Battlefield Returns to the Past

When the first reveal trailer for Battlefield 1 was released in May 2016, it was very well received by an overwhelming majority of the audience. The trailer officially announced that the next installment of the Battlefield franchise was going to be set during the First World War. Although there were some people complaining about how the developers did not make a game which took place during “a more modern era” such as Vietnam or the present day, most other potential players were relieved that Battlefield was not going to commit the same mistake as Call of Duty had which was to set their next game Infinite Warfare in some science fiction world which they had done for quite a few of their previous games and players were burned out on the futuristic/science fiction based games. They had hoped Call of Duty would return to its roots of being a World War II shooter or at least go back to a modern, but still realistic present day setting. The developers at Infinity Ward did not listen to the fans and when EA Dice did listen, many players including long-time Call of Duty fans flocked over to Battlefield. It was a refreshing change of pace especially since almost no if any AAA titles had ever been set during World War I. Dice listened to the fans and they delivered with that first reveal trailer.
The trailer begins with what appears to be a German soldier beating a British Commonwealth soldier (assuming because of the brodie style helmet they were wearing) with a spiked club. This represents how up close and personal combat was during WWI in which soldiers taking part in raids against enemy trenches had to fight with some homemade weapons made for close quarter combat such as clubs and daggers. The next scene is a woman riding on a horse through the desert and the trailer proceeds to depict different aspects of WWI including trench warfare, the muddy hell that was the Western Front, Italian soldiers clashing with Austro-Hungarians in the Alps, aerial combat, chemical warfare, and the trailer ends with a soldier staring at an incoming German blimp. Although the trailer was full of historical inaccuracies such as a single soldier walking around shooting a german MG 08 machine gun, normally operated by at least four to six men, like Rambo, the reception was extremely positive. Once the game was actually released, sales surpassed that of Call of Duty and players were enjoying a very fun shooter that despite its inaccuracies could be very immersive. The story mode did not follow a single protagonist. Each “mission” was a story of different individuals and their participation during the Great War. For example one of the stories was that of an Italian soldier who was a member of Italy’s equivalent of Storm Troopers and they were called the Arditi. Another story follows a woman who is a member of the bedouin fighters who were fighting against the Ottoman Empire.
The story is really able to represent a diverse group of people and it tackles issues of race as well with the player being able to play as a member of the 369th Infantry Regiment of the US Army who were African American soldiers. These soldiers were not desired by their own military and so they were lent to the French who took them in and allowed them to fight. The French even supplied them with rifles and helmets. In the game they were depicted as fierce fighters (which they were) and in real life they even were the American unit to have spent the most time in the front line trenches. With the depiction of a woman Bedouin fighter, the game also challenged the sense that all wars are fought only by men and therefore it took on the topic of masculinity. The one tradition that this game failed to break was the failure to represent the opposing side in this case the Triple Alliance. The player, during the story mode, is only able to play as a member of the Triple Entente and their allies. It would have been interesting to be able to play as a German. However, in multiplayer you can play as Germans, Ottomans, and Austro-Hungarians.
The game took some liberties such as adding weapons that were either in prototype version or even nonexistent during WWI and added them to the multiplayer, but this allowed the game to be more fast paced and exciting and the game does a good job at introducing players to WWI and might inspire them to explore other more historically accurate games such as Verdun or to even learn more about history and perhaps become a history major.

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