Let’s Re-Examine ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ on Waypoint 101


Agreed on the whole protecting the weak part. I picked Wyatt to live on my first play through because he was younger and had more to live for than the older Fergus who had lived a life. I was surprised to hear the crew all pick Fergus out of pure utility. The logic felt so… Nazi-like.

Also, I’m surprised so many people have been slogging the stealth in the game. I thought it worked quite well, with the throwing knives in particular being really satisfying. It’s no MGSV, but it’s good enough for the type of game this is.


I always pick Wyatt too, but for me it feels like a weird optimism? Sure, Fergus is a better soldier, but I think that first chapter makes it clear who would have a better life when the war was over. That’s part of why his pain rings true; no one expected him to save the world, but he’s all we’ve got now.


That was a little weird coming from the Waypoint crew.

I picked Fergus because, as they touched on during the question, the game characterized him much better than Wyatt in the short time before “the choice.”


I don’t disagree with you but jeez “Picking Fergus makes you basically a Nazi” is a hell of a fantastic take. Applause.

I think a lot of people pick Fergus basically because you spend most of the level with him, and he seems to know what he’s doing. Wyatt is a kid and doesn’t get as much characterization.


Hey! This is my first time through the game, and if I’m being honest, that sequence—and most of the game’s storytelling full stop—did little for me in terms of evoking any sort of emotional response. “Which soldier to you save, the young one or the old one” feels like such a storytelling trope at this point, that I was actually disappointed to see it pop up (especially at the end of what had been a hellish slog to get there.)

Now that I’m not actively talking about the game with my friends again, I’m actually back to feeling p down on the whole game. I hear it gets better. I certainly hope so, because right now I’m feeling deeply detached from a game that so many have told me is an emotional powerhouse.

(Worth saying briefly, too, that I think it’s a mistake to consider Nazism an extension of even the most extreme utilitarianism. Nazis aren’t interested in even exploiting the material value of a human life for some greater amount of utility. They aren’t making a cold, indifferent calculus that ruins lives. There is no calculus. They believe, firmly, that some people aren’t. It is important that we not get that confused.)


Near the start of the podcast, Rob made a reference to Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, and how those games plus the 2009 Wolfenstein contributed to a sort of dilution of the franchise.

I wanted to bring some context to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, because I don’t think a lot of people are necessarily aware of its odd development history.

When Return to Castle Wolfenstein (henceforth RTCW) was released, it had a pretty standard first person shooter campaign mode that I’m pretty sure was intended to be a direct sequel of the DOS Wolfenstein 3D games (it’s been a long time, so I can’t remember for sure). It also had a multiplayer mode that came out around the time class-based competitive team multiplayer FPS games started to really crystallize in the wake of games like Team Fortress. The multiplayer was extremely well received in the circles I ran with at the time (a combination of old Team Fortress players, Quake III deathmatch players, and Counter-Strike players). The single player was made by Gray Matter Interactive, at the time known for Red Neck Rampage, a Quake 2 mission pack, and Kingpin: Life of Crime (a surprisingly interesting game at the time. Not necessarily a good game, but an interesting one) and the multiplayer was made by Nerve Software (the studio’s first game published under that name, but mostly made up of old Rogue Software people, who had worked on a game called Stryfe, which brought open-world RPG elements to a Doom engine game, but that pretty much no one had heard of, and also known for making Quake 1 and 2 mission packs and American McGee’s Alice, which is another weird/interesting game).

So due to its success, a sequel was going to be made called Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. But this time the developers that got chosen were Mad Doc Software for the single player and Splash Damage for the multiplayer. Now I don’t know much about Mad Doc and didn’t know much about them at the time, either. Apparently they mostly made licensed games for Activision. Splash Damage, on the other hand, I’m intimately familiar with. They originally were a mod team for Quake 3 that made a clone of Team Fortress called Q3F. This game was going to be their first professional gig as a studio. And apparently Mad Doc was going to fuck it up for them.

The game got delayed a couple times and then was eventually announced as canceled because the single player portion just wasn’t coming together. However, the multiplayer component had already been completed and was just waiting. So somehow, someone convinced Activision to just release the multiplayer as a free stand alone game. Not in the modern sense of free-to-play, but a truly gratis game. So a lot of people played this game back then. It was a AAA-quality multiplayer first person shooter that had all the same mod tools available that Quake 3 had (for context, these were really powerful mod tools).

Anyway, just wanted to give some history if anyone was interested.


