Wolfhound Is A Rad-Looking WWII Metroidvania Where You Kill Mutant Nazis

Wolfhound Is A Rad-Looking WWII Metroidvania Where You Kill Mutant Nazis

There’s no shortage of Metroidvanias out there, but none of them are set in World War II and pit you against diabolic Nazi experiments. That’s the elevator pitch for Wolfhound, a surprise new retro-inspired project from Bit Kid, the developer of 2018’s gorgeous pixel-art dungeon-scroller Chasm.

Revealed during the IGN Live showcase last week, Wolfhound was easy to miss among the hundreds of new game announcements, updates, and trailers, but it immediately caught my eye thanks to the unusual setting and killer style. You play as Capt. Chuck “Wolfhound” Rossetti, a one-man army tasked with infiltrating a secret Nazi base in the Bermuda Triangle. In classic Metroidvania fashion, there’s plans for a sprawling 2D map, special abilities that unlock new areas, and tons of different guns, from flamethrowers to more experimental weapons.

Here’s the trailer:

James Petruzzi, the head of Bit Kid, told me in an interview that he was inspired to make Wolfhound after playing 2017’s The Mummy Demastered, a retro run-and-gun where every time you die and come back, you have to kill your old self to continue. He wanted to do something similar set in World War II, partly as an homage to his grandfather, a WWII vet who had recently died.

“My grandfather passed during the the making of Chasm, and when we went to the funeral afterwards my dad had gotten out all these old photos he took while he was in Europe, and made a big collage out of them,” Petruzzi said. “And so when Chasm was over I was really interested in getting all those photos, scanning them, restoring them, and all that.”

On the backs of the photos were short captions written by his grandfather, which became the inspiration for Wolfhound’s titular hero. “This is the guy that just ran up Omaha Beach, almost died, and then a few days later there’s all these German soldiers walking down the road, and he writes on the back, like, ‘More of Hitler’s supermen,” he said. “I kind of try to take that perspective he had and put it in the game.”

Gif: Bit Kid

Petruzzi has been working on Wolfhound with some contract developers for a few years now but it’s still potentially a ways off. He’s trying to take his time this go around, especially after crunching on the development of Chasm, a procedural medieval metroidvania whose flaws and mixed reception still seem to weigh on him.

“When we did Chasm we kind of had that romantic crunch culture, you know, it’s, ‘Oh, we’re going to work so hard day and night and we’re going to make our dream game,’” Petruzzi said. “Five years goes by and all your friends are going ‘You’re like a shell of a person’ because you’re completely burned out. And I was like, okay, and my wife, you know, at the same time was like, ‘You can’t do that again.’”

He and the Chasm team, who ended up going their separate ways, pushed out several updates to address player feedback and improve the game after launch, and he says the long-tail has been strong enough to give him the freedom not to rush with his next game. “We’re trying to stay much more steady with not working weekends and nights and all that,” he said.

“It gets a little crazy sometimes where you get stressed out and just want to get things done, but you kind of have to have some of that self-control and just be like, ‘It’s going to be there Monday.’ It’s just not worth it, because that slippery slope just keeps going and then when you start talking years of time it’s like, I can’t go through that again. So, yeah, it’s not easy, but I’m just trying to do my best and do my best by the team.”

I hope it pans out. Wolfhound looks like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see the finished game. With Wolfhound, Petruzzi is ditching the procedural levels in favor of a hand-crafted map. “There’s just something appealing to making something hand-designed this time,” he said. “I spent a couple of years just working on it in my spare time as I was kind of decompressing from Chasm development and catching up on other games and just trying to figure out what I wanted it to be and what would be fun to work on for several years of my life.”

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