William Joseph B.J. Blaskowicz. He may not be a household name, like the Marios and Laras of the video game world, but for many fans
of first person shooters, the protagonist of the Wolfenstein series is a downright hero.
First seen in 1992's "Wolfenstein 3D", he's appeared in most of the Wolfenstein series and, most
recently, got a new look for the recently released "Wolfenstein: The New Order".
We spoke with Tommy Tordsson Bjork, Narrative Designer
at MachineGames, about the challenges of redesigning such an iconic character.
"We looked back on older games as starting point," Bjork said. "We
looked at all the games that had been made in the Wolfenstein series and picked
the one that we thought were the most appropriate as a starting point for this
style of reboot."
That was, of course, Wolfenstein 3D -- the game that
introduced us to the character of B.J.
"This is the game that really started the entire
first-person shooter genre," says Bjork.
"The redesign was a daunting task to take on, but we were all
excited to do it. Most of us grew up on games like this -- Wolfenstein 3D was
the first FPS I played on my brother's PC. So, definitely daunting, but also
MachineGames did, of course, look at the other Wolfenstein games for inspiration. But according to Bjork "there's not a lot
of detail about him as a character in the other games -- the focus is on his
actions, on what he does".
One thing that was always settled in the minds of the developers was B.J.'s 'dirty blonde' locks.
definitely didn't want B.J. with the black hair from Wolfenstein 2009 -- we wanted
to get back to the original dirty blonde of the Wolfenstein 3D game," says Bjork.
But wasn't B.J. a little more ginger back then? Not according to Matthies.
guys at id informed us that the red hair on Wolfenstein 3D’s B.J. was due to
the limitations of the colour palette back then. The intention was always to
have him be dirty blonde, so that's what we did."
A few people have noted that B.J. now bears a resemblance to German actor Til Schweiger -- especially as Hugo Stiglitz in "Inglourious Basterds". However, MachineGames assures us that the similar look is "purely a coincidence".