I may be imagining this, but didn’t someone at Machine Games mention (maybe in an interview or GB stream) that the reason that Wyatt (and his new acid chameleon friend) is featured so prominently in the New Colossus trailer is that their stats showed that the vast majority of players went with Fergus? Either way, it’s been a while, but from what I remember, Fergus in the intro is better developed than Wyatt. Fergus is portrayed as an old war buddy, extremely gruff, cunning, and reliable; when he saves your life, it’s shown as a natural extension of both of your activities during the mission. Wyatt, on the other hand, is portrayed somewhat shallowly, as a squeaky-clean rookie who just happens to save your life in a contrived way, IIRC after making a couple of amateur mistakes that puts the entire squad at risk.


Totally - all of my feelings on this sequence hinge on the planets aligning and it all really working for me. I enjoyed the shooting well enough that I wasn’t frustrated during the opening assault, it was release night and there weren’t any obvious spoilers about the choice out there for me to even consider looking up, so the idea of “what does this change” never crossed my mind. I don’t think I’d have that same experience if I was playing the game for the first time today. Although I’d probably still save Wyatt because “Jimi Hendrix joins your crew” would be too bonkers for me to pass up.

I think my read is less praise for the scene - it’s absolutely a cliche setup and it’s very corny - and more that the game is wielding more political ideas than it thinks it is. I’m not sure how I feel about the game breaking the choice between Wyatt and Fergus down to “also you’re picking lockpicks (and Hendrix!) vs. HP” because that just feels icky. Rather, I think it’s ultimately a failing of the game that it maps such a binary utilitarian choice onto a scene that’s meant to be emotionally harrowing - a scene that worked for me the first time and then worked less and less as I realized how cheesy it was and how antithetical the gameplay rewards were to my initial strong emotional take on the scene.

So I guess when I say I’m surprised everyone picked Fergus, it’s less that I’m surprised at you all being utilitarian, and more surprised at how easily everyone bypassed the melodramatic coat of paint since in my experience it worked really well the first time (and really, only the first time)


Listened to this despite not having played any of these games because I know I never will (First person games with few exceptions make me sick)… Anyway, the discussion about the interrogation scene where the player’s preferences on arbitrary conditions hit me like a tonne of bricks. At school, I took GCSE and A-Level history, both of which included Nazi Germany as a key time period. Those lessons focused on providing first-hand accounts and detailed descriptions of items of the era. Something that wasn’t developed in class was the ultimate truth that most of those oppressive accounts weren’t about the particular details but about how systemic fear was achieved though arbitrary items, features and beliefs leading to punishment at the whims of the elite.

You managed to help me understand something I missed so long ago (despite studying Life in Nazi Germany for almost the entirety of my teenage years). Thanks <3
[Edit: Grammar]


To those who haven’t played both timelines there aren’t really any major changes

Wyatt has lock picking as opposed to Fergus’ hotwire, the lock-picking does allow some changes in the path you take to get to a goal on some levels, there are also one or two places in the game where you need to find a key in the Fergus timeline but with Wyatt you can just pick the lock.

He also has armour upgrades instead of health while it doesn’t boost your total armour (that stays at 100) it does mean that the armour value of pickups is higher, from memory each upgrade you get boosts armour upgrades by 10% per upgrade with a total of 100% (if you get all 10 upgrades) so piece of armour like a full chest piece that was originally with 50 would then be worth 100.

There is also 1 scene change, when you need to get the key from Wyatt/Fergus for the records room, when Fergus does his “I’m getting too old for this shit and I tried to keep Wyatt alive in 1946”. Wyatt’s scene is “I was young and dumb being looked to to lead the resistance, Fergus knew what he was doing and would have saved more lives between 1946 and 1960”

The 2 big J scenes oe is the scene wherre BJ asks J why he doesn’t take a more active role in the fight and J talks about how his father was sent to the war and died and how he was treated as a black man in America in the 1940s-50’s and the for lack of better term, big line of “Back home before the war people like BJ were the Nazis”

and his scene where he plays what sounds a lot like Hendrix’s version of star spangled banner from Woodstock which is heard across Berlin.

