Battlefield 1 is an upcoming first-person shooter video game developed by EA DICE and published by Electronic Arts. Despite its name, it is the fourteenth installment in the Battlefield franchise, the first main entry in the series since Battlefield 4 (2013), and the first World War I video game published by Electronic Arts since Wings of Glory in 1994. The game is scheduled to be released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One worldwide on October 21, 2016.
Video & Image Source – Battlefield
Similar to previous entries in the series, Battlefield 1 is a first-person shooter that emphasizes teamwork. The game is set in the period of World War I, and is inspired by historic events. Players can make use of World War I weapons, including bolt-action rifles, automatic and semi-automatic rifles, artillery, flamethrowers, and mustard gas to combat opponents. Melee combat was reworked, with DICE introducing new melee weapons such as sabres, trench clubs, and shovels into the game. These melee weapons were divided into two groups: heavy and light. Players can also take control of various armored vehicles, including light and heavy tanks, armored trucks, biplane aircraft, battleships and zeppelin, as well as ride horses into battle. Destructible environments and weapon customization, features present in the previous games, return in Battlefield 1 and will be more dynamic.
According to the game’s designer, Daniel Berlin, the campaign mode has larger and more open environments than those in previous installments in the franchise, with more options and choices in terms of paths to completing levels and how to approach combat. Players can control several characters in the campaign. Unlike its predecessors, the game features a collection of war stories, similar to an anthology.
The game’s multiplayer is planned to support up to 64 players. The new squad system allows a group of players to enter and leave game servers together. According to Berlin, playing without joining a squad would make gameplay significantly more difficult. Multiplayer maps are to be based on locations around the world, including Arabia, the Western Front, and the Alps. The game will launch with nine maps and six modes, which include Conquest, Domination, Operations, Rush, Team Deathmatch, and War Pigeons, in which players must secure war pigeons and use them to call for an artillery strike.
Battlefield 1‘s multiplayer features eight distinct classes:
- Assault: The primary anti-vehicle class. Assault players have SMGs and shotguns at their disposal.
- Medic: The Medic class is primarily focused on reviving fellow teammates, healing them, and repairing their vehicles. The primary weapons in this class are semi-automatic rifles.
- Support: Supports have light-machine guns at their disposal. They also contribute to the team by replenishing their fellow team-mates’ ammo.
- Scout: Scouts use sniper rifles. The class contributes to the team by spotting enemies, and by firing the flare gun, which places nearby enemies in the vicinity on the mini-map.
- Tanker: Players choosing to spawn into a tank will now automatically spawn as the tanker class. The class is new to the series, and features a hammer that can repair vehicles.
- Pilot Class: Players who spawn into a plane will now automatically spawn as the pilot class. Outside of planes, pilots have access to pistol-caliber carbines.
- Cavalry: Players who choose to spawn on a horse would give them the cavalry class
- Elite: Elite classes are obtained by players through a pickup on the battlefield, which allows them to wield different special abilities or weapons such as the flamethrower. This class has different variations such as the Sentry, Tank Hunter, and Flame Trooper.
According to game designer Daniel Berlin, the team picked World War I as the game’s setting as they believed that the weapons and gadgets featured in that period of time suit players with different playstyles. The game was named Battlefield 1, since the team considered World War I “the dawn of all-out warfare”. Melee weapons were reworked so as to introduce more depth to the system. According to creative director Lars Gustavsson, the setting was a concept for a very long time, and it had been the “dream” for the team to create a game based on that period. According to Berlin, gameplay was the most important aspect when they were developing the game, and he promised that it would not be slowed down due to the game’s historical setting. The story of the game is told through multiple protagonists, and explores the stories of unknown war heroes. Patrick Söderlund, an executive of Electronic Arts, originally rejected the idea of having a World War One shooter as he thought that it would not be fun to play. He later accepted the pitch after being convinced by a demo created by DICE. Aleksander Grøndal, Senior Producer at DICE, prepared his own research into the war by looking at visual references. He favored colored images of the war in an attempt to visualize what the soldiers lived through. “I wanted to see the pictures and I wanted to imagine how they’d look with a mobile lens,” Grøndal expressed when interviewed. “I wanted to start off with all the footage and imagine that footage in our game with a modern take.” He specifically favored Apocalypse: World War I, a 2014 colorized French documentary, and World War I in Colour by Charles Messenger, a 2004 book of colorized war time photographs. Grøndal favored colored material as he felt, “It’s quite interesting and it sucks you in because it feels much closer when you see everything in color.” Despite his personal penchant for colored visuals, his self ascribed “big inspiration” was Blueprint for Armageddon, a six-part audio documentary by Dan Carlin for the latter’s Hardcore History podcast series.
In June 2015, DICE revealed that they were working on an unannounced game. In January 2016, EA announced that Titanfall 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda and an unannounced video game set in the Battlefield universe would be released prior to the end of the company’s fiscal year. Both the title, the game’s release date, and the plot of the game were leaked prior to the official announcement on May 6, 2016. The game was officially unveiled on that day through a livestream on Twitch, showcasing a reveal trailer of the game featuring a remix of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” by The Glitch Mob. The game’s Collector’s Edition includes items such as a statue of a Harlem Hell Fighter, a code for an unannounced downloadable content (DLC), and a Steelbook case. Pre-order bonuses include early access to a DLC map, and the Harlem Hellfighter Pack. The Deluxe Edition includes the pre-order bonuses, as well as three days early access to the game, the Red Baron Pack, the Lawrence of Arabia Pack, and five Battlepacks. Battlefield 1 is set to be released worldwide on October 21, 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Battlefield 1’s open beta became available on August 31, 2016, for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows. It ended on September 8, 2016. The open beta allowed the team to ensure that major technical bugs, glitches, and crashes can be patched prior to the game’s official launch. 13.2 million players participated in the beta.
The game received a very positive response from the community after its official announcement. As of July 2, 2016, the Battlefield 1 reveal trailer is the most liked trailer on YouTube, with over 2 million likes. Electronic Arts expected the game to sell at least 14 million units in its first year of release. Writing for Wired, Jake Muncy felt worried that the game may not be able to reflect the complex situations in World War One, and thought that the war may not be an ideal setting for a video game. In contrast, Zam’s Robert Rath reflected on the same themes, and noted the First World War was largely forgotten in popular culture due to its inability to inspire passion or interest; Rath even suggested Battlefield 1 could rejuvenate popular interest in this war.