Swede Dreams: More Nightmares Coming to The Old Blood

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With last year’s studio-debut title, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Sweden-based MachineGames established how they could move B.J. Blazkowicz into an era of story-driven, first-person shooters while staying true to the series legacy and roots. They also proved they can they can make a pretty good homage to the 1992 id Software original — hiding the game’s first level as an Easter Egg.

Nostalgic fans that enjoyed this trip down memory lane will be happy to know that Nightmare Mode has returned in Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. Speaking with MachineGame’s Managing Director & Executive Producer, Jerk Gustafsson, we’re happy to report that the entire first episode of Wolf 3D can be found by carefully exploring the contents of The Old Blood.

To learn a little more about the process of bringing the cult classic back, Jerk was nice enough to answer some of our Bethesda Blog questions.

How many Nightmare levels are in The Old Blood?

There are nine Nightmare levels in The Old Blood – one for each chapter in the game. One great improvement we’ve done for The Old Blood is that players will be able to replay each Nightmare level. As soon as you wake up from a Nightmare – by dying, by completing the level or by using the new “wake up” option — you will always be able to go back to bed and enter the Nightmare again.

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May Vault Boy Tee of the Month: Chemist!

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Be “The Danger” of the Wasteland with May’s Vault Boy of the Month shirt, Chemist! Not only does it show off your Medicine skills, but it also lets everyone around know that the Wasteland is your territory.

Chemist is available on store.bethsoft.com in men’s and women’s sizes for one week only. Did we mention it glows in the dark?

 

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – Preview Roundup

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As you ready for midnight on May 5th, get a glimpse of what you can expect in Wolfenstein: The Old Blood as various sites go hands on with the game for the very first time.

Previews include:

Xbox Achievements/PlayStation Trophies – “Wolfenstein: The Old Blood ought to be every bit as essential as The New Order was”

AusGamers — “There are also other new weapons in the game, including new long-range bolt-action rifles and my personal favourite, a rocket-firing handgun called the Kampfpistole.”

IGN – “The incredible level of world detail MachineGames established in The New Order continues in The Old Blood, and the team remains committed to its pulp vision of an over-the-top Nazi nightmare.”

PCGamesN — “The Old Blood is MachineGames’ victory lap. It’s shorter than the last game, just eight chapters spread across two interconnecting story arcs, and it’s cheaply priced to reflect this.”

GamesRadar — “Built around the same framework of smartly branching, semi-linear map designs, and free-flowing, emergent strategies of brutal stealth and even more brutal gunplay, this is, if anything, a more intense formulation of The New Order’s heady brew. And I’m not just talking about the combat, which is as demanding, exhilarating, and instantly rewarding as it ever was.”

And in case you missed it, check out our very own Gary Steinman’s first look at various levels from the game.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a standalone game releasing on May 5, 2015, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC for $19.99 / £14.99 / €19.99 / AUD$39.95. The Old Blood will also have a physical release in Europe on May 15, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood — ‘Get Psyched’ Primer (Preloads, System Requirements, and more!)

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Wolfenstein: The Old Blood arrives digitally on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam in less than a week. As you get ready to play, here’s some important info to note before May 5th.

It’s Standalone

As we’ve stated previously, you don’t need Wolfenstein: The New Order to play The Old Blood. They’re separate games, and there is no save file carryover between the two. If you’re into great first-person shooter games, we’d certainly love you to play both. If you’ve played The New Order already, it’ll be exciting to see how the early events of the game were set into motion. If you haven’t played either, the $20 price tag gives you a great introduction into MachineGames’ new take on the Wolfenstein universe.

We’ll leave it up to you to determine how your loved ones experience the two games — deciding between playing the original or the prequel first.

Pre-Load and System Requirements after the break…

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Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – Playing With History

When it comes to videogames, nostalgia can be powerful thing. When done right, it can evoke a feeling that will reach even those who have no memories of the distant past. It can create a deeper bond with players, regardless of whether they experienced the original events being referenced. It sets the stage, defines the mood. It makes a game… special.

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Such is the case with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. In the sure hands of developer MachineGames, this standalone game is, unequivocally, nostalgia done right.

