A year after it was first teased at E3 2016, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus has been confirmed as being very much A Thing. Not only that, but it's A Very Big, Clever, And Exciting Thing at that. How do we know? We've pored over the reveal trailer many times over, we've analysed every detail, and - most importantly of all - we've played it.
We'll be updating this article with each and every important bit of new information you need between now and the game's release date on October 27, 2017, but for now, here's everything we currently have. Brace yourself. What we currently have looks really, really good.
- Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus release date: October 27, 2017
- Formats: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
- Developer: MachineGames
- Price: TBA, likely $59.99 / £49.99
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus release date will let you dismember Nazis really quite soon
Yep, in a manner akin to its Fallout 4 announcement, Bethesda has revealed Wolfenstein 2 with a very short turn-around time. The game will be released on October 27, 2017, on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One. Say what you like about the number of new games at Bethesda’s E3 press conference this year, but the fact that they’re all out this year makes for a very welcome change to the usual post-show trickle out. The only slight concern is that it'll release on the same day as Assassin's Creed Origins AND Super Mario Odyssey - two of the biggest games of the year.
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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus trailer delivers world-building and sweet, sweet destruction
An eight-minute epic, starting with a (highly authentic) mock-up of a Nazi-influenced, live-action Lassie episode, and ending with an American resistance fighter dropping acid and talking to a small, psychedelic, 2D cartoon chameleon, the Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus trailer covers the entire gamut of emotion, from outright hilarity to deeply affecting, downbeat human drama. And Nazi-killing. Nazi-killing is an emotion.
A perfect representation of MachineGames' new alt-history Wolfenstein universe, then? Pretty much. But this time, things are scaling up all over. The battle against Nazi occupation has moved to early ‘60s America. The German war machine has taken over every aspect of American life, from TV, to education, to casual, broad-daylight chats with fully-robed KKK members in the streets. Hero BJ Blazkowicz is down, but not out, recovering from his injury at the end of the first game on a hidden rebel submarine, before being accosted by a vast Nazi search force. He’s crippled, and he’s staggeringly outnumbered, but boy is he going to make it to the mainland and build a resistance anyway. And he’s starting in New Orleans.
Looks like Mafia 3 might not be the only current-gen game to explore race relations via the lens of the 1960s South, then. Maybe expect a bit less sober, historical commentary this time, though. Although that said, Wolfenstein 2 still packs a ton of heavy, emotional drama into the carnage, just as the first game did. Speaking of which…
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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus’ gameplay is as fast and brutal, even with BJ in a wheelchair
We played an early level at E3 2017, and that early level is good. Depicting BJ’s escape from the Nazi-inundated sub, it’s a tight, pacey run through the boat’s warren-like corridors and rooms, where architecture stealth, and cunning tactical smarts combine beautifully with the noble art of Blowing Up Bad-Guys Real Messy Like.
Actually, it’s not a run at all, as the newly-revived BJ can’t even walk at this point. Instead, he has to negotiate the entire level on wheels, his movement style slightly tweaked to downgrade strafing in exchange for nippy acceleration and a smaller visible profile. Also, new melee attacks. You are going to shoot a lot of Nazis in the gut before smashing their faces in on your wheels. This we can guarantee.
There are new spins elsewhere, too. You’ll have to negotiate and rewire machinery, conveyor belts, and shifting platforms in order to make the sub wheelchair-accessible. You’ll have microwave field emitters to play with strategically, in order to lure out and take down patrolling soldiers in the explodiest game of cat-and-mouse you ever did see. And there’s plenty more besides. You can read the full run-down in our hands-on from the show. But if this level of creative wit is Wolfenstein 2’s starting point, then the later-game potential is unfathomable.
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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus characters includes a changed BJ Blazkowicz
Clearly Blazko is up for taking not one iota more shit from Nazis than usual (ie. his agreed shit-taking quota will be ‘zero shit’), but things are moving on for him. He and Anya now have twins on the way, making for a really, really good reason to kick every last Nazi out of the US (as well as providing the stimulus for the E3 demo’s most affecting scene). But his perambulation issue isn’t dealt with by the end of the demo either, and that raises some questions. The power-armour we see him using throughout the trailer. Is that going to be a fixture throughout the game? Is that going to be how he regains the ability to walk? And if so, what other powers will it give him?
Or is there a more extreme solution? Notice that shot later on, when BJ seems to have some kind of metal strap around his neck? Compare that to the trailer’s opening, in-game shot, which features a surgically spliced monkey-cat. That monkey-cat has its divergent head and body offerings bridged by a very similar strap indeed. Are we looking at recovery-by-head-transplant? We might just well be.
Beyond the potential of a whole new below-neck physicality, we've also seen that BJ will be able to custom dual-wield this time around - so he'll be able to use, say a shotgun and an assault rifle at the same time, rather than just two of one type - and ride the mechanical Panzerhund robo-dogs. Let's face it, Blazko could rip the Reich in half with his bear hands, so this is going to be positively leisurely*...
*It will almost definitely not be leisurely.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus pre-order Collectors Edition includes a brilliant bonus
The guys at MachineGames take their world-building seriously, and that extends to the Collector's Edition of the game. You can grab a copy of the game along with this Terror Billy action figure (Terror Billy is the name Nazi propaganda agents give BJ in the world) for around $99. Sure, it's maybe not something you'd put on the mantlepiece, but it's a cool piece of games merch nonetheless. Terror Billy actually comes with a variety of guns which you can pose him with, and a bomber jacket if you want to change his look. And yes, one of those weapons is a hatchet.
Grab the Wolfenstein 2: New Colossus Collectors Edition right here for $99.99 (in the US).
Grab the Wolfenstein 2: New Colossus Collectors Edition right here for £89.99 (in the UK).