In 2014, MachineGames and id Software released Wolfenstein: The New Order. Despite being a fan of the developer’s previous titles, I came into the latest in the Nazi-killing game series with little expectations. What I got was my favourite game of that year and one of my favourite shooters of all time. So, to say I am excited for their follow-up, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, is an understatement. Since the trailer was released at E3 2017, I have watched it over and over again, soaking it all in.

For those who do not know, the most recent Wolfenstein game moved the action away from the traditional WWII setting and invented an alternate universe in which the Nazis won and have taken over the world. You play as William Joseph (BJ) Blaskowitz and are, basically, a one man army. The first game was set entirely in Europe, whilst this second game is set in the USA.

Here’s an in-depth look into the trailer, borrowing from previous events in The New Order as well as speculating just what the hell is going on. With that in mind, then, be wary that this post may contain spoilers.

If you want to watch the trailer first, you can find it here.

OK, let’s get on with it:

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  • The trailer kicks off with a few live-action and animated segments, with the 1950's style “Liesel” introduced first. For those unfamiliar with the series, the metal dog featured is a Panzerhund: a formidable enemy in the first game that was mainly relegated to set pieces
  • I can’t imagine that the Nazis would actually allow a private citizen their own Panzerhund, so I don’t think this will have any baring on the plot: it’s just a really cool piece of world-building by the Wolfenstein II marketing team

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  • A couple of adverts then appear to flash by, one featuring a heroic Nazi action figure and another with an animated Nazi super-hero destroying the Statue of Liberty (that’s also alive, for some reason)
  • Again, not much to this, but if you want to check out more from the action figure advert, it’s part of the Special Edition trailer for the game, which you can watch here

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  • OK, here’s the first truly interesting live-action portion of the trailer. At first, it seems like a cute (if slightly sinister) gag: a gameshow where you have to correctly identify or speak German words
  • However, since the E3 2017 trailer was released, Bethesda have uploaded the full version of this segment onto YouTube, which you can view here
  • If you are unable to watch, this segment contains two contestants: Rupert and Linda. The objective of the game (or at least the segment shown) is to correctly translate abstract nouns into German. There are two portions of this segment that are key
  • First, Linda loses the game and is taken away by two Nazis for “Re-Education” (which the audience unnervingly chants). What “Re-Education” means in the Wolfenstein’s version of the 1960's is unclear at the moment
  • Secondly, our host (Wolfgang Strehl) says that there is just “173 days left of English”, which heavily implies that the language is going to be outlawed by the Nazis to be replaced, officially, by German. How this will play into the overall plot of the game, I’m not sure, but should the story go past this date where English has been outlawed, it could throw up some interesting situations (BJ isn’t particularly good with German)

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  • So, this is probably one of the strangest parts of the trailer: a monkey with the head of a cat, getting upset at a TV
  • Now, I don’t think this is an experiment by the Nazis, but rather by BJ’s allies - and I’ll get to why, very soon

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  • And by “very soon”, I mean “right now”
  • At the end of Wolfentein: The New Order, BJ had defeated his enemy (General Deathshead), but in doing so suffered severe wounds: his insides were on the outside, basically. However, it takes more than a casual gutting to keep a good man down, and BJ is still alive. Yet, he’s clearly worse for wear - he cannot stand and collapses to the ground
  • This is where the monkey/cat hybrid comes into play: many have speculated that BJ will, somehow, have his head transplanted onto the body of another man. That may sound crazy (and you’d be right in thinking so), but we’ll get the evidence of that, soon

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  • The woman comforting BJ here is Anya, who was introduced in The New Order. She was his nurse while he recuperated at the beginning of the first game. As BJ notes “she’s gotten fat”, Anya tells him that they’re expecting twins
  • BJ and Anya’s relationship was one of the many wonderful arcs of the first game and I’m excited to see where this goes next

