It's not often thought of in these terms, but Wolfenstein is one of gaming's oldest active franchises. Its origins go back more than 35 years, when it started out as a rudimentary top-down action game. But it wasn't until 1992, when Wolfenstein 3D was released, that it truly rose to prominence.
In our latest "History Of" episode, GameSpot's Jean-Luc explores the entire Wolfenstein series, which--with the upcoming release of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus--now spans more than eight games, depending on how you count them. None of these have been as impactful as Wolfenstein 3D, which effectively established the first-person shooter genre, leveraging experiments with 3D graphics conducted by legendary designer John Carmack. But the contributions of Silas Warner--an early game developer who designed the original Castle Wolfenstein--should not be forgotten, as outlined in the video.
Despite the post-Wolfenstein 3D years seeing the series focus almost exclusively on single-player first-person shooters, there have been some offshoots. Most notably, there's Wolfenstein RPG (a twist on Wolfenstein 3D) and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (a free multiplayer spin-off).
Wolfenstein II releases on October 27 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One--it's just one of multiple big game releases this week. With open, real-world support of Nazis seemingly on the rise, publisher Bethesda has not shied away from the anti-Nazi imagery and message that has long underpinned the entire series. For more, check out our roundup of everything you need to know about Wolfenstein II.