In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus “B.J.” Blazkowicz is a Fully Rendered Character
Well, duh. But, not really. You know how in most first-person shooters when you look down you see nothing? No torso. No feet. That means that essentially you’re a floating camera with couple of arms and guns. This was the case with 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. And in speaking with Senior Game Designer from MachineGames, Arcade Berg, he explained how this switch to a real B.J. for the sequel proved to be a challenge and how it improves the overall experience.
AusGamers: You mention gun play, many feel that was nailed with the first game The New Order. It was fun to play and I think that’s what also caught a lot of people off guard, just how great it was as a pure action game. I guess with that base covered, what was then the biggest challenge coming into Wolfenstein II. It feels like that side of it would have been like, ‘We’ve nailed that side, where do we go from here?’
Arcade: We have a pretty interesting approach for gun play. We actually have a dedicated team we call the TGE, or The Gun Experience. And this is what they do. One of the biggest challenges we had with The New Colossus was that this time round we have a full body. We’re not a floating camera like you see in most first-person shooters. Where it’s just a floating camera and a body. Here you are a full body, so looking down you will see your chest and your feet and your hands and everything.
If you fall you will see everything. This is true throughout the entire game. This is a huge design and technical challenge to make it all work, animation wise, reloading, switching weapons, all the different states it can be in. Ground combat, when you fall and you’re lying on your back you can shoot, then you decide when you want to get up. Translating this nice gun feel from the first game, into a completely new set up and a completely new system that raises the fidelity to a crazy level. That was a huge challenge. You can’t cheat, you can’t just move the hands outside the camera anymore and hope.
AusGamers: Over the years one of the things a lot of people do, well I do, is fire up a first-person shooter, look down and back into a corner. In most case you look down and go, ‘Okay, there’s no body’. Even so, what’s the reason to make that switch? Is it to make it feel more like you are BJ Blazkowicz? To simply be able to look down and see your feet and your hands? As per a number of games it’s been proven that a floating camera works.
Arcade: There are so many reasons, one is we want to push the envelope on every aspect of first person shooters, right?
Arcade: And this is a way to increase fidelity. It is also a way for you to be BJ, to an even greater extent. That is definitely a point. Also, by placing an anatomically correct BJ there, it forces us to build the entire world correctly too. We can’t set the camera at a bogus height, which often happens in an FPS. Everything is built to scale. You are in that world. It’s all about making you actually feel like you are there.
Check back tomorrow for our full in-depth interview where we discuss The New Colossus and how high-tech Nazis make for the prefect villains. In the meantime check out our in-depth preview.