As promised, The Dark Army: Downfall is back this month, a half-year after its official reveal. In case you haven't noticed, today marks the eight birthday of Wolfenstein (2009). As you all know, The Dark Army experience is meant to bridge the gap between the classic and the current episodes of the famous franchise, thus it is set chronologically between the aforementioned game and The Old Blood, which was released in 2015. That's why today is the day for an exclusive Q&A Interview, in partnership with WolfWatch.
The last time we directly published a Q&A Interview was in 2014, but earlier this year we had the chance to be interviewed by WolfWatch. So we have decided to answer some of your questions related to The Dark Army: Downfall, but also the upcoming RTCWCOOP Anniversary Upgrade (which is coming October 5), The Dark Army: Uprising and other projects! Additionally, this interview will feature an unreleased 2015 talk with some of the voice actors of The Dark Army: Uprising.
"The blazing conclusion of The Dark Army"
How can you describe The Dark Army: Downfall?
The Dark Army: Downfall is the second part of The Dark Army. It is the direct continuation of its prequel, The Dark Army: Uprising. The Dark Army experience is meant to bridge the gap between the classic and the current episodes of the Wolfenstein franchise, thus it is set chronologically between Wolfenstein (2009) and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. Be aware tho that The Dark Army: Downfall is not "the second half" of The Dark Army: it's the second part, and it's not equal in size to The Dark Army: Uprising. The Dark Army was split into two indeed, but both parts are not equal. As it was stated during its reveal back in February, The Dark Army: Downfall is the core of The Dark Army experience. It is the blazing conclusion of The Dark Army, while being longest part of the story. The Dark Army: Uprising can be seen as a prologue, when The Dark Army: Downfall, on its side, can be seen as the main story. The Dark Army: Uprising introduced you to new characters, new game-play mechanics, new character philosophies... which will all be expanded in The Dark Army: Downfall.
"This could be our last project featuring B.J."
What kind of story will be told in this second part?
The Dark Army: Downfall may just be our last project, or the last featuring Wolfenstein's B.J. Blazkowicz as the main character. The story revolves around him in The Dark Army: Downfall. When the story of The Dark Army itself was written back in 2011, it was way shorter than it is actually. When Wolfenstein: The New Order was announced in 2013, to release a year after, the story of The Dark Army had been completely revised, and started more and more to be focused on the main character, B.J. Blazkowicz. As the story became way longer, the project was officially divided in 2014, after the release of the aforementioned game. That's when the goal of The Dark Army became clear: bridge the gap between the episodes of the past, and the current/future ones. Thus the story had to bring something logical at its climax, which would have the player say "Oh damn! That's a clever way to bring the events of the latest games!". Hopefully, the story of The Dark Army: Downfall will have all it needs to make you say that once you will complete the campaign. Don't see the story of this second part as being action-driven: along the franchise's typical action, you'll also find emotional, tragic, yet beautiful moments, especially since this could be our last project featuring B.J. Blazkowicz. There's a deep message to transmit through this aspect of the mod. To conclude on that, all famous quotes used during promotion since 2013 will make 100% sense once you see how the story ends!
"A battle of revenges"
What can you tell us about B.J. in this episode?
In this continuation, B.J. Blazkowicz is tired of war, but more importantly he's bent on revenge on a new antagonist. You may have seen that, in this second part, B.J. is going to team up with Deathshead against "a common enemy", with the fate of the Kreisau Circle at stake. The casual B.J. would have never accepted such a truce, but his thirst for revenge against this "familiar face" is probably one of the reasons that led him to make such a terrible decision. However this new enemy is himself bent on revenge. Thus there's going to be what we could call a 'battle of revenges' between B.J. and that mysterious character! However you'll need to figure that out in-game. In The Dark Army: Downfall just like in The Dark Army: Uprising, B.J. is voiced by the very-talented Matthew Simmons (MegapiemanPHD). For this new episode, we decided to give B.J. a slightly louder voice, and Matthew dealt with it like a pro. He did an excellent job. The reason behind this is mainly to get closer to the voice of this character in current episodes of the Wolfenstein franchise. In The Dark Army: Downfall, B.J. believes that his new mission is going to be his last, and is afraid of the outcome, as he knows something the others ignore.
