How 'Youngblood' Co-op Reinvents The 'Wolfenstein' Campaign

B.J. Blazkowicz and the Kreisau Circle may have set off the Second American Revolution at the end of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, but much of the rest of the world is still under Nazi control, 20 years later, in the 1980s of Wolfenstein: Youngblood.

In Youngblood, players will don Da'at Yichud power suits as either the brash Jessica or the idealistic Sophia, B.J.'s twin daughters, who leave the U.S. for Paris to track down their missing dad, in what Jerk Gustafsson, executive producer at MachineGames, who worked in close collaboration with Dishonored developer Arkane Studios for Youngblood, describes as a "spin-off continuation of the story in New Colossus."

You'll always have a Nazi-killing partner in "Wolfenstein: Youngblood." Bethesda Softworks

"The difference here is that New Colossus was a story that's very dark, especially the part with B.J.'s abusive father," Gustafsson told Newsweek. "The Youngblood story is much different. It's much lighter. It comes much more from love. These girls grew up in quite a different situation. They grew up in a family of love. Of course, their parents have prepared them for years in what may come. But it's about the bond between these sisters and also the transition from childhood to adulthood and setting out on this great adventure."

One of the biggest resulting changes is how the campaign is structured. Rather than the blockbuster movie pacing of The New Order and The New Colossus, which relies heavily on pre-rendered cutscenes, Youngblood will have a non-linear campaign, where Jess and Soph can choose which mission to take on next, visiting different Parisian districts via unlockable Metro stops.

Youngblood is set in a hyper-charged, 1980s version of the Nazi's French occupation (there won't be any space jaunts to audition for Hitler on Venus this time), swapping the fascistic Americana of The New Colossus—where hard right groups like the KKK make natural allies for the Nazi occupiers—with the underdog French Resistance. The Nazis tore down the Eiffel Tower, replacing it with the Sieg (Victory) Tower: one of four "Oppression Towers" looming over Paris. Each is a focal point in Youngblood—four major missions and the focus of the preparations you'll make throughout the rest of the campaign.

"Everything comes from the decision to go co-op, which we decided very early," Gustafsson described. "As you communicate with your co-op partner, we wanted to give players that freedom of: 'What mission do you want to do next?'"

Soph and Jess Blazkowicz in "Wolfenstein: Youngblood." Bethesda Softworks

Missions and environments in Youngblood have been retooled from previous series entries—designed for two players to complement each other in combat—but cascades through the presentation too, such as in the real-time rendered cutscenes, which enables duos to go Nazi hunting in different skins for Soph and Jess.

The campaign in Youngblood isn't as sprawling as the two previous Wolfenstein entries, but Gustafsson describes the total amount of gameplay as longer, potentially making Youngblood the biggest overall entry in the series. This is due in large part to the new leveling system, which builds on B.J.'s "Perks" with increased customizability and deeper RPG elements.

"We focus a lot on giving players many different abilities, especially when it comes to customizing your weapons, so that you can take on a challenge in many, many different ways," Gustafsson said, describing more than 150 possible upgrades, which interact with Abilities unlocked as players level. It's more than ten times the weapon configurations possible in New Colossus. Weapons in Youngblood include returning favorites, like the shotgun shell-spewing Hammergewehr, new additions like the Uzi, and even a gun returning from the previous Wolfenstein spin-off, Old Blood's bolt-action Bombenschuss. Every weapon will be upgradeable, with everything from larger magazines to silencers.

"We decided to do a lot of things with this game that were outside of our comfort zone," Gustafsson said. "We had been working with this very narrative-driven, single-player campaign for almost 20 years, and the changes we are making in this game are substantial."

Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be out for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on July 26, with a Stadia version to follow.