.There are a few discussions that I’m interested in hearing opinions on in the next podcast

  1. Tekla & BJ discussing existence and soul.
  2. The talk between Anya, Set and Caroline about the Da’at Yichud and how there was never an intent for it to be used but it was just a way to communicate with God, while Caroline only sees the practical uses for the technology.
  3. From a gameplay perspective the London Monitor and Deathshead boss fights (all 3 stages in the case of Deathshead)
  4. Deathshead’s line about how “we will be judged not on what we have destroyed but what we have created” yes it was in a way just a cheesy line but there is also the idea that all villains are right in their own mind.
  5. The Bubi scene from the final level where he says that there is something wrong with BJ’s cerebral cortex that allowed him to overcome the drug cocktail. Referencing BJ’s injury from 1946.
  6. Anya’s diaries that were thinly disguised as a way for Anya to reveal her violet past to BJ and hope he can still love her after knowing it.
  7. The ongoing BJ dream of him relaxing at home post war and eventually the person who BJ keeps thinking is there is shown to be Anya, even though the first time we see the dream is in 1946, but as BJ gets to know Anya she becomes the woman in his dreams.


With the stealth the developers have said that this is not an avoidance stealth system like Dishonored or Hitman where there are goals to not kill anyone.

The system is one where the goal is to kill silently or at least thin the herd before you turn it into a firefight either by design or by getting spotted.

if you think about it like that then the system works well.


I just wanted to drop a note to say that this podcast also made me think back to Richard J. Evans’ work, and I agree it’s fantastic (I am only halfway through the second book, but still). I highly recommend everyone read, at the very least, the first book.


I feel like the first book is the strongest, which reflects Evans’ rich background in Weimar Germany and the tight national focus that it has. While the added context of other countries is often helpful, it is necessarily shallower than Evans’ work on Germany itself. The first book also gives me a lot of pause for being someone alive in 2017.

Basically, totally agree with you!


All the Wyatt dunking in this episode was a real bummer. Maybe it’s because I’m not as familiar with this trope, but saving Wyatt seemed like the obvious choice.

As far as the stealth, while it’s not particularly deep, I found it pretty satisfying to sneak my way through an area silently killing Nazis one by one. I found it at least as cathartic as blowing them away with dual assault rifles.


The stealth is very good. Chucking knives between Nazi shoulder blades is among the most satisfying things I’ve ever done in a game. My favorite genre in games is stealth.

I also chose Fergus. Didn’t see any real reason to choose either of them over the other, but it’s what you have to do. So we do it. Trying to break choosing Fergus down and equate it to Nazi ideology though? That’s a tough putt. It’s a bad choice to make and there is no right answer if you’re going in blind. Any attempt to rationalize it is insufficient-- – that’s the whole point. You could just as easily make the same case for choosing Wyatt. Choosing a young green guy because he may be molded and has the most potential to contribute to your cause for an extended period of time? Sounds suspect to me.


Just a heads up, the direct download link links to a different episode.


I also chose Fergus in my first play-through. It 100% came down to the fact that he had been fully characterized and then Wyatt was just some random rookie who was lucky to live that long anyway. I barely even realized he interacted with BJ before, whereas Fergus had an established history of friendship with BJ so it just made sense.

However, I think the Wyatt path has much better story moments. J is 10 times more interesting then the science girl (never remembered her name), I always though that she was out of place and Turning would have been a much better fit.

As for gameplay, I’m with Patrick on this. The gun play feels amazing, even though I pretty much always play like Austin does with marksmenship and stealth, here I’m play BJ who doesn’t do that. The stealth in this game feels right for the character, it isn’t too in-depth because BJ isn’t that stealthy of a guy overall. The gunplay just matches the character so well.


Some good videos on the way Nazi’s are presented for the interested:


I really hope the next episode covers BJ’s flashback during the moon level to the concentration camp where he and Set Roth discuss faith. If nothing else it felt to me like a surprisingly mature discussion on the topic and seems to relate to the themes Rob thinks the game is about.


I looked at a guide, wanted Fergus’s health upgrade, but still went with Wyatt in the moment. The Wyatt/Fergus choice for me involved a bit of cheating.

In a real world, the more experienced (and higher ranked) Fergus probably has a better chance of survival than Wyatt. If the concern was purely to insure the resistance will be in a better place, Fergus is the obvious choice based simply on that. However by presenting this choice, the game guarantees Wyatt’s survival up to 1960. (I would have respected the game more if they offered more asymmetric outcomes: i.e. save Fergus, reunite in 1960; save Wyatt, he’s just dead anyways or he quit the resistance)

After that, my (Darwinian and Marxian) thinking was Wyatt is still young with un-actualized potential and experiences. In a situation with no good choice, I default to the young one with his whole life ahead.

Narrative-wise, I also ended up liking the Wyatt timeline a bit more, at least he has some development in the missing 14 years, whereas Fergus was basically the same vet. And J was the more interesting side character.