MachineGames: Wolfenstein II Targeting 60FPS on Consoles; Completionists Are In For A Treat
We’ve previewed Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus twice now and already it has become one of my most anticipated games of this year. From fighting in a wheelchair to using your robot stilt legs to climb into windows, The New Colossus is certainly separating itself from the crowd of first person shooters.
During my latest hands-on session, I had the chance to speak to Arcade Berg, Senior Game Designer at MachineGames. Read on to find out how id Tech 6 helped make The New Colossus into a better game, how long the game might be and more! Also, he confirmed that MachineGames is still targeting 60FPS on consoles even in this sequel.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is known and appreciated for its wide tonal range. Can we expect to find the same in this sequel or will there be any significant differences in this regard?
Yeah. I mean, I think we hit the spot with the first two games. I’m not going to take credit for that but, you know, our writers, they just nailed it, people appreciated it. Based on The New Order and also The Old Blood, we kind of now know where we want Wolfenstein to be and also where the fans, the people playing, what they appreciate and what they want. So we are definitely keeping with that. You have the same kind of tone of, this is obviously a pretty grim story, and B.J, the main character, he is living a tough life! There’s also this humoristic undertone that we can use whenever we want to lighten the mood because we don’t want you to be sad playing our game.
A bit like a black comedy?
Exactly. We are keeping with that in this game. At times, I think the comedy is even better in this game. What has changed is that the last games were set in Europe, this time we are taking it to America and what I really like, and I mean, I’m a Swede, I’m a European, but what I love is seeing that image we all share of the 50s/60s Americana, the diner, that image, and we are doing the ‘What If’. What if the Nazis won, what if they got over there as well, how would the Nazi portray what we know? I think it’s a fun theme to explore. I think that’s the main difference, that we are just taking this, almost like a filter, this lens, and just applying it now on a very strong icon, the Americana.
Usually, any story, regardless of the medium (book, game, movie, TV show), gets bonus points when it’s capable of letting users empathize with the villain(s). Since your villains are Nazis, would you say that makes your job while writing much harder?
It’s a give and take on that one. What we kind of get almost for free is that no one minds killing Nazis. We’ve got that, we don’t need to build up this threat, we do build it but we don’t need to explain to you why you should kill these people. We have to remember with the what-if, you are playing fiction. Even the Nazi theme, we just took that and went with it. You are fighting… and I don’t want to sound pretentious but like a portrayal of this, a version of this. You are fighting an idea, if you want to go that far. It’s pretty easy for us to give you motivation, but what I think we’ve done is still put these powerful characters on the Nazi side. If you’ve played the previous games, but we had some really powerful characters in those. Irene Engel is back, she’s kinda pissed… It’s fun. You still have these people, these fictitious Nazi people that you get to hunt. Even if B.J is broken and beaten, he’s put through some pretty harsh shit, but he is still the hunter, very much. I think we’ve managed to put faces to the Nazi evil.
Do you expect the game to be longer than the previous installment in terms of average playtime?
That question is really tough. I honestly couldn’t give you a number. I’m not trying to be political here, but we have a bit of a different formula this time. The previous games were, let’s say fairly linear, you had the two timelines, there was a choice. This one, you’ve got this, so if you just want to play through the main beats you’ll have a fantastic rollercoaster of a journey. Now we are opening it up, you can revisit areas in different times with different threats. The area you played last time (Roswell) where you were walking the streets, listening to the conversations, you can go back to that area and fight the Nazi threat. There’s a lot of stuff like that, but it’s optional, we have optional missions. It really depends on how much you want to explore. There’s so much stuff to find. You also have the extra lore with stuff you can read, or if you are a collector or completionist, and you just want to go on a collectathon, there is so much stuff to find. Those guys are in for a treat, if you want to count that in hours. If you want just a joyride, yeah, I don’t know, it’s a really wide spectrum. It’s a big game! A solid, solid title.
Compared to The New Order, will Wolfenstein II feature larger environments as well as additional incentives to explore them?
Yes. Even the combat areas are bigger, just size-wise because we really want to give you different approaches and to do that we need space.
How did id Tech 6 empower MachineGames to make a better sequel?
Fidelity-wise, you saw. It looks amazing and runs amazingly. I will take no credit in the performance, tech-wise, but it’s smooth. Our folks at MachineGames have done a really good and that helps us. We can have more enemies on screen, on the maps if we want, so we have fewer restrictions. We can just do more of all it, that’s the thing.
Yeah, I’ve gone back to play The New Order and have noticed the big difference between the two engines.
I’m the same. I see this every day and I remember just a few months ago, I was like, “this game looks amazing but I’m sure The New Order looked like this”. Then I hit it up on YouTube and was like, “no!”. At the time, it was great, so obviously I thought it would be similar…
Are you targeting 60fps on consoles this time, too?
Will the enhanced consoles (PlayStation 4 Pro and/or Xbox One X) manage to run the game at native 4K?
All of that, honestly, I’m not the guy.
Would you say there will be a major graphics difference between these versions and Wolfenstein II running on a high-end PC?
They are all solid versions. PC being PC, but the console experience is up there.
Will the game support HDR displays and if so, on which platforms?
Dammit, again, I’m not the guy! Sorry.
Thank you for your time.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is scheduled to release on October 27th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A version of the game will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2018.