Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is coming out next week, and if the pre-release hype is any indicator then a ton of people are clamoring to play it. Whether you never got around to playing the previous games or just need a refresher, we've put together an explainer on Wolfenstein with all the info you'll need to play The New Colossus as soon as it hits shelves.
Below you can find the answers to some of the most critical questions you need answering before you can play Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus.
Do I need to play the other games and The New Order before Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus?
This one should be a no-brainer considering the "2" in The New Colossus's title, but the continuity of the Wolfenstein series is hazy at best. There have been 11 games in the franchise including this latest one, but which ones are canon is in dispute. At the very least, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus are all canon. However, 2009's Wolfenstein is referenced several times in The New Order, and Caroline Becker, Hans Grosse, Deathshead, and several other characters from that game are also given prominent roles in the Bethesda-published titles.
Seeing as Wolfenstein (2009) is no longer available, your best bet is to just concentrate on the latest three games. While The New Colossus may shed more light on just which of the 11 games are part of the current series and which have been cast aside for the new narrative, you're not going to miss a lot if you started the franchise with The New Order. Even if you haven't gotten around to playing the Bethesda-published games though, you can read our plot summaries below to catch up with the story up to the newest game.
What Happened in Wolfenstein: The Old Blood?
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood came out in 2015, a year after The New Order debuted. Chronologically though, The Old Blood takes place before BJ's dealings in 1960s Berlin. In The Old Blood, the year is 1946, and William Blazkowicz is working with the Office of Secret Actions (an alternate version of the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency) in an attempt to find the location of SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer (General) Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse.
BJ and his partner Richard Wesley (codename Agent One) attempt to enter Castle Wolfenstein dressed as SS officers. Unfortunately, that doesn't work for them. A large sadist named Rudi Jager and the commander of the castle and head of the SS Paranormal Division, Helga Von Schabbs, uncovers them while they're attempting to locate the folder containing Deathshead's whereabouts and they're captured. Wesley is killed, and the body is thrown to Jager's dogs. When BJ is strapped into the electric chair for his turn at being tortured, he's able to break free, hurt Rudi Jager and kill his dog.
BJ escapes the castle and makes it to Paderborn, a nearby village. He meets with a resistance leader, Ludwig Kessler, who runs a tavern and is providing shelter for a Jewish girl named Annette. Jager attacks the bar wearing power armor, but BJ kills him. With more Nazis on their way, BJ, Kessler, and Annette flee to the village of Wulfburg where Helga is working on an archeological excavation.
Upon arriving at Wulfburg, Blazkowicz meets with OSA operative Agent Two and disguises himself as a waiter to infiltrate the tavern where Helga is lodged. She again sees through his disguise, but he slips away during an earthquake. The earthquake is caused by the Nazis opening the burial vault of King Otto I, and releases a gas that turns anyone who is dead near Wulfburg into a zombie. BJ fights his way through Nazis and zombies (and Nazi zombies) in an attempt to reach Kessler and Annette.
On his way back to Kessler and Annette, BJ learns that the two have gone into Wulfburg to rescue Annette's friend Katrin. When he arrives BJ finds them on a collapsing bridge, and you're given a choice on who to save, Annette or Kessler. Whichever one you choose lives while the other one is killed by zombies. Afterwards, BJ heads to the excavation site to find Helga. He locates her within King Otto's vault and finds the source of the zombie gas: a giant supernatural creature called The Monstrosity. Helga can control it for a moment, but it eventually rejects her commands and mortally injures her. BJ then kills it and gets the folder containing Deathshead's location from Helga as she dies. The RAF pilot Fergus Reid picks Blazkowicz up, and they head towards Deathshead's fortress and the beginning of Wolfenstein: The New Order.
What Happened in Wolfenstein: The New Order?
On July 16, 1946, Captain Blazkowicz and a massive amount of aircraft and troops from the Allied forces conducted an attack on SS General Deathshead's fortress in an attempt to decapitate the Nazi war machine. Thus begins Wolfenstein: The New Order. Although BJ successfully infiltrates the compound. He and his team are captured by Deathshead. BJ manages to escape, but in the process receives a grievous head wound that puts him into a coma.