"Kessler [...] is the leader of the German resistance"
Any word to say on the other characters?
This question has been asked many times: will Karl von Starke, the master in torture who was introduced during the fourth mission of The Dark Army: Uprising, make a return in The Dark Army: Downfall? The answer is yes. Karl von Starke has always been meant to play a great role in The Dark Army. He's not going to be the main antagonist, but his true personality will be revealed in this second part, especially his relation with the mysterious new antagonist. When both Deathshead and him were voiced by Carl Brooks in The Dark Army: Uprising, they will be voiced by the awesome Evan Kapantais in The Dark Army: Downfall, who is also going to voice act "something" nightmarish in this sequel. The Dark Army: Downfall will also have more returning characters; from both Return To Castle Wolfenstein and The Dark Army: Uprising. Kessler, only-mentioned in The Dark Army: Uprising, will make his physical return in The Dark Army: Downfall, and will be voiced by the amazing Max Huggins (TheRenegadist), who already did an amazing job with Jack Stone, and its radio calls in the prequel. Speaking of Jack, he will not be seen much in The Dark Army: Downfall, however he's meant to play a key role in the biggest plot twist of the story. That apart, it doesn't mean the radio calls, which were prominent in The Dark Army: Uprising, will not be present in The Dark Army: Downfall: Kessler is going to take care of this part. The radio-call feature of the first part has been very acclaimed and we understand it, so don't worry. To conclude on Kessler, just know that, in The Dark Army: Downfall, he is the leader of the German resistance, the Kreisau Circle, in Wulfburg at least. That's right: Wulfburg is going to be a location in this sequel. If Kessler were to defend Wulfburg, just know that he will not hesitate to take the big guns to do his job... Finally, I'd like to specify that the many NPCs of The Dark Army: Downfall will have their own voices. Yes indeed: Cody Fleming (crazymancody895), shown an outstanding performance as to make the voices of the Nazis. If we were in 2001, he could very well be hired by Gray Matter Inc. to voice some enemy soldiers in the original game! Joke apart, Cody Fleming also did an excellent job for something related to The Dark Army: Uprising, which we will talk about in due time. To conclude on Cody's work, know that he will be voicing Karl Villigut, who is going to make a short return in The Dark Army: Downfall.
"Revenge is everywhere"
Anything to say about the new characters, such as that main antagonist?
The new main antagonist will be a "familiar face", bent on revenge. B.J. will also be bent on revenge against him, for some reason. Revenge is everywhere. Both sides want to get revenge on each other. Karl von Starke will have a peculiar relation with this new antagonist. More importantly, Deathshead will also want revenge on this individual. You see it now, the battle of revenges? Revenge is everywhere in The Dark Army: Downfall. This new character is voiced by the wonderful Tony Cole-Cocking, who recently joined the project, and who already did some excellent work! You may have guessed it by now: this new antagonist is indeed the leader of the mercenary group behind the attack on Deathshead's base at the end of The Dark Army: Uprising.
"Both surprising and terrifying"
How did you get the paranormal-horror genre fit into your story?
As announced months ago indeed, The Dark Army: Downfall will have paranormal-horror elements. It means it will be both surprising and terrifying at some points. Some elements may not find explanation, and the player will have to find one himself. The nightmarish "something" that Evan Kapantais will be voicing is one of these elements, which will be at the core of the story. Having such elements fit into the story wasn't difficult: the lore of Wolfenstein itself is mostly made of sci-fi and horror stuff, despite featuring many WWII elements.
"Downfall will have weather effects"
How will the immersion be managed in this new episode?
