Former BioWare guy Manveer Heir recently gave an interview in which he said that Electronic Arts is prioritizing more open-world games, because they're easier to monetize and can go on more or less indefinitely. Yet in this recent GamesIndustry report, current MachineGames guy Tommy Tordsson Björk said his studio is doing exactly the opposite with the upcoming Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, because cramming in multiplayer would detract too much from the story it wants to tell.
"The only way we can create these super immersive narrative experiences is if we can solely focus on the single-player," Tordsson Björk said at Gamescom, which actually took place in August. "Having a multiplayer component in this work process would just dilute it all. That's the danger if you try to do two things at once."
MachineGames considers its Wolfenstein games to be action adventures rather than shooters, "because we feel there's so much more to them than just shooting," he added. Obviously the core gameplay is all about the guns, but Tordsson Björk said it's the setting and the story that really put it over the top.
"It's a fictional setting, of course, and it's a crazy story, but we tried to stay honest and tell it as honestly as we can. That's our goal," he said. "There are so many things you aren't seeing. We're definitely pushing the limits, but at the same time continuing what makes Wolfenstein really special: the drama, the human relationships, with dark humor and violence. It's pushing them all, on all fronts."
It will never stop feeling weird to me to think of Wolfenstein as a character-driven game with a strong emphasis on the underlying narrative. I don't want to oversell the point—Wolfenstein 2 remains, at its core, a game about killing Nazis by the truckload—nor do I think it represents a broader overall shift in how the industry approaches the genre. But it is a nice change from the attitude that led to a multiplayer mode in the famously story-focused shooter Spec Ops: The Line, an addition mandated by publisher 2K Games that lead designer Cory Davis described (very angrily, I'm guessing) as "cancerous" and "a waste of money."
Bethesda announced the Wolfenstein 2 system requirements and PC-specific features today. Get the lowdown here.