Bethesda Announces New, Alternate-History Wolfenstein title For Holidays 2013

Bethesda Softworks is prepping a new title in the Wolfenstein series that pits the franchise's hero, B.J. Blazkowicz, against an alternate-history version of the post World War II era in which the Nazis, not the Allies, were ultimately victorious. BJ, apparently on ice for more than a decade, awakens in this nightmare version of the future -- a nightmare that the trailer refers to as a "rewriting", implying that BJ, at least, is aware of what's happened.

Some losses... are unthinkable

Wolfenstein always delved heavily into the Nazi fascination with the occult; the last games in the series relied upon it as a primary driver of their plot lines. Having killed Hitler in the third episode and dealt with virtually every high-ranking German thereafter, rewriting the entire war is virtually the only way to resurrect enough of the German High Command to win victory over a troop of determined Girl Scouts, much less the United States military.

The game is in development for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and next-generation consoles, which means it'll give us an interesting opportunity to cross-examine the capabilities of the new boxes from Microsoft and Sony against AMD's GCN on the desktop. Hopefully Bethesda will balance the classic gameplay of "Grab guns, kill Nazis, eat plates of food for health" with some more modern innovations without tipping the balance too far in either direction. The previous Wolfenstein games have been a bit of a mixed bag in that regard. Return To Castle Wolfenstein (2001) and Wolfenstein (2009) weren't bad games, but neither ignited the sales charts.

Bonus points if the game moves outside of Europe for its battles. The teaser trailer shows the skyline of New York in flames, which implies that the Nazis did more than achieve a Cold War style peace with themselves playing the part of the Soviet Union. This could open the door to some interesting destinations for game play far outside the normal turf of WW II-era Western Europe. Battling through the ruins of New York against Nazi robots? Sounds like a winning ticket to us. The current unveils only speak to a Western Europe front, but we're still hoping for more back story.

They're re-writing history -- but they forgot about me.

“We are excited to bring a new chapter of Wolfenstein to gamers everywhere,” said Jens Matthies, creative director at MachineGames. “As fans of the series, working on this game is an honor, and our team is driven to create an unforgettable action-adventure experience that will make FPS fans proud.” More details and possible gameplay footage are set to be released later this week. This will be the second outing for the id Tech 5 engine, which debuted with Rage in 2011, but hasn't won many projects thereafter.