Return to Castle Wolfenstein – Trivia

 

Story

Castle

Castle Wolfenstein is based on Castle Wewelsburg which Heinrich Himmler used for occult rituals and practices.

Cable car

The cable car in the castle is based on the 1968 movie Where Eagles Dare, where a U.S. Army Brigadier General is captured and taken prisoner to the Schloß Adler, a fortress high in the Alps above the town of Werfen, only reachable by cable car, and the headquarters of the German Secret Service in southern Bavaria.

Language mix

Some posters in the game, don’t have a German description, but it is in Dutch!

Weapons

Gray Matter Studios really did their research for this game. In-game, you find the following guns:

  • Luger, MP-40 and the Sten which use 9mm ammo.
  • Colt and Thompson that requires .45caliber.
  • Mauser and the FG42 that require 7.92mm.

These guns were manufactured and commonly used during WWII. Gray Matter even included a temperature gauge for the Sten, since the real life counterpart had a tendency to burn the hands if the user sustained fire for a period of time. A sizzling sound would trigger every time your hands would be burnt. The developers also took great efforts in modeling the guns and stock cartridges.

Some weapons in the game are fictional, but the M1S Snooper Rifle does really exist. It is based on the M3 Carbine and uses .30 caliber ammunition.

Planes

Throughout the game, there are plenty of strange rocket planes, jet planes and flying wings. Although most of these are just fiction, (at least) two are actual WWII German designs:

  • The Ba317 “Cobra”, used in B.J. Blazkowicz’ escape from the Balkan rocket base and general “Deathshead”‘s escape from the X-labs in Norway, is actually the Bachem Ba349 “Natter”. The only difference is the lack of external booster rockets. However, throughout the game you see posters with the blueprints for the Cobra, and the booster rockets are shown attached. Also, “Natter” is German for “adder”, not far from “Cobra”.
  • The odd jet plane being produced in the bombed out factory in Kugelstadt, is actually a Heinkel He162 “Salamander”.

Dangerous coffee

In the Balkans rocket base, pasted on the door of a badly scorched airplane hangar at the airfield, there is a note warning air crews about cooking coffee in the fuel destillers, as this can cause explosions. The note is written by a major Vorsichtig, german for “Careful”.

Strangelove

In Paderborn village, in the psychic’s house, there is a letter to a doctor Merkwurdigliebe. Dr. Merkwürdigliebe, meaning Dr. Strangelove, is a character from Docteur Folamour.

Fjord and submarine

At the Secret Weapons Facility in Kugelstadt, as general “Deathshead” escapes in the nick of time in his submarine, the interrogation of the local commander gives his destination in occupied Norway at 67°N 16°E, a secret base under a mountain by a fjord. This location *is* actually a mountain by a fjord in the north of Norway.

Stalag 13

The five people chosen for assassination in one mission are names of Germans in the TV show Stalag 13 (aka “Hogan’s Heroes”).

 

Development

Music

  • Record players can be heard playing either Für Elise or Moonlight Sonata, both composed by Germany’s own Ludwig Von Beethoven.
  • Bill Brown’s score for this game was influenced by war movies made during the late 50’s to the late 60’s. Movies like The Bridge on the River Kwaii and The Dirty Dozen.

Technology

The developers included a unique set of motion captured animations for each character. Gray Matter also incorporated a skeletal animation system so they could articulate the models in a fluid and realistic way.

They also incorporated a brand new music system to change with the scene, much like LucasArts Imuse system.

 

Distribution

Bonus

On X-Box version (only), if you beat the game, you will unlock Wolfenstein 3D.

German index

On February 28, 2002, the English version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. The German version followed April 30, 2002.

In addition, the game is violating §86a of Germany’s penal code (for using characteristics of unconstitutional organizations), therefore it is illegal to produce, distribute, import, export and use it in the public. But this does not mean it is illegal to just own the game.

German version

For the German release, the story was altered: You fight against the “Wolf-Sekte” (Cult of the Wolf), which is very dangerous to the freedom of the country because of their dark experiments.

That’s it. Nothing else. No word of Himmler and his dark plans, no Nazis at all. It is clear that this “background” was made up for the only purpose of getting the game past the German feds – the word “Nazi” is a red sheet for them. They altered some of the names, too: Himmler is now called “Holler” and Oberst von Bülow has been renamed too. With this new storyline, the game makes absolutely no sense.

The funniest thing about this is the packaging which shows Doktor Zan (appearing at the very beginning of the game when he fries our comrade) – and on his jacket, you can clearly see the Nazi emblem (an eagle sitting on a circle in which is a swastika).

Even more changes to the German version, most of them regarding speech:

  • The “Horst-Wessel-Lied” (a Nazi song) was changed to a classical piece – the same is being played on a record player in the first outdoor mission. Seems they put it together in a hurry.
  • A picture of the “Führer” (Hitler) was changed to an odd-looking guy without beard but with the well-known army cap. Found in a more-or-less secret room in the village (accessible via the rooftops).
  • a speech of Hitler about the Reichstag (map: dam) was deleted and replaced by classical music
  • The speech “Wie geht’s, Willie?” (How are you, Willie?) has been replaced by “Was ist passiert, Willie?” (What happened, Willie?), removing any sense from this talk.
  • A drunk soldier in the wine cellar under the cafe (map: village1) babbles: “Shut up you slowenian swine”. In the German version, the word “slowenian” was removed.
  • In the labs, someone asks “What are your orders, Herr Oberführer?”. This was changed to “What are your orders, pack leader?”.
  • A voice of the generic German soldier was changed: In US, he said “Halt, Schweinehund!” (Stop, you pig!) – in Germany, he says “Halt, Verräter!” (Stop, traitor!), removing the profanity.

Anti-Semitic video game

In March 2008, the United States Department of State published a report to Congress, “Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism”, that described Return to Castle Wolfenstein as an “anti-Semitic video game” with no qualifications. The report picked up on an article originally written in 2002 by Jonathan Kay of the New York Times regarding the recent introduction of “Nazi protagonists” in the online gaming market (referring specifically to Day of Defeat and Wolfenstein). The article was published just 19 days before Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was released which shares many similar features, and the Nazi protagonists in multiplayer.

Todd Hollenshead, chief executive of id Software at the time of the original article stated:

“The trend you’re seeing with new games is, to some extent, a reflection of what’s going in the culture … For instance, you’ve now got games with terrorists and counterterrorists. And World War II games such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Day of Defeat reflect what you see in popular movies… I don’t doubt there are going to be people that go out and distort what the multiplayer gaming experience is and say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you guys did this.’ There are a lot of critics of the game industry, and they look for things to criticize.”

 

 

Source: WikipediaMobyGames, IMDB

 

 

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