It has been revealed that Nerve Software will be developing the multiplayer part of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, while Gray Matter concentrates on the single player portion. Founded by former id Software level desigener Brandon James and several veterans of Alice developers Rogue, Nerve are based just down the road from id in Mesquite, Texas. Which is handy.
Todd Hollenshead told IGN that the game will now feature "a mission-based Axis vs Allies team oriented multiplayer with lots of different cool scenarios on the maps we have". Which sounds like it might fall somewhere between Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament's Assault mode. Indeed, one map ("a beach map that includes Allied forces coming in off the beach with mortars raining down on 'em") sounds strangely familiar. There's even talk of Team Fortress style player classes like medics and heavy weapons guys. It's all a far cry from previous id games, which have been very much focused on free-for-all deathmatch and vanilla Capture The Flag.
Todd insists that this move won't delay the game's release, but given that Nerve only started work on adding multiplayer to Wolfenstein at the beginning of June, we would be surprised if the game was released this year. Speaking from personal experience, multiplayer projects have a strange tendency to take much longer than you expect them to. Alternatively full multiplayer support could be horned in as an add-on or patch a few months down the road, as was done with Quake 2, but id's Robert Duffy insisted that "it's all going to be out of the box with the game's release".