Taking what is essentially the big daddy of first person shooters and modernizing it successfully is a daunting task, but it’s one that MachineGames have been up to. After 2017’s incredible Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus though, they’re not jumping straight to the next numbered sequel. Bringing the gap between 2 and 3 is Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and it’s changing things up a little bit. With not long left before the game’s in all our hands, in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at fifteen important details you should know about it.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Youngblood serves as the direct narrative sequel to The New Colossus, but there’s a pretty significant time jump involved, taking place in 1980, nineteen years after William B.J. Blazcowicz and co successfully set off a revolution in America. BJ, it turns out, has gone missing, and it falls to his and Anya’s twin daughters – Jessica and Sophia Blazkowicz, the dual protagonists of Youngblood – to track him down and bring him back.
Interestingly enough, the developers have noted that due to the game’s non-linear structure and more open-ended nature (more on these in a bit), the game is going to be a bit lighter on story (and also be lighter in tone).
After crossing the pond in The New Colossus, Wolfenstein is going back to Europe with Youngblood. Jess and Soph’s search for their father leads them to Paris, with the city being occupied and ruled over by the Nazi regime. It falls to the two sisters to use all the training they have received from their father to fight with the French Resistance against the Reich, while also looking for their father in an effort to bring him back home. Though the limelight is very much going to be on Jess and Soph, familiar faces from previous entries, such as Grace and Anya (and BJ, at least for a little bit, judging by recent footage) will be in the game as well.
With Jess and Soph both being the two central protagonists, Wolfenstein Youngblood allows players to play through the entirety of its campaign co-operatively- that, in fact, is very much the main hook here. That said, though co-op is a huge focus this time around, sadly, split-screen co-op isn’t going to be supported.
For those who want another single player romp, there’s no reason to fret. Though Youngblood puts a great deal of emphasis on co-op, players can play through all of it solo if they wish to do so. If you play it solo, the other sister – whichever one you’re not controlling – will be AI-controlled.
Here’s another way Arkane’s influence is changing things for Wolfenstein. Rather than being a linear trek from one level to the next, Youngblood will be a lot more open-ended even in how players progress through it, with players having the option to tackle its missions in whatever order they please. How that will affect the narrative and its flow is something that remains to be seen, but we’re hoping the game will be able to strike the right balance.
MachineGames have been the custodians of the Wolfenstein franchise since 2014’s The New Order, and though they’re still developing Youngblood, they’re not the only ones working on it. Interestingly enough, the game is also being co-developed by Arkane Studios, known for their Dishonored games and the 2017 Prey reboot.
Arkane’s influences are going to be very apparent in Youngblood, it seems. Rather than featuring linear (or semi-linear) levels the way Wolfenstein games usually do, the developers have confirmed that Youngblood’s level design is going to be much more open ended, similar to what you would expect to see in a Dishonored game. The whole city of Paris, in fact, is pretty much going to be open to players. During missions, players will also have more freedom in deciding how they want to approach situations and combat encounters.
Not only is Youngblood the most open-ended Wolfenstein game to date, it is also the most content-rich entry in the series. The developers have confirmed that the game boasts of roughly 25 to 30 hours of content, including all the main missions, side missions, and all other optional activities. As per the developers, the game’s non-linearity and more open ended nature allowed them to include a lot more activities than they usually have been able to do in Wolfenstein titles.
Keeping in line with the game’s co-op core, Wolfenstein: Youngblood’s combat is also going to feature a lot of tag-team action. Teamwork between both sisters will play into gunplay quite a bit. For instance, the two can work together during combat for tag team manoeuvres or attacks to inflict extra damage or take out enemies together. Some weapons, like the Tesla Gun (which, by the way, is one of the new weapons being introduced in Youngblood), can even be wielded by both characters together.
BASE OF OPERATIONS
We’ve spoken about how the game is set in Paris, and how he city is going to function a lot like an open hub area. Within that hub area, players are also going to have a base of operations to call home. The secret base, hidden in the Parisian Catacombs, will serve as your central hub, and it is from here that you will venture out into Paris to take on new missions.
GEAR AND UPGRADES
Of course, as you progress through Wolfenstein: Youngblood’s campaign, you’ll also be unlocking new weapons, equipment, and gear. This will all also be upgradable, though how that progression system is going to work isn’t something that the developers have spoken too much about. Considering that fact that this is a much larger and longer game, we’re assuming there will probably be deeper progression mechanics to dive into than earlier Wolfenstein titles.
Of course, there’s also the topic of microtransactions to discuss- it seems that’s always the case in games these days. Wolfenstein: Youngblood will indeed feature microtransactions- thankfully, though, these will only be restricted to cosmetic purchases, such as skins and emotes to customize the character you’re playing as.
Though Wolfenstein: Youngblood is the largest game in the series to date and offers over 20 hours of gameplay, it’s still not a full-priced game. It’s going to be priced at $40, which is, honestly, great value for money. As per the developers, the reason for the low price is the fact that development time on the game was actually pretty short, not to mention the fact that they used a lot of the work that was done on Wolf 2 for Youngblood’s development as well.
Speaking of value for money- if this is a game you’re thinking of playing co-op, you don’t both have to buy the game. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is launching with what’s been labelled as the Buddy Pass system, which essentially allows two players to play the game together with a single purchase. Though only one player can be invited to play by the Buddy Pass holder at any given time, Bethesda have confirmed that the Buddy Pass system can be used as many times and with as many players as players want.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is launching day and date on the Nintendo Switch as well, keeping Bethesda’s streak of excellent support for the platform going, and the Switch version is being handled by port wizards Panic Button. Panic Button do, of course, have plenty of experience with porting Bethesda shooters to Nintendo’s hybrid platforms. Switch versions for DOOM, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, and the upcoming DOOM Eternal have all been handled by the studio.