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  • Here we’re reintroduced to another character from The New Order, Set Roth. He was a prisoner of the Belica concentration camp that BJ helped to liberate. He informs BJ that Frau Engel - a secondary villain from the first game - has been “moving heaven and earth” to find him and has succeeded in doing so
  • In the background of this shot, we see an explosion that kills two Nazis: according to those who were able to play the demo at E3 2017, Set has, er, set traps that detonate on proximity to them - throughout the gameplay section of this level, BJ can use these traps to help clear a path to his escape

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  • This is Frau Engel
  • In The New Order, she had most of her face crushed by a robot under the control of Set Roth, and seems to have reconstructive surgery to make the best of a bad mess
  • The woman lying on the ground is Caroline Becker, another character from, not just the previous game, but from other games in the series. Like BJ (at this story juncture) she is also disabled from the waste down. Caroline is head of the Kreisau Circle: a resistance cell that fights the Nazis
  • Additionally, in the background is Sigrun Engel, the daughter and one of six children of Frau Engel. Despite this, she does not seem to be a willing participant in her mother’s activities, as we’ll get to later
  • Finally, on the left of Frau Engel is Fergus. In The New Order, the player was given a chance to save him or another character, Private Wyatt, and the choice would change some gameplay elements as well as introduce different characters, depending on who you’d picked. It’s unknown if any character featured in the game will change depending on who you choose at the beginning of this one (and how you will actually choose which timeline you’re going to follow, whether it be through an option as you start or carrying over a save file - probably both, to be honest)

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  • Wow
  • Here we see a Nazi asking two KKK members if they are “taking their German lessons” in reference to the earlier point that English will soon be obsolete in Nazi-occupied America
  • I’m not sure how likely it is that we’ll be fighting the KKK at any point in the game, as this seems to be a passive scene but who knows?

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  • In this next scene, a Nazi Commandant enters a diner and orders a milkshake while chatting to BJ
  • He refers to BJ as a “fireman”: footage from this sequence featured in a Developer Diary (at 02:06) shows a fire extinguisher on the bar, so it’s safe to assume that BJ is disguised as a firefighter
  • This Commandant isn’t particularly observant, though: as there are at least two posters of BJ hanging in the diner!
  • Finally, though the gif doesn’t show it, the man who served the milkshake looks a lot like a new character nicknamed “Super Spesh”, who we’ll get to soon

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  • Just a very quick look at the technology the Nazis have in this alternate timeline
  • If I was to place this moment in the game, I would suggest this is during Frau Engel’s assault on BJ while he is recovering

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  • In this same sequence, we are re-introduced to two more characters from The New Order: Max Hass and Bombate. It’s difficult to see, here, but Max has part of his head and brain missing (from an incident that is never revealed to player) and as such has learning difficulties: he’s only able to say his own name, and has the mental age of a child, but he’s good-natured and, despite shooting at Nazis, actually hates violence. In the first game, he was looked after by reformed Nazi, Klaus, but he died during those events and it seems that Bombate may have taken over responsibility
  • Bombate is, like Set Roth, another former Belica concentration camp survivor. Like Set, BJ liberated him. He didn’t have a massive part in the first game, so here’s hoping it’s expanded in The New Colossus

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  • This is where we get our first look at the Da’at Yichud Power Armour from the first game
  • The Da’at Yichud are an ancient Jewish society. In their quest for knowledge about God, they invented technology generations ahead of the rest of the world. It was by stealing this technology that enabled the Nazis to win the war. The Power Armour is one of those pieces of technology that BJ and Set Roth find in the first game
  • The suit itself is bullet proof and allows super-human feats of strength. It also allows the user to walk and run, even if they are disabled from the waste down. In the first game, Caroline Becker uses the suit and I’m going to assume she’s using it here as I believe this to still be the beginning of the game, before she is captured by Frau Engel

