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The last we heard of a movie based on Wolfenstein was five years ago, when the Writers Guild strike gummed up the works. But you can't keep a good bad idea down, because distributor Panorama Media and producer Samuel Hadida have announced that Castle Wolfenstein is back on-track.
Canadian director Roger Avary, who won an Academy Award for co-writing Pulp Fiction, is slated to direct the film. His other work hasn't been as highly regarded, consisting of writing credits for Silent Hill and directing credit for Killing Zoe, which was executive produced by Quentin Tarantino. Avary has been attached to direct the film from the beginning, but by the time the WGA strike ended in February 2008 he was facing a charge for vehicular manslaughter, to which he later pleaded guilty.
The movie will follow two lead characters, a US Army Captain and British Special Agent on a top-secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein. Hitler himself is paying a visit to the titular castle to debut a new weapon to his Nazi buddies. The two strapping lads have to fight Hitler's SS Paranormal Division, and presumably destroy the weapon so that Hitler can't take over "ze vurld."
The announcement claims the film will be an action-adventure reminiscent of Captain America and Inglorious Basterds. It seems a little counter-intuitive to acknowledge the existence of Basterds, though. At that point, why would a Wolfenstein movie need to happen at all?
Gamers have been waiting a long time since Ken Levine and company unveiled BioShock Infinite. And the wait is only getting longer, with the game now delayed to 2013. Could a new multiplayer mode be behind the lengthy delay? Then, the creators of Ratchet & Clank and Resistance spread their wings to social games. Outernauts is a new effort from Insomniac... but why does it sound so familiar? Finally, the classic FPS Wolfenstein celebrates its birthday by going completely free to play.
Check out today's episode of Shacknews Daily.
What did you get yer old pal B.J. Blazkowicz for his birthday? Come now, surely you didn't forget that it's the 20th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D's launch this month? Luckily, id Software and Bethesda haven't, and have given us all a free browser-based version of its seminal shooter. John Carmack has also given a director's commentary, full of the usual fascinating Carmackchat.
You can play the snazzy HTML 5 version of Wolf 3D if you're browsing in Firefox 10, Chrome 16, Internet Explorer 9, Safari 5, or newer. Fingers crossed that your work computer is updated vaguely frequently.
The iOS version is also going temporarily free in the App Store some time later today.
id Software got distracted by Doom and Quake after the release of a Wolf 3D prequel, but the series returned in 2001 with Return to Castle Wolfenstein from Grey Matter and Nerve Software. Splash Damage followed this with the superb free multiplayer spin-off Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, then the last entry in the series was Raven's Wolfenstein in 2009.
Here's Carmack's commentary on Wolf 3D:
The RtCW source code can be downloaded from FileShack, with separate multiplayer and singleplayer components, as can the Enemy Territory source code. All are licensed under version 3 of the GNU General Public License.
id's chief technical wizard John Carmack had promised that the RtCW and Enemy Territory source code would be released soon after QuakeCon 2009. He explained yesterday that they were so delayed as he had been too busy to clear them with legal.
Carmack explained that these things aren't always as clear cut as the community might think, as it opens the company up for liability if someone somewhere used a bit of code that wasn't original or they didn't have the rights to use. Despite that, Bethesda decided to okay the source releases.
This is the latest in a long line of source releases from id, who has so far shared the source code for all its engines from Wolfenstein 3D up to Quake 3: Arena. Carmack teased that id would start looking into releasing the Doom 3 source after Rage ships.