'Wolfenstein: The New Order' Is An Alternate Take On Killing Nazis

May 22, 2014

The Wolfenstein franchise has a long a storied history that goes all the way back to the beginning of the first-person shooter genre. Generally credited as the first (or at least one of the first) FPS games, Wolfenstein 3D introduced intrepid gamers to a whole new way to play video games and kill Nazis. At the helm of 3D was one of the most underrated characters in video game history, Office of Secret Actions agent William "B.J." Blazkowicz, who was bred to take down the Third Reich. Over the years, the Wolfenstein games have revisited Nazi Germany, and told some of the most fantastical stories about one of the most hated groups in the history of the world, with B.J. at the center of them all. In 2009, Blazkowicz was called to duty again in Wolfenstein, which was the follow up to 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein, a reboot to the original 3D game. In Wolfenstein, Blazkowicz was pitted against the worst of the Nazi party, therein continuing the overarching theme of the franchise. However, B.J.'s latest adventure, The New Order, changes things up quite a bit, by pushing the story of the Nazis 20 years into the future, and creating a universe where they won the war.

Developer: MachineGames
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

From a development perspective, The New Order is a fairly unique title, in that it's a sequel to a game that was made by a different studio, and published by a different publisher. In 2009, Raven Software and id (the original studio that created Wolfenstein) took the lead on the last release, and Activision published it. However, this time around, Swedish upstart, and subsidiary of ZeniMax Media (the same company that owns id), MachineGames got to take the reigns of this classic franchise. Many of the key members at MachineGames came from Starbreeze Studios, where they worked on some solid FPS games like Riddick and The Darkness. For their first project, MachineGames managed to create a worthy entry into the Wolfenstein franchise, one that should be enjoyed by both new and old fans.

Wolfenstein: The New Order opens during WWII, where B.J. and his team have set out to put an end to Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse, one of the Nazi's most feared agents of war. Things don't go exactly as planned, and Blazkowicz and some of his team are lucky to escape with their lives. However, during their daring departure, B.J. is struck in the back of the head with a piece of shrapnel, and ends up in a coma at a mental hospital for fourteen years. Luckily, he snaps out of it the day that the Nazis come to shut it down, and kill the family that has taken care of him in his time of need. In true soldier fashion, Blazkowicz steps up, and saves his nurse, Anya, and they barely escape with their lives. It's soon revealed that the Nazi's won the war, and now control the world, an idea that Blazkowicz can't fathom, so B.J. and Anya set out to find the resistance, and put an end to this blight on humanity.

If you're looking to get your fill of Nazi hunting in The New Order, you're going to need a PlayStation 3 or 4, an Xbox 360 or One, or a PC.

Wolfenstein has never really been known for its story. The games have always been acutely focused on B.J. Blazkowicz killing Nazis, and not much more. The New Order is different... much different. By taking Blazkowicz out of WWII, and putting him in a completely alternate reality, it opens the game up in so many ways. While it may be somewhat hard to believe that B.J. wakes out of coma, and is still a top-notch soldier right out of the gate, he's a character that players know, appreciate, and have a connection with. Ultimately, this game didn't need to be told through the eyes of Blazkowicz, but it's much better for it. The New Order seems to be the first game that really gives the character some depth, and instead of just being another American, hell-bent on ending the Nazi regime Blazkowicz seems like he's a more multilayered character. B.J. has friends, a love interest, and a deeper reason to take down the Nazis: this time around he's not just trying to win a war - he's trying to save the world.