Thirty years of Wolfenstein 3D – Romero would have no more Commander Keen – Gaming – .Geeks

Wolfenstein 3D celebrates its thirtieth birthday. id The software game was the founder of first person shooter as they appear today. The series has been revived several times in recent decades, but the original was actually already a remake.

In the early 1990s, id Software achieved success with the Commander Keen-2d platforms. In 1992, the team made a prototype for a seventh episode that would use motion parallax for a depth effect. However, developer John Romero no longer wanted to make a Commander Keen episode and instead suggested developing a new 3D game.

Castle Wolfenstein, 1981

By 1991, Id Software had already released Catacomb 3-D and Hovertank 3D in addition to various Commander Keen episodes. Co-founder Tom Hall suggested making a sequel to the Hovertank, but Romero came up with a counter-proposal: a 3D remake of Castle Wolfenstein. That game from Muse Software appeared in 1981 for the Apple II computer. According to Romero, his idea received immediate approval. He spoke about this in a postmortem session at the Game Developer Conference in March, which Ars Technica and GameDeveloper reported.

Wolfenstein 3D

Work on Wolfenstein 3D began before id Software and publisher Apogee secured the rights to the classic from Muse Software. One option was to release the game under a different name, but Romero said the team could not come up with a name that was “cool enough.” Muse Software had already been dissolved in 1987, and it was unclear who owned the Wolfenstein rights. In April 1992, a month before the game’s release, id Software discovered that the rights to all Muse productions were owned by someone who bought assets in bankrupt companies. She was willing to transfer the Wolfenstein trademark for $ 5,000.

So it happened, and on May 5, 1992, the first episode of Wolfenstein 3D was released as shareware by Apogee for free. The original three-episode trilogy was also immediately available for sale, though the additional episodes were only delivered a few weeks later. Shortly after, id Software released three more episodes called The Nocturnal Missions. The two trilogies could then be purchased separately or as a bundle, but later releases of Wolfenstein 3D contain all six episodes.

Wolfenstein 3D in Famitsu

Much has already been written about the history of Wolfenstein 3D and what followed, including on Tweakers. To mark the thirtieth anniversary, we look back at how the game was received in the 1990s. ‘A very wrong game’, they headline Volkskrant. According to the review, the “unsightly looking” game is “extremely addictive” and “so incredibly bad that it’s fun again.” The newspaper describes Wolfenstein’s ‘story’ as one of the best ever elevated to a computer game. The Japanese magazine Famitsu writes a much drier review: “From the character’s point of view. It’s a realistic representation. The game is easy to play and runs well. This is the only game of its kind”.

Apogee and id Software aimed primarily at the US market with Wolfenstein 3D. In Germany, the game was blacklisted because of the Nazi symbols. “We did not know anything about Germany, nor that it was the largest European sales market for PC games at the time,” Romero said during his GDC session. He also remembers the positive reactions the studio got. For example, Jewish children said they liked playing the game because they felt they were taking revenge. And prisoners of war from the Vietnam War told id Software that Wolfenstein 3D had fixed their flashbacks.

The MS-DOS version of Wolfenstein 3D can be played in the browser via an emulator on the Internet Archive. The classic is also still for sale via platforms like Steam and GOG. Behind the scenes, there has been work on a new game for years. It will be Wolfenstein III, the sequel to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Bethesda announced the arrival of the new game in 2018, but a release date has not yet been announced.

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