Evan Kapantais, who recently joined the project to voice Deathshead, Karl von Starke and the nightmarish "thing"... will also be the sound designer of this sequel. Many exciting things are to come, given his amazing talent. Many of the original game's sounds will be "remade/remastered", for example. We want to reinforce the player's immersion with high-quality sounds, while keeping the Wolfenstein franchise's spirit, and Evan Kapantais fits this role perfectly. To reinforce immersion, The Dark Army: Downfall will make use of photorealistic textures, coupled with the many visual functionalities of Donny Springer's iortcw engine, which RealRTCW 2.1 uses as a base. High-quality sounds and textures confirmed! What to ask more for total immersion? Oh yeah, wait, that's not all... The Dark Army: Downfall will have weather effects! And it's not long before you see these in action!
"Downfall is going to have an epic soundtrack"
Is it true that The Dark Army: Downfall will have its own soundtrack?
Yes, it is. Back in May, Charly Jouglet (DjentlemanG) agreed to join the project and bring his talent and expertise to the project. Given his past with French metal bands but also with video-game content, we're glad to have him on-board. We've already spoken about our goals in terms of music for The Dark Army: Downfall. He exactly knows what we're seeking and that's awesome. Everything in hands, he recently started to work on it. The Dark Army: Downfall is going to have an epic soundtrack, inspired by famous bands such as Two Steps From Hell, which remains Charly's main inspiration for epic music.
"It will not be released until it's 200% ready"
How is development making progress with all the side projects you're working on?
The Dark Army: Downfall, although it started pre-development back in 2014, officially entered development late 2016. Until February of this year, it received continuous work, despite the release of its prequel in December 2016. Work was slower-ed voluntarily in February for reasons you may already know: catch our breath, work on the upcoming RTCWCOOP Anniversary Upgrade (which is coming October 5) as well as something related to The Dark Army: Uprising. Now the upgrade's development is 99% complete and will be released in time for October 5, as announced in April. As for the "something" related to The Dark Army: Uprising... Well, it's on the good way too. Now we slowly get back to work on The Dark Army: Downfall, with new collaborators who joined the project while it was on-hold. Things are going to get faster now, mainly because a schedule will be established, which all collaborators will be invited to follow. Everything will be done right, in order, in time. More importantly, with The Dark Army: Downfall, we don't want to rush things as we did with The Dark Army: Uprising. We've learned a lot. That's why there's no major deadline. There are deadlines, for the voice acting, mapping... but not for the project in any way. It will not be released until it's 200% ready.
"The Dark Army: Downfall is back"
What can we expect in the future?
The Dark Army: Downfall, as you may have guessed by now, will not be released this year. We don't know when it will be released. It may take quite some time, but it's all for the better. You should also note that we work on others' projects, such as the promising Castle Wewelsburg by Ronboy Productions, and we're yet to work on RTCW Remake Mod, ET: Legacy, a secret project... Also, the saying these days is: personal life goes first. This is a philosophy as developers, players: The Dark Army: Downfall is a project developed in the background of our respective and personal lives, only during free time, without spending -too much- money in it. It doesn't mean however that you'll not hear about the project. The Dark Army: Downfall is back. It is, as of this month. Thus it's time for something big, to celebrate: a new short teaser will be published on Monday (August 21). This will not just be a teaser. It's been six months since the one-minute reveal teaser, and we understand how thirsty you players are. A big surprise, related to The Dark Army: Uprising, along with the teaser, is to expect!
"It's going to make it for the October 5 release"
Will this upgrade be compatible with the next version of RTCWCOOP?
First of all, you should know that the upcoming upgrade's development is 99% complete. A few things left here and there to fix. It's going to make it for the October 5 release. Also, it's not called 5th Anniversary Upgrade anymore, but just Anniversary Upgrade. Now to answer your question: yes, the upgrade has been tested on the latest prototype of the next version of RTCWCOOP and it proved compatible indeed.
"The weekly walkthrough may start before release"
Back in April, you announced that you will be making a weekly walkthrough of RTCWCOOP feat. the Anniversary Upgrade, on YouTube... Is such an idea still alive?
We're yet to record the first episode, but it is still planned. The weekly walkthrough may start before release, which will be on October 5.
"No French version on the way"
Can we expect a French version in the future?
