As the series protagonist, across most releases, William “BJ” Blazkowicz has a long and storied history in the Wolfenstein franchise. In recent years, the character has experienced a resurgence with regards to popularity, courtesy of the rebooted series developed by Swedish studio MachineGames.
The reboot, which begins with 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, masterfully evolves BJ’s characterization, previously crafted by id Software. He’s much more than a stoic soldier fighting the good fight in an alternate history World War II. However, there exists a few things that fans new to Wolfenstein may not yet be privy to. The list below examines 10 such details.
10 BJ DEBUTS IN THE THIRD WOLFENSTEIN TITLE
Blazkowicz’ name may be synonymous with Wolfenstein’s brand, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, neither of the franchise’s first two entries features the blue-eyed hero. BJ entered the fray when id Software got its hand on the series with 1992’s Wolfenstein 3D.
Since Wolfenstein 3D warrants praise as the pioneer of first-person shooters, Blazkowicz has long been integral to the evolution of gaming. Thus, he should be celebrated as such. Thankfully, MachineGames’ reboot series has gracefully succeeded in doing just that. With a few more Wolfenstein titles set to launch from the studio, hopes are high such success continues.
9 BJ WAS A RED HEAD BECAUSE OF COLOR LIMITATIONS
Upon his Wolfenstein 3D debut in 1992, BJ Blazkowicz donned a red head of hair. This isn’t what id Software intended, however. According to MachineGames’ Jen Matthies, the team at id told The New Order studio that Blazkowicz was originally meant to have dirty blonde hair. Yet, due to “color palette” limitations, red is all the developers could muster.
With id Software’s original plans in mind, the team at MachineGames decided to return Blazkowicz to his dirty blonde look for its recently rebooted Wolfenstein series. It’s worked wonders, too. He certainly wears blonde better than the black hair featured in 2009’s Wolfenstein installment.
8 HE HAS A SON IN SHOWBIZ
As far as the celebrated MachineGames Wolfenstein series is concerned, whether or not BJ Blazkowicz fathers a son remains to be seen. However, prior to the reboot with 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, Blazkowicz has a son named Arthur. Rather than follow in his old man’s footsteps, Arthur joins show business and eventually becomes a talk show host.
When making the transition to the life of showbiz, Arthur changes his last name from Blazkowicz to Blaze. Fans of other id Software titles may recognize this particular surname as the one belonging to Commander Keen’s star, Billy Blaze.
7 BJ IS GRANDFATHER TO COMANNDER KEEN'S HERO
The Blazkowicz family tree is quite intriguing. In fact, the lineage of this particular family has managed to make its way into other id Software titles, such as the side-scrolling series Commander Keen. This franchise’s protagonist, many may be surprised to find, is actually grandson to BJ Blazkowicz.
Commander Keen was even named after his paternal grandfather. While the Commander’s birth certificate reads, William Joseph Blazkowicz II, he most commonly goes by the name of Billy Blaze. It is an interesting play on the family name, which certainly helps to set him apart from the rest of the clan.
6 DOOMGUY IS BJ'S DESCENDANT
Doomguy, the player character in id Software’s DOOM series, has never received a proper identity. This is most notably due to first-person protagonists not requiring details of this nature in the genre’s nascent stage, as the player was meant to envision themselves in such roles.
Recently, however, information concerning Doomguy’s heritage has surfaced online, which works to bridge the gap between a number of id Software’s beloved games. According to id Software co-founders John Romero and Tom Hall, BJ Blazkowicz is Doomguy’s great-grandfather. Interestingly, it appears this particular tidbit is not relayed in either DOOM or Wolfenstein franchises.
5 BJ STARRED IN A GERMAN FILM ABOUT DRACULA
2005 saw the release of the German film, Der Goldene Nazivampir von Absam 2. In the film, actor Daniel Krauss plays BJ Blazkowicz, who must sneak into the Austrian Alps and infiltrate Kottlitz Castle. Blazkowicz’ mission is to uncover intelligence concerning a wide variety of conspiracies.
One conspiracy is with regards to “miracle weapons.” Meanwhile, others center on secret movies and underground experiments by mad scientists. The most bizarre bit of information BJ has to find, though? Evidence as to who could be responsible for the theft of Count Dracula’s remains. The film didn’t review well, but some fans may find it worth a watch.
4 SHARES A VOICE WITH CAPTAIN AMERICA
The prolific Brian Bloom serves as the man behind BJ Blazkowicz in MachineGames’ rebooted Wolfenstein franchise. Many may remember Bloom as the winner of an Emmy in 1985 for As the World Turns and as Pike in 2010’s The A-Team. He’s been tapped for an inconceivable amount of voice-over work, as well, including the voice of Captain America.
Most notably, Bloom has provided the voice for Cap throughout much of the Marvel vs Capcom fighting series. Additionally, Bloom’s lent his voice to the Marvel character for The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes TV series, Marvel Heroes, and a few other projects.
3 HIS STORY HAS BEEN REBOOTED MORE THAN ONCE
The launch of Wolfenstein: The New Order does not represent the stole reboot in the series for BJ Blazkowicz. On the contrary, it marks the second time Blazkowicz’ character has been rebooted. Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which hit store shelves in 2001, serves as the first example.
This entry is set in 1943, and sees Blazkowicz venture into Egypt, as well as other parts of the world, to investigate paranormal activity spearheaded by the Nazi Regime. Interestingly, Return to Castle Wolfenstein’s sequel, simply titled Wolfenstein, did not release until August 2009. The 2009 title was the final one released prior to MachineGames’ launching its 2014 effort.
2 DEATHSHEAD BOSS FIGHT REFERENCES WOLFENSTEIN 3D
Wolfenstein: The New Order’s final showdown between General Deathshead and Blazkowicz features a couple of nods to the boss fight between Hitler and Blazkowicz in Wolfenstein 3D. Both Hitler and Deathshead yell the following insult at the protagonist, “Die, Allied Schweinehund.” Additionally, there exists a visual parallel between the two boss fights.
In Wolfenstein 3D, Hitler dons a massive mech suit to take on the American soldier. General Deathshead wears something similar in his battle against Blazkowicz. Even the designs of the two mech suits appear to bear several similarities, though the difference in graphical fidelity leaves plenty to be desired where Wolfenstein 3D is concerned.
1 WHEELCHAIR SKATEBOARDING INSPIRED WOLFENSTEIN II
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus’ incredible opening segment is inspired by wheelchair skateboarding. At the start of the sequel, Blazkowicz’ paralyzation hinders his movement from the waist down. Yet, when it’s time to start shooting, stabbing, and killing Nazis, he doesn’t let his disability totally immobilize him.
Instead, Blazkowicz grabs a wheelchair, allowing the player to traverse Wolf 2’s first level in a mind-boggling way. According to Game Designer Jacob Eriksson, the idea came from watching videos of people in wheelchairs performing tricks at skateparks. Apparently, MachineGames thought it would be a cool gameplay segment to implement in a game.