Developers were putting the finishing touches on the new Wolfenstein game when things suddenly got a little too real.

"We never expected to see actual Nazis marching in America," says Jens Matthies, the game's creative director.

"That's been pretty shocking."

Matthies is talking about the Charlottesville race riots that saw one person killed and more than 30 reportedly injured when white nationalists clashed with protesters over the removal of a Confederate statue in the Virginian city.

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The outburst of race-based violence also sparked racism claims against American president Donald Trump when he made a vague public statement that failed to denounce white supremists and seemed to place blame on both sides.

The violence erupted just as Matthies and his Sweden-based team were hitting their deadline on The New Colossus, the follow-up to 2014's highly rated The New Order and the eighth instalment of the ultra-violent franchise.

Released this Friday, the R16 game imagines a future in which America is under Nazi occupation. Playing as hardened war vet B J Blazkowicz, the returning star of the series, your job is to try and free America from Nazi rule.

A scene from Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.
A scene from Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.

No one was more shocked than Matthies when Charlottesville happened, making Wolfenstein's made-up historical events all-too relevant.

"It's a little strange," he says. "We don't make the game for it to be a social commentary. We want it to be as timeless as possible and stand on its own feet in terms of its artistic merit."

But Charlottesville also made Wolfenstein much more of a political statement than it's meant to be. Not that Matthies is trying to cover up exactly what Wolfenstein is.

"We didn't want to shy away from what Nazi ideology is really about. Even though the game is very over-the-top and there's a lot of crazy things happening in it, it's still fundamentally political, and it has to be that way for it to be a proper Wolfenstein game."

A scene from Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.
A scene from Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.

At this point, the Wolfenstein series has moved far beyond anything that could have been imagined when 1992's Wolfenstein 3D became the biggest first-person shooter on the market.

But Matthies says that now-ancient game is still a reference point, and a visit to their development studios would reveal producers still play Wolfenstein 3D on a regular basis.

"That's our primary reference point because we wanted to capture what made that game great and honour that legacy, with today's tool and today's computing power and the type of experience we have today."

The New Colossus is a bigger game, says Matthies, with a more expansive, open world to explore. He advises players "take your time, explore and see everything that the game has in store".

It's also more violent. Matthies admits that MachineGames don't bother censoring themselves when it comes to the game's blood-splattered mayhem and says they never feel they've crossed a line in terms of gore.

"We feel it's incredibly important for the game to feel like a Wolfenstein game to not self-censor ourselves," he says.

"You want it to be quite gory when you annihilate Nazis, right? We never really look for ways of paring that back."

A scene from Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.
A scene from Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.

And he believes they've topped themselves this time around.

"I don't think anyone's prepared for what's coming when they play the full game."

LOWDOWN
What: Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
When: Released October 27
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One
Rating: R16