Wolfenstein (2009 video game)
|Director(s)||Eric. C. Biessman|
|Engine||Modified id Tech 4
Havok (physics engine)
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Wolfenstein is a first-person shooter video game co-developed by Raven Software and Endrant Studios and published by Activision. It is the sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and uses a heavily modified id Tech 4 engine. The game was released in 2009: in North America on August 18, in Australia on August 19, and in Europe on August 21.
The story is set in the fictional town of Isenstadt during World War II, which the Nazis have taken complete control of in order to excavate rare Nachtsonne crystals necessary to access the "Black Sun" dimension. As the game progresses, happenings in Isenstadt become stranger (military patrols are replaced by supernatural creatures, etc.). Locations include the town's sewers, a tavern, a hospital, a farm, an underground mining facility, a church, the SS headquarters, a dig site and caverns, a cannery, a radio station, a paranormal base, a general's home, a castle, an airfield and a large zeppelin.
In an introduction sequence, special agent B.J. Blazkowicz steals a medallion from a general from the German battleship Tirpitz. Discovered and captured, he unwittingly unleashes the power of the medallion, which kills all his foes for him. Hijacking a plane from Tirpitz, he escapes and returns to the OSA headquarters. During a meeting there, he learns that the medallion needs crystals called Nachtsonne, mined only in Isenstadt, to make use of its full power. The Nazis have begun digging for crystals, led by a general named Victor Zetta. Blazkowicz is sent to Isenstadt, but his cover is blown by an unknown informant. He then meets up with agents from the Kreisau Circle, a resistance group dedicated to freeing Isenstadt from the Nazis, and with them, makes it to Isenstadt.
In Isenstadt, he meets the brothers Stephan and Anton Kriege, who run the Black Market where Blazkowicz can upgrade all of his weapons and powers. (He pays for upgrades with gold earned from missions or found scattered throughout the game.) He also meets the leader of the Kreisau Circle, a former schoolteacher named Caroline Becker. Becker sends Blazkowicz on a mission into a dig site, where he frees a young Russian named Sergei Kovlov. He also finds an exact copy of the medallion that he found on the Nazi warship, which Kovlov calls the Thule Medallion. Kovlov introduces Blazkowicz to the Golden Dawn, a group of scholars who specialize in the occult, led by Dr. Leonid Alexandrov. The youth also shows Blazkowicz how to use the Thule Medallion. With a crystal provided by Kovlov, Blazkowicz is able to enter the Veil, a barrier between the real world and a dimension known as the Black Sun. In the Veil the player is able to run faster, jump higher and walk through doors which have the Black Sun symbol. Using the Veil, he manages to escape. As Blazkowicz completes more missions, he gains new weapons and new defensive and offensive powers for the Thule Medallion. Eventually, he manages to kill General Zetta, who turns out to be a monster when viewed through the Veil. The Black Market, the Kreisau Circle, and the Golden Dawn then move to a new location in downtown Isenstadt to escape retaliation for Zetta's death.
Shortly after the move, Caroline Becker is captured and held in a nearby castle. Blazkowicz helps the Kreisau Circle stage a rescue mission. He confronts Zetta's replacement, Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse, who is eager for revenge after the events of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. During a struggle, Caroline is killed by Hans Grosse, Deathshead's henchman. Upon Blazkowicz's return to Isenstadt, Stephan Kriege informs him that he has killed his brother for being a mole and betraying both Blazkowicz and Caroline. Blazkowicz then finds out that a Nazi superweapon, powered by Black Sun energy, is about to be fired at the city from a zeppelin. He boards the airship, where he discovers that Dr. Alexandrov is also a traitor. Alexandrov's treachery is rewarded only by an execution at the hand of Hans Grosse. In order to prepare the weapon, Deathshead and Grosse enter the Black Sun through a portal that Nazi scientists had excavated and reassembled. Blazkowicz jumps in after them. In the Black Sun, he encounters Hans Grosse guarding the machine that powers Deathshead's superweapon. Grosse greets him in a mechanical suit outfitted with two chainguns (recreating his earlier appearance in Wolfenstein 3D), and a Thule Medallion identical to Blazkowicz's. Blazkowicz kills Grosse by jamming the Nachtsonne crystals from his medallion into Grosse's. He then destroys the machine, but Deathshead flees through the portal before B.J. can capture him. The explosion takes out both the portal and the zeppelin on the other side, effectively destroying all ways of accessing the Black Sun. In a post-credits cutscene, Deathshead is seen clambering out of the zeppelin wreckage, screaming in frustration.
Wolfenstein uses an improved version of id Software's id Tech 4 video game engine, the technology behind Doom 3 and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. The game was developed by Raven Software for Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The modifications to the game engine include depth of field effects, soft shadowing, post-processing effects, Havok physics, as well as the addition of a supernatural realm, called the Veil. While in the Veil the player has access to certain special abilities, such as the power to slow down time, to get around obstacles that exist in the real world, or even to be able to defeat enemies that have an otherwise impenetrable shield (similar to "Spirit Walk" from the previous id Tech 4 title Prey). The multiplayer part of Wolfenstein was developed by Endrant Studios. Wolfenstein is the only recent id Software game not planned to have a Linux port, with the person in charge of Linux ports at id Timothee Besset commenting that "It is unlikely the new Wolfenstein title is going to get a native Linux release. None of it was done in house, and I had no involvement in the project."
On the day of Wolfenstein 's release, the first PC patch was released to address several issues with the online multiplayer component. The multiplayer development studio, Endrant Studios, soon laid off some of its workforce after the completion of the development of Wolfenstein's multiplayer.
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Four promotional motion comics, each about three minutes long, were released. Each was based on a particular installment in the Wolfenstein series and served as a nostalgic reminder. The first one recreated Wolfenstein 3D 's escape from Castle Wolfenstein, the Hans Grosse killing and the final battle against Adolf Hitler. The second was based upon Wolfenstein 3D's prequel game Spear of Destiny, and recreated its final battle, in which B.J. fights the cybernetic Death Knight and the Angel of Death for control of the Spear. The third comic was based on Return to Castle Wolfenstein and recreated the battle with Olaric, the destruction of an experimental V2 rocket and later the final battle against Heinrich I. The fourth comic was based on the Wolfenstein's own cinematic introduction and shows B.J. infiltrating a Nazi battleship and stealing the first Thule medallion.
The game has scores of 71/100, 72/100 and 74/100 (on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, respectively) on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews". IGN gave the game a positive review, though said of it "...you can't help but wish that they developed the kernel of ideas in this game into something more. As it is, this new Wolfenstein comes off as an engaging, if otherwise forgettable, shooter".
The next chapter in the series Wolfenstein: The New Order was developed by MachineGames and published by Bethesda Softworks, and launched on May 20, 2014 in the US on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows platforms. The ninth installment takes place during the 1960s in an alternate history world where the Nazis won World War II. Players again assumed the role of Blazkowicz.
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