At the end of last year, we had this idea of making a French version of the mod (text only, with subtitles for the English dialogues). We agreed on the fact that if we did a French version, it would need to have subtitles for the dialogues, otherwise having just the menus and the texts being translated would be pointless, although we knew how many French people play The Dark Army: Uprising. However, just before the release of RealRTCW 2.1 earlier this year, WolfETPlayer told us that the subtitles feature will not ever be implemented in the engine. So yeah: sorry, but no French version on the way, not this year at least.
Is a new version, a patch, on the way? It's been a long time...
Is such hesitation related to the Uprising-related surprise of the upcoming Downfall teaser?
Who knows... Only time will tell, as they say! However, trust-me when I say that the best is still yet to come regarding The Dark Army: Uprising!
To conclude this Q&A Interview, below is an unreleased talk, from 2015, with three of the voice actors of The Dark Army: Uprising: Matthew Simmons, Max Huggins and Carl Brooks!
How did you come to work on such a project?
Matthew Simmons: I found a post about it on voiceacting.proboards.com.
Carl Brooks: I was refereed by a friend.
Max Huggins: People think that you have to be a 100% professional voice actor in order to get into these kinds of games but really the Mod DB community makes it easy for people to get started. All it takes is a good microphone and your good to go. Granted the person looking for the actor needs to approve of your voice but getting your foot in the door isn't as hard as it used to be. I basically commented on a media post and a day later I got a PM from 85 Prøductions giving me a list of requirements. I sent a demo of me just talking about my interest in the mod and the weather and he got back the same day and it excelled from there. If there's anything I can say to new VA's out there, get your foot in the door. Even if you think you're no good at least try it. I first started out a few years ago with a bad mic and terrible acting skills and now because I tried and kept at it I'm now in some of the best hyped mods on Mod DB as well as a couple Steam game releases. Put the effort in and eventually you will get the effort back.
What do you think about the character(s) you voice acted?
Matthew Simmons: It was great to get the chance to voice a iconic and historic character like B.J. Blazkowicz. I hope it does a decent job of combining his old voice and new voice from The New Order.
Carl Brooks: I think they're horrible people. They should plant trees instead of murdering.
Max Huggins: To begin I'd like to give a big thanks to Tony Jay and James Alcroft who's original voices made the OSA Director and Jack really pop in the Return To Castle Wolfenstein game, no one, and I mean no one, can replace the sheer amount of talent displayed in that game from those two actors. Starting off there isn't much known about the OSA Director, he only appeared a couple of times in Return To Castle Wolfenstein and only appears once in The Dark Army: Uprising so my opinion of him is neutral. I do have to say that voicing him was extremely hard due to the fact that the original OSA Director was voiced by Tony Jay and due to his unique voice I found it hard to emulate. Even though I won't sound exactly like him it was still fun voicing the man in charge of everything B.J. did so I got a kick out of doing that. Jack Stone is an entirely new argument, in the original Return To Castle Wolfenstein he served as someone who was very informed on the situation with the Nazis and passed any new information onto the OSA Director but this was as far as his character ever got. In The Dark Army: Uprising, his character is completely expanded upon, we learn that Jack had a large military career before settling down into the OSA and due to that he knows when something needs to be done including when to take a life. If the players thought Jack was a flat side character in Return To Castle Wolfenstein, they will soon change their mind in The Dark Army: Uprising.
Are you satisfied of what you've accomplished?
Matthew Simmons: Yeah for the most part. Nothing I specifically don't like.
Carl Brooks: Yes.
Max Huggins: You bet, I've stayed up long parts of the night getting these lines to sound just perfect and I've had to wake up at the earliest times in the morning just because my voice sounds best early in the day. This was one of the longest projects I've worked on and overall I think it turned out great (even though it's really surreal to hear your voice in-game).
Have you ever played any Wolfenstein game before?
Matthew Simmons: I've only played Wolfenstein 3D and Wolfenstein: The New Order so it's hard to say anything about Return To Castle Wolfenstein. The dev's been very dedicated to the project though and did a great job communicating what he wanted me to do.
