I’ll start this feature by answering the question straight away: Where the hell is Wolfenstein 3? Well, it’s on the way. Or, that is, as per Bethesda’s head of PR Pete Hines, who all the way back in an interview in 2018 said that the third entry in MachineGames’ Wolfenstein series “is going to happen.” Now, we’re talking third mainline game here, following on from 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order and 2017’s Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and not including expansions The Old Blood, Youngblood, itself a collaborative effort with Arkane Studios, or VR exclusive Cyberpilot.
However, news has been light since Pete’s confirmation that a third Wolfenstein game is incoming. To be fair though, the past four years have presented many a spanner in the works; the pandemic, of course, slowing game development pace down to a crawl, plus Microsoft’s 2021 purchase of Bethesda Softworks’ parent group ZeniMax Media – and with it, all of Bethesda’s subsidiary development studios – have conceivably pushed back any planned announcement of a new Wolfenstein game. Couple this with the potential for internal lukewarm motivation after the poor reception of Youngblood and Cyberpilot, then it’s up in the air if a new Wolfenstein game is on the near horizon at all. I’m not saying it isn’t, it’s just given all that’s happened we simply can’t know for sure.
Pete Hines has since reinstated his enthusiasm for a third Wolfenstein title though, this time in a 2021 interview in response to the uncertainty, although he fell short of outright confirming it was going to happen soon. He said of Wolfenstein: “we’ll have to wait till we get to the point of wanting to talk about it,” before adding “you can put me at the head of the list of people who want to see another Wolfenstein game.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not convinced by this statement. It feels inconclusive. I believe his affinity for the series is genuine, but it doesn’t scream like it’s a priority to me.
And, I mean, you can understand where I’m coming from. Bethesda has two highly anticipated titles in the works, namely Bethesda Game Studios’ massive intergalactic RPG Starfield, and Arkane Austin developed open world co-op shooter Redfall. Both these games have just had their release windows pushed back to 2023 despite already having been announced for this year though. Bethesda could of course be planning on shifting development of a new Wolfenstein game to another one of their studios. But moving development of Wolfenstein 3 to another studio wouldn’t make sense to me though.
Yes, Wolfenstein sits alongside Quake as a franchise credited for propelling first-person shooters into the world’s most popular video game genre in the 90s. But I think Swedish studio MachineGames has done a remarkable job of reimagining the Wolfenstein franchise into a Nazi-occupied United States, with an alternative timeline narrative punctuated by thrilling gunplay and formidable antagonists. Taking it away from them would do the next title in the series a disservice as there’s knowledge and expertise in MachineGames’ ranks that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
So, assuming we’re sticking with MachineGames for the development of Wolfenstein’s third entry, then this studio will need to grow big-time. And, as it happens, one look at the careers page on their website and we can see they’ve plenty of jobs advertised, with job descriptions specifically stating the studio is indeed looking to expand. A deeper look at some of the LinkedIn profiles of MachineGames employees offers us further glimmers of hope too. Senior game designers based at the studio’s headquarters in Uppsala, Sweden have specified in their job descriptions that they’re working on an unannounced title. So it stands to reason they’re working on unannounced game.
Perhaps they’re expanding their team to streamline the development of the next Wolfenstein? Makes sense to me.
If they are indeed working on a new title, then surely this must be the third Wolfenstein game. So, the next question is when are we going to receive an official announcement? Well, there are a couple of possibilities on the horizon. In E3’s absence once again Microsoft are hosting an Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase in the middle of June. Microsoft has used this event for its major announcements for a few years now, with this year’s show touted to feature titles from Xbox’s first-party game studios, including Bethesda, plus partners from around the world. Thing is though, Wolfenstein is amongst a glut of huge titles which I’m fans are clamouring for info on.
There’s the aforementioned Starfield, plus recently announced; Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, Everwild, I’m sure could do with an update. Forza Motorsport, whilst almost certain to be included, might even get a gameplay reveal. And maybe… just maybe The Elder Scrolls 6 will be revealed. Who knows? All I’m trying to say with this incessant name-dropping is that Wolfenstein 3 is up against some wildly popular franchises and considering its likely in early development – if in development at all – then keeping it away from this year’s showcase rather than risking a reveal being overshadowed by bigger titles seems the wiser choice.
There is Bethesda’s own QuakeCon coming up in August. It would make sense to me that if there is going to be an announcement then it’d be at this event. 2021’s event was somewhat light on big game reveals; Quake Enhanced was the only other standout announcement. Surely this year Bethesda will pull out all the stops now last year’s Microsoft takeover is complete.
Whilst MachineGames’ rebooted Wolfenstein series expansions weren’t as well received as The New Order and The New Colossus, there’s certainly appetite for a continuation of the narrative established in the first two games. Few FPS franchises have as strong an identity as Wolfenstein, with its themes of reclamation and hope in the face of evil coexisting with outlandishly blockbuster set pieces, all the while supported by a relatively old-school shooting design. Either way, I feel the time is right for shooting Nazis once again, so I’ll be eagerly awaiting news of a third game in the series to be announced.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.
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