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Skyrim Mods: Why We Gave It a Shot

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Update: After discussion with Valve, and listening to our community, paid mods are being removed from Steam Workshop. Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.

Original Post: We believe mod developers are just that: developers. We love that Valve has given new choice to the community in how they reward them, and want to pass that choice along to our players. We are listening and will make changes as necessary.

We have a long history with modding, dating back to 2002 with The Elder Scrolls Construction Set. It’s our belief that our games become something much more with the promise of making it your own. Even if you never try a mod, the idea you could do anything is at the core of our game experiences. Over the years we have met much resistance to the time and attention we put into making our games heavily moddable. The time and costs involved, plus the legal hurdles, haven’t made it easy. Modding is one of the reasons Oblivion was re-rated from T to M, costing us millions of dollars. While others in the industry went away from it, we pushed more toward it.

We are always looking for new ways to expand modding. Our friends at Valve share many of the same beliefs in mods and created the Steam Workshop with us in 2012 for Skyrim, making it easier than ever to search and download mods. Along with Skyrim Nexus and other sites, our players have many great ways to get mods.

Despite all that, it’s still too small in our eyes. Only 8% of the Skyrim audience has ever used a mod. Less than 1% has ever made one.

In our early discussions regarding Workshop with Valve, they presented data showing the effect paid user content has had on their games, their players, and their modders. All of it hugely positive. They showed, quite clearly, that allowing content creators to make money increased the quality and choice that players had. They asked if we would consider doing the same.

This was in 2012 and we had many questions, but only one demand. It had to be open, not curated like the current models. At every step along the way with mods, we have had many opportunities to step in and control things, and decided not to. We wanted to let our players decide what is good, bad, right, and wrong. We will not pass judgment on what they do. We’re even careful about highlighting a modder on this blog for that very reason.

Three years later and Valve has finally solved the technical and legal hurdles to make such a thing possible, and they should be celebrated for it. It wasn’t easy. They are not forcing us, or any other game, to do it. They are opening a powerful new choice for everyone.

We believe most mods should be free. But we also believe our community wants to reward the very best creators, and that they deserve to be rewarded. We believe the best should be paid for their work and treated like the game developers they are. But again, we don’t think it’s right for us to decide who those creators are or what they create.

We also don’t think we should tell the developer what to charge. That is their decision, and it’s up to the players to decide if that is a good value. We’ve been down similar paths with our own work, and much of this gives us déjà vu from when we made the first DLC: Horse Armor. Horse Armor gave us a start into something new, and it led to us giving better and better value to our players with DLC like Shivering Isles, Point Lookout, Dragonborn and more. We hope modders will do the same.

Opening up a market like this is full of problems. They are all the same problems every software developer faces (support, theft, etc.), and the solutions are the same. Valve has done a great job addressing those, but there will be new ones, and we’re confident those will get solved over time also. If the system shows that it needs curation, we’ll consider it, but we believe that should be a last resort.

There are certainly other ways of supporting modders, through donations and other options. We are in favor of all of them. One doesn’t replace another, and we want the choice to be the community’s. Yet, in just one day, a popular mod developer made more on the Skyrim paid workshop than he made in all the years he asked for donations.

Revenue Sharing

Many have questioned the split of the revenue, and we agree this is where it gets debatable. We’re not suggesting it’s perfect, but we can tell you how it was arrived at.

First Valve gets 30%. This is standard across all digital distributions services and we think Valve deserves this. No debate for us there.

The remaining is split 25% to the modder and 45% to us. We ultimately decide this percentage, not Valve.

Is this the right split? There are valid arguments for it being more, less, or the same. It is the current industry standard, having been successful in both paid and free games. After much consultation and research with Valve, we decided it’s the best place to start.

This is not some money grabbing scheme by us. Even this weekend, when Skyrim was free for all, mod sales represented less than 1% of our Steam revenue.

The percentage conversation is about assigning value in a business relationship. How do we value an open IP license? The active player base and built in audience? The extra years making the game open and developing tools? The original game that gets modded? Even now, at 25% and early sales data, we’re looking at some modders making more money than the studio members whose content is being edited.

We also look outside at how open IP licenses work, with things like Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, where you can publish fan fiction and get about 15-25%, but that’s only an IP license, no content or tools.

