It's easy to understand why brutalism has been such a potent source of architectural inspiration for games. The raw forms - solid, legible and with clear lineation - are the perfect material for level designers to craft their worlds with. Simultaneously, these same structures are able to ignite imaginations and gesture outwards, their dramatic shapes and monumental dimensions shocking and attention-seizing.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus was a rip-roaring science-fiction romp through an alternate history. It was, as Edwin more eloquently said in his Wolfenstein 2 review, "vicious, affecting, witty, spaced-out, crude, inventive, morbid and for the most part, a success."
id Tech 5 was designed from the ground up for 60fps gameplay, so what kind of results could be extracted from it now all the power of the new generation of consoles is at its disposal? With last week's release of Machine Games' Wolfenstein: The New Order, we finally found out. In our initial performance analysis, we went in search of the first cross-platform 1080p60 first-person shooter and while the game mostly delivered, the discovery of a dynamic resolution suggested that, once again, PlayStation 4 had managed to trump its Microsoft rival.
After first isolating an obvious example of the tech at work on Xbox One, a more detailed look at the captures revealed that both versions of the game achieve their locked 60Hz update by adjusting the amount of pixels rendered at any given point, in effect balancing engine load in order to put consistent refresh and controller response first.
Having now completed our analysis, it's clear that the PS4 gains an advantage with smaller drops in resolution that occur less frequently than they do on Xbox One. Metrics in the area of 1760x1080 are found on PS4, while on the Xbox One this can drop to an extreme of 960x1080 in some scenes. This is usually identifiable by an increase in the amount of jaggies on screen, along with a slightly fuzzier appearance to the already gritty aesthetic that Machine Games employs throughout the game.
It's early days here at Digital Foundry with Wolfenstein: The New Order. While the PC version arrived earlier in the week, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One code dropped through the letterbox only yesterday, so what follows are preliminary impressions based on the initial asset work. However, what's clear is that Machine Games has handed in the first cross-platform 60fps first-person shooter for the new generation of consoles, with little to differentiate the two versions of the game.
While this is a revamped Wolfenstein designed primarily for new hardware, some of the key fundamentals we expect from the series remain untouched. Like all of its predecessors, this is a new game built on existing id Software technology - in this case the Megatexture-centric id Tech 5, last seen in Rage. Bethesda has also continued the tradition of drafting in a quality independent developer to produce the game: Machine Games, a new studio comprising of key ex-Starbreeze staff. The end result is a graphically varied shooter, with a heightened level of response that feels is immensely fun to play on both systems.
Key to this is the 60fps update. As the performance video below demonstrates, Wolfenstein: The New Order achieves a perfect frame-rate on both consoles - something Machine Games puts down to the nature of id Tech 5 itself.
Jens Matthies is feeling a little flat. It's not that he's unhappy with his lot, or with the work put in by his team at MachineGames, the Swedish studio based in the city of Uppsala that's finishing up on its first ever project, Wolfenstein: The New Order. It's that Matthies' active role on the game is complete, and a journey that's spanned some five years is at last winding towards its conclusion.
Elder Scrolls and Fallout developer Bethesda might be the most guarded publisher out there today. At this year's E3 showfloor, most publishers are showing off a multitude of titles. There's usually a big budget triple-A release or three, a handful of digital titles, and maybe a mobile game or two to round out the booth. By comparison, Bethesda was showcasing only three games: first-person reboot, Wolfenstein: New Order; Shinji Mikami's survival horror curio The Evil Within; and MMORPG spin-off The Elder Scrolls Online.
"F*** you, moon."
BJ Blazkowicz is not happy. Having been in a coma for 15 years, he's woken up in 1960 to discover Germany won the war. And if that wasn't bad enough, it turns out they put a Nazi on the moon. Hence BJ's pithy outburst directed at an otherwise innocent celestial body.
This throwaway moment comes as I'm exploring the London Nautica, an enormous and grotesque monument to Aryan supremacy erected right in the middle of our fair capital, now a grey and desolate maze of checkpoints and ghettos. Thankfully, BJ gets to work through his anger by shooting lots of Nazis in the face, and we get to help him.