The release of Wolfenstein 3D was a seminal moment for me as a gamer. I was young, and my family had just recently purchased our first computer. As they struggled with getting early Word software to do what they wanted, and wasted reams of paper setting up dot matrix printers they could hardly understand, I immediately dove into LucasArts' Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It came with the computer.
It wasn't long after that I found myself with a copy of Wolfenstein 3D. I can only imagine I saw its iconic cover art, and -at the time- screens of highly detailed Nazi's getting blown away in a full spectrum of color, and decided not to rest until it was in my little hands. Hours upon hours were spent creeping throughout Castle Wolfenstein after that, and then more later when Spear of Destiny was released.
Having just gone back to the game during a recent Wayback Wednesday, I can report that the title still holds up. Though I do recommend the XBLA version over the Steam offering. And now that Wolfenstein: The New Order has been announced, I'm excited but a little concerned as well. Raven Software's 2009 Wolfenstein did fairly well critically -though poorly commercially- and I can't help but feel that the essence of what made Wolfenstein so great was only partially touched upon in that title.
Wolfenstein: The New Order might be a chance to correct those mistakes, and bring back some of the Wolfenstein 3D magic. So without further exposition, here are my recommendations for the next iteration.
Why so serious?
Nazis were evil. We all know that. For a good decade they were the most evil -most stylish- motherfuckers on the planet. Doing the evil-dark Nazi thing is overdone and expected. I say, make the new Nazis ludicrous characters. Make them silly. We don't need to show them as all-powerful demons to recognize their horror. In fact, the best way to deflate them is to make fun of them. I want the Nazi characters to be the bumbling children of Dr. Evil that, for whatever reason, have been able to create an army. Want to make it dark? Fine. Then get all Iron Sky with the silliness. In contrast make B.J. Blazkowicz a rock of vengeance coming down upon them like a great hammer onto a whimpering anvil. And when that hammer falls...I want sparks.
Make the Nazis fun to kill
People are worried about the robots in The New Order. Don't. In Wolfenstein 3D, Hitler's first form was in a mech suit. Once you blew that away you cold attack his creamy Hitler center and finish the game. So there is precedence. And if Binary Domain taught us anything it's that killing robots can be awesome. The secret is feedback. Robots should break into pieces when you shoot them. Robot arms and legs should be flying throughout the halls of Castle Wolfenstein. As is custom, shooting off a robots head should make it fly into a rage, attacking anything around it. Shooting off its legs should render it into crawling menace.
And while this is all well and good for robots, this should be extended to the human Nazi's as well. You know what I'm saying? Bring me the damage model from Solider of Fortune 2 and add Kill Bill blood fountains,then put it all together into a bristling soup that overflows its brine until I, B.J. Blazkowicz, becomes bathed in a red fountain of screeching glory. Imagine it. Nazi arms and legs flying as robot pieces explode. Ribbons of flesh intermingled with sparks and fire as the dreaded halls of Wolfenstein become painted with the blood and oil of my enemies. An orgy of violence.
Bring back wall secrets
You can take The Veil and shove it up your ass. I want to press walls...every wall...all the walls looking for secrets. Why? Payout. Putting on special night-time-demon-batman vision to find holes and trinkets is a terrible way to do secrets. And why would the Nazis do it like that? No, ask any historian and they will tell you that according to HISTORY Nazis have a wall fetish, and so like to put secret chambers behind walls. This is PROVEN FACT and there is nothing you can say which will convince me otherwise.
Plus, it feels good to run along a wall pressing the use button over and over again until you hear that recognizable click, and the wall slowly moves to reveal its treasure. This is honestly the most satisfying thing in the world. Which brings me too....
Bring back treasure
Hey developers! Guess what!? You're making a VIDEO GAME! It doesn't always have to make sense. Sure B.J. Blazkowicz is wearing nothing but a tattered prison uniform, and has been undergoing the worst of Nazi torture for a year, but that's absolutely no reason he shouldn't be able to haul 3 Tons of gold from Castle Wolfenstein anyway. And what a slap in the face! Not only are you killing all the Nazis in an entire death camp, you're also recovering all the gold they stole, which is why when you collect enough of it Yahweh grants you another life.
B.J. Blazkowicz is not a magic man
Unless I put in a GOD code (which better be in there too) BJ is not magic. He's an angry man, a powerful man, but he's not magic so don't give him powers. Don't give him magic-nighttime-demon-batman vision. Don't make it so he can lift things with his mind. Don't let him fly. Just let him be a badass who's a good shot and can hold 5000 rounds of ammunition and 3 Tons of gold.
Don't overcomplicate it
Listen, I know we're all under a lot of pressure to make a movie instead of a video game. I know that you all have grand ideas about occult powers, and rifts, and space-ghosts or whatever the hell else you people come up with in your meetings. But this is Wolfenstein. You don't need any of that shit. You ever play Serious Sam? Painkiller? Good. Now take that idea, put it in a castle and add Nazis, and the other ideas you find in this article. BAM! You're done. We don't need different characters. B.J. Blazkowicz does not have a love interest...or a radio where he's talking to other dudes with bigger chins. We don't need galactic space rift zombie Nazis that have powers or can suck out your heart with their pinky finger. We need Nazis, Robot Nazis, secrets, treasure, the castle and guns. And let's be honest, even Spear of Destiny got a little dumb toward the end.
Weird guns are stupid
Knife, pistol, machine gun, chaingun, rocket launcher. Let me repeat that.
- machine gun,
- rocket launcher.
See, nice and clean. Real weapons that a guy coming out of a jail cell can use. We don't need special magic guns that turn people into dust that you can then snort for power. We don't need magic crystals, staffs, amulets, ray guns, eye patch lasers or anything that shoots smoke or goo. I'm not even going to allow you a flamethrower because I'm a hard ass. Just normal guns. If it's anything you think might require a manual, it's too complicated to be in the game. Believe it or not, weird magical/tech like guns are dumb and no one really likes them. If they say they do then they are lying, will probably go to hell and never be right with the Lord Jesus.
Except for the Cerebral Bore. That thing was awesome.
You kill Hitler at the end
This is important. At the end of the game the final boss is Hitler. End. Of. Story. No debate. You kill Hitler at the end. I don't care if he's been dead for 20 years and you have to fight a Weekend at Bernie's version of him as he's worked like a marionette by two big robots. It's Hitler and you fight him. This is a Nazi game right? A Wolfenstein game? Then you fight Hitler because everyone wants to kill Hitler. The Nazi's wanted to kill Hitler. Hell, at the end of World War II even HITLER wanted to kill HITLER. So we're going to kill Hitler too. And after you kill Hitler the game shows a slow motion recap of you killing Hitler. Because the only thing better than killing Hitler, is watching yourself killing Hitler in slow motion.