MachineGames says Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a prequel rather than a sequel because the 1940s setting provides an ideal backdrop for the "pulp B-movie thing" that will distinguish it from last year's Wolfenstein: The New Order. It's also an opportunity for the studio to fill in some blanks and "explore things that were only hinted at" in the previous game, including how the Nazis were able to come up with the advanced technology that enabled them to [alternate history spoiler] win the war.
The Old Blood will serve up eight chapters across two interconnected stories, "Rudi Jager and the Den of Wolves," and "The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs." But while it's essentially an expansion to The New Order, most of the content, including environments, weapons, and enemies, is brand new, while some existing elements, like the "commander system," have been tweaked. The hero, B.J. Blazkowicz, will also have an interesting new toy with which to dispatch enemies: A hollow pipe that can be wielded as either a single or dual-handed weapon, and that enables seriously ugly takedowns.
The Old Blood will be peppered with references to the 2001 shooter Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which I think is very cool—I really liked that game—but fortunately for those of us who haven't yet played The New Order, there won't be any spoilers. "It really is a prequel," Senior Producer John Jennings explained on the Bethesda Blog. "The last scene of Old Blood is a couple of hours before the start of New Order in terms of the timeline, so it sets things up perfectly." And if you have played it, you'll get some new insights into what you've already experienced.
"There are hints and clues and nods to The New Order hidden throughout the game," he added. "People playing it in different orders will get a unique experience, but both of them will have a good time." Wolfenstein: The Old Blood comes out on May 5. Meanwhile, behold a brace of screenshots.