The 25% cut has been operating on Steam successfully for years, and it’s currently our best data point. More games are coming to Paid Mods on Steam soon, and many will be at 25%, and many won’t. We’ll figure out over time what feels right for us and our community. If it needs to change, we’ll change it.

The Larger Issue of the Gaming Community and Modding

This is where we are listening, and concerned, the most. Despite seeming to sit outside the community, we are part of it. It is who we are. We don’t come to work, leave and then ‘turn off’. We completely understand the potential long-term implications allowing paid mods could mean. We think most of them are good. Some of them are not good. Some of them could hurt what we have spent so long building. We have just as much invested in it as our players.

Some are concerned that this whole thing is leading to a world where mods are tied to one system, DRM’d and not allowed to be freely accessed. That is the exact opposite of what we stand for. Not only do we want more mods, easier to access, we’re anti-DRM as far as we can be. Most people don’t know, but our very own Skyrim DLC has zero DRM. We shipped Oblivion with no DRM because we didn’t like how it affected the game.

There are things we can control, and things we can’t. Our belief still stands that our community knows best, and they will decide how modding should work. We think it’s important to offer choice where there hasn’t been before.

We will do whatever we need to do to keep our community and our games as healthy as possible. We hope you will do the same.

Bethesda Game Studios

Reviews are in for The Evil Within: The Consequence

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Ready for more survival horror?

With a few days of release under its belt, positive reviews for The Evil Within’s newest DLC, The Consequence, have made their way online. In particular, reviewers are highlighting the game’s storyline, chilling atmosphere, and memorable boss battles.

Highlights include:

Game Revolution (8/10) — “The Evil Within’s story can be hard to follow with all its moving parts and multi-dimensional layers. But there are a lot of fans out there, including myself, who find it fascinating. If you’re one of these people, The Consequence is a must-play as it addresses questions left unanswered at the end of the the main story by allowing you to see what happens from Juli Kidman’s perspective. Things are not as they seem.”

Bloody Disgusting (8/10) — The Evil Within had some memorable bosses, but there are a few here that give them a run for their money. The final boss is just good enough to make me think the whole point of Juli’s story was so Mikami could swoop in and finish it off with a bang.

Videogamer.com (8/10) — Its conclusion is at least as satisfying as that found in the main game, and probably more so given the revelations it contains.

God is a Geek (8/10) — “The Consequence wreaks havoc on the nerves…”

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In case you missed it, The Consequence follows up the events of The Evil Within’s 1st DLC, The Assignment. As for what’s next for The Evil Within… stay tuned for more information on the game’s final DLC, The Executioner.

Roundup – Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

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Believe it or not, we’re less than two weeks away from the release of the standalone prequel to last year’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, here we come!

Over the last few weeks on our Wolfenstein Facebook page, we’ve been sharing concept images and in-game created by the team at MachineGames. This past week’s contributions, created by artist Christoffer Lovéus, provide background on SS Paranormal Division’s astute and archaeology-obsessed leader, Helga Von Schabbs.

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What are Helga’s motives? And what exactly makes her so evil. To give some background on her character, here’s MachineGames’ Senior Narrative Designer, Tommy Tordsson Björk :

“Helga is an adventurous, intelligent and obsessive tomb raider, completely callous to the suffering of others, who likes to indulge in finely aged reds from the wine cellar in Castle Wolfenstein. Coming from a noble background, she was infected with polio as a child leaving her with a stiff leg.

She is driven by the need to control her fate and make an everlasting mark on history. For Helga, joining the Nazis was, besides being appealed by the ideology, a means to accomplish this end. Through her archaeological research, she is trying to connect her blood-line to King Otto, the Holy Roman Emperor.”

If you’ve missed any of our other preview art, check out the slideshow below featuring some of the highlights, and LIKE the official Wolfenstein Facebook page to see new content first. And elsewhere, we recommend checking out Executive Producer Jerk Gustafsson interview with Gamespot, as well as his newly-minted podcast with Xbox’s Major Nelson.


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Between now and launch on May 5th, we’ll have plenty more to share on The Old Blood — gameplay content, written features, and more.