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  • Our first proper introduction to new characters in The New Colossus brings us Super Spesh, whom imdb credits as Norman Caldwell and Grace Walker
  • Grace appears to be the leader of the US resistance and wastes no time in making an impression: seeming to fake an accidental grenade un-pinning to see if BJ is really who he says he is
  • Super Spesh seems to be quite jittery, as when BJ says he is “not a Nazi”, he only hears the last word and replies “wha-what did you say? You say you’re a Nazi?” BJ does not take this well
  • Additionally, in this scene, BJ is wearing the Da’at Yichud Power Armour under his clothes. I assume that in this point of the game, BJ is still disabled and cannot walk, requiring the Power Armour to do so

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  • Before I get to any serious details about this scene, I just want to say that I absolutely lost it when Fergus rammed the cookie over and over again into his face
  • Anyway, here we can see Anya, Grace and Fergus having a meeting, where they discuss meeting a resistance leader named Horton (who we will see shortly)
  • The design of the area heavily suggests to me that this is Eva’s Hammer, an advanced Nazi U-Boat that BJ stole in the first game. The developers confirmed that the game would have a hub-like level that was set on a submarine. In the first game, the player would occasionally return to the Kreisau Circle headquarters, and the game would allow you to take a breather and read up on any history you have missed. Eva’s Hammer, additionally, has a massive cannon on it...
  • Finally, Fergus has lost his right arm and had it replaced by a not-so-perfect robotic prosthesis. He hadn’t lost this in the first game, so I’m going to assume that, during the course of the opening sequence he’s going to have it removed. Possibly by an axe

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  • We cut to Horton, a whiskey-loving, elitism-hating, (former?) priest and resistance leader, another new character for the game
  • It appears that he’s rather taken by the fact that the Americans have lost and is OK with just drinking a bottle and watching the world “go down the crapper” - he seems to hate the fact that it was the poor that were sent to “bleed on the beaches” as much as the Nazis themselves. Horton appears to certainly be on the left side of politics, screaming about the “Money Men of Wall Street” and how they “filled their coffers” while men died in the war effort. BJ is going to have to win him round, I think
  • Additionally, Horton calls BJ “Terror Billy” which has become the mythological name for our one-man army (which is perfectly understandable, BJ must have a kill count in the low thousands)

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  • BJ admonishes Horton saying that he has “kids on the way and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna raise them in a world run by these Nazi ASSHOLES!”
  • However, the key thing here is the metal band around his neck. It’s very similar to the one worn by the monkey/cat hybrid earlier in the trailer and he doesn’t have it when he chats to Grace and Super Spesh in the elevator - if BJ does have his head transplanted, it would appear that it would be somewhere between meeting Grace and being sent to recruit Horton

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  • OK, so here’s the last moment of cinematic before we get into some gameplay
  • BJ says the most badass line of the trailer: “If you take freedom away from the American people, you’re playing with fire: and I intend to pour some gasoline!” - oh, BJ, never change
  • This actually launches into a sequence where BJ is riding a Panzerhund through the streets, aiming the flames from its mouth at Nazis. It looks awesome
  • The song featured here is Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton and you can listen to the version from the trailer, here. It’s very good

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  • This is our first look at gameplay from BJ’s time while he’s in a wheelchair (and out of it)
  • Hands-on reports from the E3 2017 demo (that it’d do anything to play myself) confirmed that you’re going to lose access to your wheelchair and use automatic walkways in order to move back towards it - in fact, in the sequence where he’s lying on his back murdering Nazis, you can see his wheelchair in the background
  • While in the wheelchair, if BJ has a two-handed weapon, it will lie on his lap and you’ll, presumably, need to stop moving in order to use it. Also, not one to let this stop him, the wheelchair’s arm rests can be used to perform brutal takedowns

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  • Here we’re introduced to two new weapons in The New Colossus
  • First is the machine pistol, a one handed gun that appears to be very helpful in the wheelchair segment and allows BJ to move and shoot at the same time
  • The second appears to be a gas-powered grenade launcher: considering how advanced Nazi weapons had become (they had laser weapons in The New Order) I believe this to be a weapon of resistance design

