Id Software worked on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
It turns out the famous developer behind Wolfenstein 3D hasn’t completely let go of the beloved series, which it used to kick-start the FPS genre.
Say the name id Software and you’ll be hard pressed trying to find a gamer that won’t smile. The studio pioneered the FPS, taking a pie-in-the-sky concept and turning it into the biggest genre in the industry. Id Software made Doom; remember that? And Quake. And then Quake III Arena, which laid the foundations for the eSports phenomenon. They even helped flesh out what was possible with open-world RPGs with Rage, and built the tech – id Tech – that has powered so many other great games.
The studio’s first FPS though, the one that put the genre on the map, was Wolfenstein 3D. The IP had actually been around since 1981, with two basic stealth-orientated action titles appearing ahead of id’s behemoth in 1992. Four titles would follow, before the series went dormant in 2009. It was then picked up by MachineGames and rebooted with Wolfenstein: The New Order in 2014, followed by The Old Blood expansion in 2015. Now a fully-fledged sequel – the middle title in a planned trilogy – lands on October 27 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. It’s called Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
MachineGames is owned by Bethesda Softworks, who also own id Software. With these sister studios existing under the same umbrella, I was curious as to whether the former had reached out to the latter at all. Did id Software still have involvement in the Wolfenstein series? I made sure to ask creative director Jen Matthies when I got a chance to interview him ahead of his new game’s release. After a fascinating conversation about the game's cinematography, I brought up id Software:
Did you ever shoot code for Wolfenstein II across to other Bethesda studios for feedback?
Yeah for sure, there is a lot of collaboration and feedback. Especially with id Software we have a lot of collaboration going on. They did a lot of environment art for this game, and vice versa, we did a lot of stuff for Doom. So there’s a lot of back and forth.
id Software is bringing Doom to Switch. It’s awesome that Wolfenstein is coming to Switch; how late in development was that choice made and what technical concessions have had to be made to get it working?
It’s been a fairly recent development. I’m not a technical person, so I can’t talk too much about any concessions, but Doom was the proof of concept. That version is working out really well and since we are on the same engine as Doom in id Tech 6, we expect The New Colossus on Switch to be on par with the Doom version.
Speaking of id Tech 6, as we’ve seen with Doom, the engine is VR capable, but Wolfenstein II plays so fast. Do you think the gameplay could fit VR and how far have you gone prototyping it?
We love VR, but it’s not something we have dug deep into. Almost always, problems like that are solvable, but it’s not something we have attempted to solve. We’ll see if something happens in the future.
The way that it works there at Bethesda, where you have Doom coming to VR and Elder Scrolls, is there a separate studio or team that works on VR ports?
No, if we did something VR related with Wolfenstein it would be done here at MachineGames. But we don’t have any firm plans in that direction, it’s just speculation.
Note: If you’re a fan of id Software, find out what the studio told us about the future of Hexen, Heretic and Commander Keen.