‘Wolfenstein II’s Creative Director on Managing Everyone’s Crazy Ideas

Jeremy Ray
PC Gaming Games
PC Gaming Games

On a big project like Wolfenstein II, everyone has their own ideas on how the game should be made. Jens Matthies, creative director at MachineGames, has always been quite philosophical about the oxymoron “managing creativity”.

According to him, every human developer has their blind spots, and it’s up to everyone around them to keep an eye on them. That includes himself — to avoid an “emperor’s new clothes” situation, he fully welcomes MachineGames staff to call him out on bad ideas. Just like he would for them.

Not that it’s a democracy. Matthies reserves the right to put his foot down, otherwise things would get too messy and counterproductive. But it’s clear that he really believes in this system. No one should be able to get what they want all of the time, or you’ll inevitably end up with glaring weaknesses.

In the video above, Matthies goes into how creative conflicts are resolved amongst the team, and how they try to get all of that done in the early stages of production so everyone can move forward as one.

He stopped short of giving specific examples from The New Colossus for spoiler reasons, but he managed to speak frankly while also being vague. He also talks about the motion capture techniques of the studio. Each scene contains not only voice acting, but fully acted out body movements — including building every single prop that you might see in a cutscene.

Our time with Wolfenstein II so far has been quite positive, and we certainly haven’t noticed any weak points. The amount of gameplay anyone has experienced so far has been very controlled, but it’s still quite promising.

It’s early days, but The New Colossus looks like it not only has some crazy action sequences, but also a decent amount of laughs.

Jeremy Ray
Managing Editor at FANDOM. Decade-long games critic and esports aficionado. Started in competitive Counter-Strike, then moved into broadcast, online, print and interpretative pantomime. You merely adopted the lag. I was born in it.
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