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Bethesda return to Return to Castle Wolfenstein with mystifying Steam beta


Gray Matter were the lot behind Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Don’t pretend to remember them. They made Wolfenstein, and that first Call of Duty expansion with the plane that got riddled with holes and made us all very excited. Then half of their team were fused to Treyarch, and the rest scattered to the four winds / found gainful employment elsewhere.

So they’re gone. But true to the game’s fictional conceit, new license owners Bethesda appear to be resurrecting Castle Wolfenstein without the minds that once powered it.

Neogaffer pa22word happened upon an opt-in beta for the 12-year-old game on Steam, and promptly downloaded a new 496Kb patch.

After updating, pa22word reports that the game now asks players to choose between single and multiplayer upon starting the game – though the multiplayer option current fails to boot, citing a missing executable. With any luck, that gap will be filled with Splash Damage’s excellent (if aged) Enemy Territory.

Wolfenstein’s old .exe appears to have been replaced with a fanmade one – that of modder Knightmare’s unofficial v1.42a patch. The patch equips the game to run via contemporary video drivers, and adds fully native widescreen support. It’s based on the game’s source code, released by John Carmack in 2010.

If we were to draw some early conclusions, they’d feature a pencil sketch of MachineGames’ upcoming Wolfenstein: The New Order, a colourful illustration of the E3 logo, and the word ‘PROMO’, scrawled in felt tip. What would yours look like?