Interviews// id Software's Peter Sokal and Steve Nix on Wolfenstein

Posted 5 Jun 2009 12:40 by
Games: Wolfenstein
Peter Sokal and Steve Nix
Peter Sokal and Steve Nix
It wouldn't be crazy to look twice at a game like Wolfenstein. The history of the franchise speaks for itself - 1992's Wolfenstein 3D will be forever known as the crazy, cartoony, Robot-Hitler-starring game that propelled the first person shooter into one of the most popular genres in the video games market.

After some successful sequels, Raven Software are now charged with bringing Nazi-beating secret agent B.J. Blazkowicz back to our monitors as he attempts to stop the Third Reich from using the powers of the strange occult force known as Black Sun. In doing so, our hero discovers 'veil powers' which allow him to slip between one world and the next. But don't worry; he still has his Tesla Cannon.

SPOnG sat down to chat with id Software's Peter Sokal and Steve Nix to talk about how the game has progressed, the different Veil powers given to B.J. and what you can do if you're surrounded by MG turrets.

SPOnG: We've had some new veil powers revealed today, in the Sight and Shield powers. We already know about the 'Mire' power that can slow down time; can you tell us a bit more about the other two?

Peter Sokal: Well, Veil Sight is the first power you get in the game; it allows BJ to enter the veil where enemies will stand out in dark areas. You'll also see your grenade trails before you throw them so you can get more accuracy that way. When you get to upgrade that power later on you then get to see enemies through certain structures, so if anyone's hiding behind cover you'll be able to know.

The other power, Shield, is the third veil power you get in the game. It basically puts a barrier up in front of B.J. that absorbs enemy fire, and with the upgrades you get to do slightly different things. The bullets will bounce back at the enemies, and you can use it as a makeshift weapon in that respect. So when you have max upgrades of these veil powers, you'll be able to just jump into a room full of bad guys and use each power to perform some cool moves.

Steve Nix: There are about a handful of different veil powers, including those two and a power that improves the strength of your firepower, and we've set them all to be incrementally upgraded to suit the changing needs of the difficulty curve. So when you start you'll only be able to shoot through cardboard boxes, but later on your bullets can go right through stone pillars and things.

Peter Sokal: You can also use the veil powers in combination, so if you're able to shoot through a pillar you can use Veil Sight to see a guy standing behind it, which will allow you to line up your shot. There's a lot of combination and experimentation that can be had with these abilities.

SPOnG: Wolfenstein obviously has a lot of history. Is there a pressure on you guys to try and recreate the magic that the old PC games had, or make this new iteration live up to past titles? Has that pressure limited you on what you could do here?

Steve Nix: Ultimately, Wolfenstein is a core franchise and id (Software) and Raven both have a lot of fans out there, so we needed to get it right and not screw it up. At the end of the day that pressure wasn't limiting to us, but we did have to be very careful with everything we did.
Wolfenstein is all about first person action-based shooting and so there is an expectation there - the weapons have to feel great, the enemies have to feel great to kill and seem intelligent. We couldn't ruin that.

At the same time however, we wanted to do something new and interesting with the franchise, so the veil powers aren't a replacement for the first person shooting mechanics but they're an enhancement. And B.J.'s not a magician or an Indiana Jones type, he's only reluctantly using the veil powers because the Nazis are trying to get to the source of the Black Sun where they're trying to create a weapon of ultimate destruction. And the veil is this world that lies between our reality and the Black Sun. It also allows BJ to have these powers.
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Games: Wolfenstein

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Ryan 5 Jun 2009 18:18
Hi, can't wait for this game, where was Id at E3 this year?
Adrian 9 Jun 2009 13:44
Good interview. One of the better ones for Wolfenstein
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Jack 19 Jun 2009 05:57
You have made mistakes in Id guys' names in this article. Peter Sokal transforms to Peter Sogel, Steve Nix to Steve Nixl. You have to fix it.
tyrion 19 Jun 2009 07:37
Jack wrote:
You have made mistakes in Id guys' names in this article. Peter Sokal transforms to Peter Sogel, Steve Nix to Steve Nixl. You have to fix it.

Hi Jack,
Thanks for the correction, I've made the fixes.

I've also shot the proofreading imp responsible. You have to keep them in line you know.
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