Judging by MachineGames’ resume, a new installment of Wolfenstein seems inevitable, but what can we expect from the third game aside from the franchise’s usual staples (e.g., B.J. Blazkowicz, big guns, and lots and lots of dead Nazis)? A recent interview with the Swedish developer has shed some light into that.
Speaking with community manager Andre Carlos, John Jennings (Production Director), Fredrik Ljungdahl (Gameplay Director), and Jim Kjellin (Chief Technology Officer) discussed MachineGames’ history and what was coming next. At one point, Carlos brought up Wolfenstein: Youngblood and asked whether its cooperative multiplayer component would return in future games, and Ljungdahl hinted that it could definitely make a comeback.
“We love co-op games, so it was a great experience to bring co-op to the Wolfenstein universe with Youngblood,” Ljungdahl explained. “Designing for multiplayer is quite different compared to single-player games and it´s also a lot harder to test. Especially as we also made the game a lot less linear compared to what we are used to. The specially crafted events that we’ve been known to use in previous games are often based on the player’s location and progression and other sets of known ‘facts.’ These assumptions and frameworks don’t necessarily work in the co-op, nonlinear approach.”
“We learned a lot on Youngblood, and it would be fun to apply some of that knowledge to future games,” he admitted.
“Our first foray into multiplayer with Youngblood helped us learn a lot from both a gameplay and from a technical perspective,” Jennings added. “Understanding that ‘doing the technical learning at the same time as doing the gameplay learning’ may be too much of a challenge is possibly one of our biggest takeaways, and it’s one we won’t need to go through a second time in multiplayer development.”
MachineGames also teased that Wolfenstein III might be a bigger, more dynamic experience thanks to the advent of super-fast PCIe 4.0 SSDs, which have begun making their way into both PCs and the console space.
“One of the key items that’s coming in the immediate future is the general availability of really fast storage,” Kjellin acknowledged. “You’ve always been able to buy decently fast storage for your PC, but it will become standard in the next generation consoles.”
“This allows us to change how we think about game design. The historical issue of having to wait for loading to finish or artificially slowing the pacing before you can do major changes to the player experience will be a thing of the past.”
Jennings agreed with Kjellin, suggesting that MachineGames would no longer have to think about loading times. The speed of SSDs would also allow the team to do some pretty wild stuff from not only a technical, but narrative, standpoint.
“With these super fast SSDs, we don’t need to consider ways of entertaining the gamer while the levels load any longer!” Jennings excitingly said. “Allowing for bigger worlds and letting players jump around seamlessly within them are going to provide some exciting new experiences. I’m really looking forwards to that.”
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus brought B.J. Blazkowicz face to face with Hitler, and on the moon, no less. Could MachineGames be planning to top that by introducing a time-travel element into the franchise, allowing players to instantaneously jump Blazkowicz between different historical events?