Carl Brooks: I've actually only played Wolfenstein 3D when it was somewhat "a new game". Admittedly, I'm very unfamiliar with what's been done to the franchise since.
What do you think about the project, the developer?
Max Huggins: From everything I've seen (and voice acted) this mod is going to be fantastic and I have no doubts it will blow everyone's minds away. The developer himself is a great guy to work with, he never treats you like garbage and is always willing to work with you to better the script or to mold the character he envisioned so many years back. He is very lenient and he knows that voice acting requires hard work and tons of time and he shows that often. If anyone is interested in voice acting I'd start with 85 Prøductions, even if you aren't accepted he will walk through the process of why you weren't accepted and will help you to fix the problems and even get a second chance.
Did you work under good conditions?
Matthew Simmons: Yes.
Carl Brooks: It gets a little hot cause it's summer and the A/C isn't cranked to produce excess noise. I'd say I'm pretty secure.
Max Huggins: Absolutely, I'm being honest when I say that this was one of the most organized and most professional projects I've ever worked on. Starting off William is a very talented game designer, I mean heck, he built the entire The Dark Army by himself and it took several years of dedication and hard work which will definitely be worth it. Not only is he professional and dedicated but he's an overall nice guy, a guy that you'd invite over for dinner with the family (if he wasn't all the way in France) and never rushed anything or got on you. Even though we had a deadline for our lines he never got on us to hurry up, he was very lenient for changing the lines to match the character and gave us plenty of time to get everything just right. I will definitely be sticking around for the sequel and I implore anyone who is trying to voice act, don't be afraid to apply to any future projects that 85 Prøductions is involved in, they are great and will openly take anyone seeking to voice act or they will politely decline the application and walk you through the parts that didn't fit with the project. You will never get a door slammed in your face with 85 Prøductions!
Did you voice act for any modification before?
Matthew Simmons: I've done a few. One of my first gigs was voice some of the units in C&C: Red Alert 2, Mental Omega. I've also worked on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mods such as Helgen Reborn and got the pleasure of voicing Prophet for the Nuclear Cataclysm Crysis mod.
Carl Brooks: I have not but I have voiced in Indie released games available on Steam.
Max Huggins: Plenty even though none of them are out yet, this was my second latest project and I am excited to see my work finally being released for the first time. Other projects I've worked on include Lost Squad (Steam release), They Hunger Again (Steam; Standalone release), Project Zombie Reality 2014 (Battlefield 2), Dane Chronicles (Half-Life 2), and The Dark Army: Uprising. Other projects not listed here, which are about three of them, are because it's still being finalized or it's because they haven't gotten back to me yet. I still plan on working with a ton of other projects once I see them appear on Mod DB.
What can you say about the story?
Matthew Simmons: Bullets will be shot and Nazis will die.
Max Huggins: The Dark Army: Uprising takes place after Wolfenstein (2009) ended with Deathshead's Zeppelin crashing down and continues once the OSA learns that the Nazis are working on a new bio-mechanical experiment using the Dark Relic to fuel Deathshead's new army. B.J. is once again called to stop the Nazis before they can bring about the New Order, fighting familiar and new faces alongside familiar allies. As far as the rest of the story goes, you have to play to find out!
Any last words?
Matthew Simmons: It was a lot of fun working on Uprising and I hope people enjoy playing it! :D
Carl Brooks: Row row. Fight the power!
Max Huggins: Shaken not Stirred.
That's already the end of this Q&A Interview in partnership with WolfWatch. We sincerely hope that you liked it. Remember to mark your calendars to not miss the upcoming new teaser of The Dark Army: Downfall, which will also feature a big surprise related to The Dark Army: Uprising. Stay-tuned to WolfWatch for endless Wolfenstein-related news. Thanks to WolfWatch for sponsoring this interview.
Thanks to everyone of you, on Mod DB and beyond, for your continued support towards both The Dark Army: Downfall and its prequel, The Dark Army: Uprising. In case you haven't watched it yet, you can watch the reveal teaser of the mod right below!