Battlefield 1 is taking military shooters back in time for the first time in years, but to a period where many think conflict was rather stale. The first World War is commonly known for its slow trench warfare, held back technology and generally lacklustre skirmishes in comparison to the war that followed. And a heck of a lot of misery. For a game that is all about big action set-pieces, it’s a little worrisome – but that type of negativity is something developers DICE don’t understand.
Speaking to Gamespot, Design Director Lars Gustavsson spoke about how the new setting is allowing DICE to explore facets of war that previous games haven’t. Even though the first World War isn’t exactly known for its combat , DICE says there are many major advancements and battles that they’re able to draw from.
“There’s this common misconception that WWI was just muskets or something. But it wasn’t. It was a time of new weapons–bolt-action rifles, automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles. The freedom we have is massive.”
This freedom is allowing DICE to engage with things like gruelling trench warfare and climatic dogfights that aided troops on the ground. Gustavsson equates a lot of what happened in the first World War as the reason for many modern day conflicts, and his team are committed to building a narrative around some of those events and its big influencers.
“I always thought the battle for oil started later, in the Second World War, but it started within this era. So we went from the picture you’re painting, but realized that there’s so much more to World War One than trench warfare. There was the invention of new technology, the need for new weapons, the creation of light machine guns.
“The world changed during WW1. There were four great empires that ceased to exist just because of it. Lots of great inventions came about during it, even things you don’t think about like trench coats and zippers and teabags.”
He’s right, and it’s often an oversight by many to consider the first World War boring. Even I admit to initially wondering what could possibly exciting for a videogame in this setting, but after seeing things like horseback warfare in the desert, naval warships engaging ground targets and zeppelins becoming ominous visions of death, I’ve had my interest piqued.
Battlefield 1 is out later this year on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Last Updated: May 12, 2016