There are a lot of stories that games can tell, but some stories don’t get told because of the powers that be. Games are a business, and with that comes compromise. This Fantasy Game Sequels blog series is dedicated to stories about games that wouldn’t make sense to put out, but would be a good story nonetheless; stories that would shake off the old tropes of the sequel machine and push the boundaries of well established franchises. So, I would like to start this series with a game series close to my heart, Wolfenstein.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of my favorite video games. The gameplay was fun and addicting, but the best part of the game for me was the story. The company behind the game, MachineGames, was able to give a character like BJ Blazkowicz so much depth in a genre of games that isn’t known to give their protagonists vulnerability or any real personality. It’s a very depressing story, with a lot of horrors and intense imagery.
Throughout the game, Billy has these very introspective thoughts: he’s scared, frustrated, tired, and angry at different points of the game. He isn’t this blank avatar for the player to live out a gruesome fantasy, he’s a half-Jewish man from Texas trying to save the world from evil. He is the idealized version of the Greatest Generation, right down to his fantasy of having a nuclear family and grilling in the backyard. The player wants Billy to get that fantasy. The most depressing thing about Billy is he is resigned to the fact that he is destined to die.
The game opens with his fantasy: he shoots it down in his head with “These things. None of them for me.” Throughout the game, he has these thoughts, and it’s all the more reason for Billy to have died at the end of The New Order. It would have a been a fitting end, a brutal blow to the player, but more powerful. The game ends with him mortally wounded and his mission completed, he looks down to see his partner, Anya holding a lantern shepherding the rest of their team to safety. He recites The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus as Fergus primes the nuke to destroy the building Billy is in. In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Billy was saved inexplicably, though still extremely wounded.
BUT WHAT IF???
It felt kind of cheap to me, even though I liked the game for what it was and I understand why they chose to bring him back for the sequel. But, what if they didn’t have to bring Billy back to make a sequel? What if they made a choice to change the series in a big way? What if Anya took the helm as the Nazi killing machine that was Billy Blazkowicz?
How It Should Go Down
The first scene would be a shot of Anya in the helicopter. It’s quiet, all you can hear are the blades spinning and Anya sniffling. The nuke on General Deathshead’s castle has already been dropped. They all know Billy was still in the castle. She holds on for as long as she can before bursting into tears. This is what would make her a perfect analog for Billy. She may not be as strong or brave, but his influence has changed her into something greater than she was. She’ll have the same doubts as Billy did, the same unachievable hopes and dreams that fueled Billy. Over the course of the game, you can see the hardening of Anya over time. They get back to Ava’s Hammer (their submarine hideout) to figure out what to do next. Caroline decides that they continue on with the plan and link up with the American resistance fighters.
Stateside, the last form of resistance takes form in the Black Panther party and various militias throughout the South. Before meeting up, the get intelligence of a research facility in Gulf Breeze, Florida. They raid the facility and get ahold of a top-secret aircraft that allows them to zoom across the states undetected. They meet up with different resistance strongholds, better arming them for the coming revolution. It would be a nice role reversal of the timeline, Europeans coming to the rescue of the Americans. It would also be a chance to see a very difficult conversation about the framing of the movement and how to handle who should be the face of the resistance.
The Kreisau Circle decides to stay out of the politics of the resistance and go under the command of the American resistance. Frau Engle, still on a warpath in the Ausmerzer (a gigantic military airship) for her beloved Bubi, eventually captures Anya. This is where, through torture and examination, we find out Anya is pregnant with Billy’s child. A big reveal and a scary moment for Anya. Engle taunts her with the possible ending of the Blazkovicz bloodline. During this exchange, security alarms go off as Caroline and American resistance fighters put on a brazen rescue of Anya, badly injured. In the fray, Caroline is killed and her body is soon recovered. Anya dons the Da’at Yichud power armor and assumes command of the Kreisau Circle.
She keeps her pregnancy a secret. Frau, sensing that the resistance is weak, puts out an offensive that wipes out half of the resistance strongholds in the U.S. She doesn’t get the Kreisau Circle. In order to draw them out, she displays Billy’s corpse recovered from the rubble of General Deathshead’s Castle. It works. Anya hatches a plan to recover Billy, it doesn’t go as planned and she squares off with Frau Engle on the Ausmerzer for Billy’s body. She eventually beats Frau and kills her. She rovers Billy’s body as the Kreisau Circle takes over the Ausmerzer. The Kreisau Circle becomes the face of the resistance after taking the Ausmerzer.
I hope you all enjoyed this re-imagining of the game. Please stay tuned for my next blog post in the Fantasy Game Sequels series: Half-life 3.
Featured image credit: Machine Games