Bethesda took a risk when it decided to revitalize the Wolfenstein brand last year with MachineGames entry The New Order. Previously, the franchise was home to a series of poorly received sequels and reboots as it attempted to distinguish itself from more popular and mainstream first person shooters. But fortune favors the bold, and The New Order proved to be a fan-favorite and went on to become one of Game Rant’s favorite games of 2014.
It’s with no surprise, given the warm reception the alternative history FPS received, that a follow-up entry would be announced, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. This prequel remains focused on B.J. Blazkowicz and his desire to stop Nazis utilizing the occult to further their agenda. During this adventure, B.J., and players, will venture back into Castle Wolfenstein and enter the city of Wulfburg to stop a dark and ancient power.
During Pax East, Bethesda showcased twenty minutes of in-game footage of The Old Blood. The movement, arsenal and HUD should be instantly familiar to players of The New Order as this game is created within the same engine – just like First Light was built upon inFamous: Second Son.
What will be new to players, is the enemy style. Instead of reusing the assets from The New Order, the Nazi forces are revamped to remain truer to their World War II likenesses, as this entry is set before they become the sole superpower.
Another new feature introduced is B.J.’s lead pipe, which offers an improved melee attack that can dispatch enhanced soldiers or double as a traversal tool. With it, BJ can slam the pipe into walls and reach greater heights.
The weapon selection has also expanded, including a bolt action rifle, sawed off shotgun and pistol that is a mini-rocket launcher. Still, old favorites and duel wielding weapons remain an option for those with their favorite The New Order loadouts.
During the gameplay footage, developers point out that this game is new-player friendly but still contains subtle references to previous entries for long time fans. This mentality, along with the low $20 entry point, can ease players into a franchise that would otherwise seem intimidating. By releasing this as a standalone experience instead of a DLC bundle, Bethesda is expanding their reach and will expose a new wave of gamers to their brand.
As the development time and budget for AAA games expands, and players accumulate a backlog of games, developers, such as Ubisofit with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, are seeing a positive reception to these standalone adventures. Bethesda hopes that their good fortune continues when The Old Blood releases on May 5.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood releases May 5, 2014 as a digital download for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.