Over the years, Machine Games has done magic with its Wolfenstein games. Instead of offering a package that balances single player, co-op and multiplayer, it instead remains laser-focused on just single player, and telling the magnificent story of B.J. Blazkowicz.
And that might be a tough sell for some publishers, but not Bethesda. In fact, in a recent interview with GamesBeat, the series’ creative director, Jens Matthies, believes that the games couldn’t have made under anyone else but Bethesda.
“I don’t think there’s really anything alike in the games we’re making,” noted Matthies. “They’re first-person shooters, fundamentally, but in terms of the vibe and the twists and turns of the story beats – basically, I don’t think any other publisher would greenlight these projects.”
We are starting to see less games focused on a single-player experience, but Bethesda remains devoted to them, with titles like Dishonored 2, Doom and Prey proving to be worthwhile experiences to solo fans.
Matthies is pleased with the route that Wolfenstein II ended up taking, in hindsight. “I’m extremely happy about the reception it’s received, which I think is especially rewarding for me, because it’s going to some pretty extreme places. It’s very gratifying as a creator to have such universal acclaim for the game, because it’s quite controversial in many ways, and that can be polarizing. I’m happy that people get what the game is doing.
“In terms of production it was the first time we shipped a game on schedule. First time in 20 years that’s happened with a full-price game. The Old Blood we also shipped on schedule, but it wasn’t quite on the same level of ambition. That is also extremely rewarding, when you have a sense that you’ve maybe finally cracked that puzzle.”
He also doesn’t regret the storytelling route the series has taken. “But that’s what makes it fun. You want to be there on the edge and trying new stuff that people haven’t done. Then you can only do the best you can and cross your fingers that it will work. Most people seemed to get it.”1comments
As far as if any other publisher would make such a move, it really depends. Even though games, again, work more as rounded-out packages, some publishers are working more towards involving stories with games as well. Case in point – Far Cry 5, and the way you push back against a doomsday cult.
But Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is all about its involving story, and you can check it out now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. It’s also releasing for the Nintendo Switch this summer, and if you’re headed to PAX East in Boston next week, you can get your hands on it during Bethesda’s community day event.