In 2009, several Starbreeze Studios employees left the company and reformed into MachineGames. Russ Pits, working for Polygon at the time, wrote up the early MachineGames history in a fantastic article
. The new team of old veterans agreed to work on a new Wolfenstein game with Bethesda Softworks. The initial meetings must have gone very well because only a year later the Swedish developers were bought by Zenimax Media and incorporated into Bethesda. So, work began on the rejuvenation of the dystopian alternate WWII narrative shooter franchise, Wolfenstein.
In four years, Machine Games made Wolfenstein: The New Order
for the start of 2014. It succeeded in bringing 90s mechanics into the modern shooter, contextualised by a solid narrative experience. The gunplay was hard-hitting, the steampunk vibes were somehow incorporated into a brutalist aesthetic that just clicked
, and the level design always kept players on their toes. It was a magnificent effort and one of the best shooters of that generation. A year later they released a prequel, 2015's Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Naturally, work began on a sequel after this initial batch of the fresh-legged Wolfenstein franchise. By heading to the US and twisting the classic American imagery, the writers said
that they had the freedom to create a brutal story. The result was 2017's Wolfenstein: New Colossus
which was lauded critically. The combat was, again, fantastic and that story really landed with audiences.
The expansion for the title was called Wolfenstein: Youngblood
, which was released in 2019. It was seemingly led by Arkane Studios and introduced co-op mechanics. It didn't quite hit the highs of the rest of the series and felt a little different from the weighty combat of its predecessors. Likewise, the VR-only title Cyberpilot was released alongside Youngblood to mixed reviews, though it seems MachineGames had full control over development.
MachineGames also spent time working with Quake
. In 2016, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise, MachineGames released the Dimension of the Past level pack with ten new stages and a multiplayer map. Later on, in 2021, Quake was remastered for modern consoles. The levels that MachineGames released previously were integrated with a new set called Dimension of the Machine.