In the meantime, the Third Reich defeats the Allies and occupies much of the world. The UK, the United States, Russia, and other major nations are all brought under the banners of the Nazi regime. Blazkowicz is rescued by Anya Oliwa and her family who run a psychiatric facility in Poland. He stays in a non-responsive state for 14 years. As a Nazi death squad comes to liquidate the asylum's patients as "Untermenschen" (subhuman), BJ awakens just as he's about to be executed. He kills all the Nazis on the facility grounds and rescues Anya, who drives him to her grandparent's house and fills him in on the state of the world.
BJ learns that there is a resistance headquartered in Berlin and that its top members are being held in a Nazi prison. Anya and BJ head to Berlin via train, and during the trip, we meet SS-Obergruppenfurher Frau Irene Engel. She's Deathsheads protege and a complete sadist. She toys with Blazkowicz, giving him a fake test to determine if someone is of Aryan descent before revealing the whole thing was a sham.
BJ and Anya make it to Berlin, and Blazkowicz breaks out the survivor of the incident at Deathshead's fortress 14 years earlier (this can be either Fergus or Wyatt depending on who you choose to live during that sequence). We then learn that the Resistance is led by Caroline Becker, a woman who BJ has met before and who was paralyzed at the hands of the Nazis years earlier.
Once BJ and Anya link up with the Resistance, the group attacks a Nazi base in London. They steal documentation concerning the high-tech research the Third Reich has been conducting that gave them the edge to win the war and several stealth helicopters that will allow them to perform further attacks. They learn that the technology was stolen from a Jewish organization called the Da'at Yichud and find that one of the members of that ancient society has been imprisoned in the Camp Belica concentration camp.
BJ infiltrated Camp Belica, which is run by Frau Engel, and he meets the Da'at Yichud member, Set Roth. Set offers to help the Resistance in exchange for BJ destroying the camp. Blazkowicz can set the robots in the camp against the Nazis and severely injures Frau Engel in during his and Set's escape.
Set reveals that he can take the Resistance to one of the Da'at Yichud caches so that they can arm themselves with technology that will help them take on the Third Reich, but it's located somewhere that can only be reached by submarine. BJ takes a U-Boat, Eva's Hammer, which is the flagship of the Nazi's fleet, and the Resistance obtains the Spindly Torque, a device that can destroy the super-concrete of which many Nazi structures is made.
The nuclear cannon on the stolen U-Boat requires codes from the Nazi lunar base to operate, so BJ takes the identity of a high-ranking Nazi officer assigned to the moon base and after a lot of fighting, gets the codes and returns to Earth. When he gets back, he finds the Nazis have attacked the Resistance base in Berlin and captured several members of the team.
The remaining Resistance members use the U-Boat's nuclear cannon and the Spindly Torque's power to attack Deathshead's compound. BJ can rescue the captured Resistance members and get them out of the compound. He then climbs to Deathshead's laboratory and fights Deathshead. BJ can take down the robot Deathshead commandeers and pulls him out of it, fatally stabbing him. However, Deathshead can pull a grenade, and in his last act, explodes himself and Blazkowicz. BJ survives and is rescued by the Resistance, but lapses into another coma. The Resistance fires the nuclear cannon at Deathsheads compound and obliterates it before the game comes to a close.
What Happens Between Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus?
It appears that The New Colossus will take place several months after the end of The New Order. William "BJ" Blazkowicz is once again in a coma and being cared for by Anya (who is carrying twins, of whom BJ is the father), and the Resistance has been evading the Nazis in the U-Boat Eva's Hammer. After BJ took down Deathshead, it seems Frau Engel took the whole thing to heart and is now hunting down the team with a massive airship.
Engel has managed to get a pretty big promotion from SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer (Lieutenant Colonel) to SS-Obergruppenfuhrer (Lieutenant General), so it's possible she's stepped up to fill Deathshead's former position as Minister of Advanced Research. Whether she'll be the main antagonist of The New Colossus, or if there's someone more sinister in the shadows remains to be seen.
Engel manages to track the submarine down, and it's during her assault on the vessel that BJ snaps awake, and starts taking down Nazis. Eventually, BJ and the Resistance will decide that starting a revolution in America, across the sea from the German's seat of power, will be the best way to begin the downfall of the Third Reich, and it's that purpose that the plot will revolve around.
When Does Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus Come Out?
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus will release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 27, and the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2018.