that they can utilize this energy to create weapons and improve their army. B.J. learns that the crystals used to take advantage of the Black Sun’s power are located in one city in the world, a fictional city in Germany called Isenstadt. B.J. is sent there to discover what the Nazis are up to, and try and put a stop to it.
OCMS: What are some of the locales gamers will see in the game?
PS: Gamers will come across a myriad of locations within Wolfenstein. Since the game isn’t centered around being historically factual, it allowed us to come up with tons of cool, never before seen locations, that gamers will get to experience. Some examples include a mysterious Digsite and an underground Nazi lab. There are a variety of locations in the game that keep the experience fresh and exciting.
Additionally, the Veil will change the way these locales look and feel, as the Veil is a bridge between reality and the supernatural. Essentially, it’s a mysterious and deadly alternative dimension filled with strange creatures and unique powers. Every time players enter the Veil they will be able to experience its effects – and these have never been seen before in the Wolfenstein franchise.
OCMS: What are some of the weapons we will see and will there be a BFG style weapon and flamethrowers?
PS: In addition to an array of conventional weapons, from the 98K rifle and MP43 assault rifle to the flamethrower, gamers will unlock the power of a dark, parallel dimension and utilize the Nazis’ own occult experiments, perverted science, and otherworldly weaponry, against them, paranormal forces, and superhuman creatures. The Nazis are using energy from the Veil to enhance their weaponry, and B.J. will get a chance to give them a taste of their own medicine. A great example of this is the Particle Cannon. Powered by Veil energy, it destroys cover and turns enemies into ash. There are more cool weapons that players will be able to use throughout the game, but we will be talking about later. Also, something that is crucial to the weaponry in the game is the upgrade system. Treasure is a huge part of the Wolfenstein franchise and now gamers will be able to use the treasure they find in the game to upgrade all of their (weapons and veil powers) giving BJ the proper equipment to kick Nazi ass.
OCMS: Will vehicles be used in the game?
PS: B.J. is a one-man army that is called in to turn the tide of battle. While the Nazi’s will need newer and bigger weapons and vehicles to defeat him, B.J. is comfortable with his own armory.
OCMS: What forms of multiplay does the game include and will the be co-op play?
PS: We are building on what made the multiplayer in Return to Castle Wolfenstein such a fantastic experience. We’ve also incorporated the Veil, which adds an exciting new element to the multiplayer game.
Co-op was discussed, but in the end we determined that Wolfenstein is the story of B.J. Blazkowicz fighting against the Nazis and it didn’t make sense in terms of the story to have two of him running around.
OCMS: What engine is the game using and what are some of the new features it will offer gamers?
PS: Wolfenstein is using idTech 4, but with a ton of enhancements.
Raven knew at the beginning of development that they wanted to make sure that we stayed competitive in the marketplace and they also had a great experience working with idTech in the past which means they knew the ins and outs of the technology. Additionally, they added some great tech changes that make the game look modern and keep all the bells and whistles that you would expect for a next-gen game. They pretty much re-wrote or re-worked every system in the technology. They started with a new lighting system, called deferred shading, that allows them to create realistic lighting and soft shadows. They added a system of post processing effects that let us do cool things like depth of field, overbloom, motion blur, full screen desaturation and distortions. They added Havok physics to really help the world come alive and shine with tons of shrapnel, chunks and destructible pieces. One of the biggest additions was the creation of thier streaming system. This system lets them load and unload the assets around the player and allows us to have continuous, highly detailed environments throughout the entire game. It’s crazy when you look around at all of the detailed models, textures and enemies that you’ll find in the game.
On the next page Peter tells us about the A.I., plot, release date, and more…