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  • This showcases one of the new features of The New Colossus: asymmetrical dual wielding
  • In the first game, the player could only dual wield weapons of the same type, but in the second game you can mix these up, to create combinations that best suit your play style (and up close and personal weapon in one hand, long-range in the other, for example)
  • The weapon in the right hand appears to be the LaserKraftWerk, a tool that BJ upgrades throughout The New Order to become a devastating super-weapon (think of it as Wolfenstein’s answer to the BFG9000, but without the overkill). As the name implies, it’s a laser-based weapon, and in its final form (in the first game), it can reflect off walls, be fully discharged to atomise an enemy and comes with a scope. Whether these upgrades will carry over to the new game is unknown at this moment

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  • OK, so a few interesting things here
  • The first is the orange-lasered weapon that disintegrates your enemies - this is a new weapon and appears to slow down your movement when using it: in the first game, heavy machine guns could be removed from their position and carried around as a temporary weapon and you lost them when you ammunition ran out. I’m going to suggest that this weapon is similar: not something that can be part of your weapon inventory, but a temporary weapon that can turn the tide
  • Also, in this sequence, BJ appears to be wearing the Power Suit, and the environment suggests this is during the part of the game where BJ needs to escape Frau Engel for the first time. As I noted earlier, Caroline wears this suit but she loses it at some point in The New Colossus and I’m assuming it’s given to a BJ who cannot walk so he can make his escape
  • Next: it’s a very brief moment, but the player shadow that casts on the door shows some kind of robotic stilts, that gives BJ additional height. What these are used for and how they are activated is unknown, but given the robotic prosthesis that Fergus has, it’s not unlikely that BJ will be augmented in some way
  • Finally, we see BJ (without the Power Armour) run head on into a Nazi and literally reduced him to mist. This could support the idea that he has been augmented and has super-human strength of his own. I think it’s likely that this will be on recharge, allowing you to do it once before a cool down period

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  • OK, here we see Sigrun again, preparing to decapitate Caroline Becker and she doesn’t seem too happy about that. Many have speculated that Sigrun will defect to the resistance. I’m not too sure about that, but I don’t think she’ll be an out and out villain
  • Additionally, while we saw another part of this scene earlier, that version featured Fergus, while this second look features Wyatt: this showcases the two timelines we will be able to playthrough
  • Also, the next time we see Wyatt he has a nasty looking scar on the right side of his face that isn’t present here. Presumably he’s about to have a quick chat with that axe and also presumably it’s here that Fergus loses his arm, should you play with him as your ally

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  • Our first look at a brand new enemy, who are autonomous robots
  • It’s likely that the Nazis created these in order to do work that was inhospitable to humans (even those they deem “sub-human”). These things are also the likely explanation for Fergus’ robotic arm
  • Of course, the Nazis could have created them to reduce the death count: why risk the lives of the “Master Race” at the hands of Terror Billy, when robots could do the job?
  • Also, this is our first look at the new melee weapon of the game: a hatchet. In the first game, BJ used knives which could also be thrown. Presumably this ability will carry over to the hatchet

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  • My favourite moment of the trailer
  • The interesting thing about this shotgun is the rotating barrels: this appears to be an update from the weapon featured in The New Order allowing for a slightly faster rate of fire

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  • My second favourite moment of the trailer
  • Seriously, go watch it for the sickening “splotch” as BJ buries the hatchet in his face
  • Nothing more to say about this one, so...

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  • In the final scene before the trailer ends, we get Wyatt dropping acid and hallucinating a cartoon chameleon and a heavily pregnant Anya stabbing a Nazi in the background, so it’s already GOTY 2017
  • However, the one thing I want to note is that it is this scene that shows off Wyatt’s nasty facial scar which he picks up, I presume, from either Frau or Sigrun Engel
  • Seriously, though: GOTY 2017

Anyway! That’s it! I skipped over some pretty standard gameplay elements and included the things that were either new gameplay-wise or pertinent to the plot. Hope you enjoyed reading my breakdown of the trailer!