On Friday, Electronic Arts and DICE unveiled the trailer for Battlefield 1, the next installment in the Battlefield shooter series, set to be released on October 21. But rather than take players on a journey to the future, as most first-person, simulated combat games do, Battlefield 1 will transport them back to World War I. The trailer reveals an array of old-fashioned (by our modern standards) weapons, including tanks, bayonets, poisonous gas, flamethrowers, biplanes, and zeppelins.
As the action shooter genre has grown in popularity, many warfare franchises have moved further and further into the future in order to make the most of cool tech. However, a DICE spokesperson said that the time was right to move away from “the modern genre,” standing in stark contrast to other combat games, such as the Call of Duty series.
According to Polygon, who were in attendance at the press event, lead game designer Danny Berlin said that “We wanted to create a physical space that is more personal and physical.” Berlin further revealed that the company chose the name Battlefield 1 (despite the fact that it succeeds Battlefield 4) because “we are going back to the dawn of all-out warfare. [World War I] is the genesis of modern warfare.”
Players will be able to operate weapons, from armored trucks to battleships, some of which will require more than one player to control. Said Berlin:
“There’s a common misconception that this was an era of muskets, but they were inventing weapons all the time. There is a huge amount of variety of weapons with a powerful and authentic feel. It’s a fast and really cool experience, and any play-style you have, we’ll cater for it.”
While gamers can choose to play their own adventure campaigns, Battlefield 1 is still a game with a multiplayer focus; this gamer-to-gamer connection inevitably lends itself to the “personal” nature of the war, which Berlin alluded to. It’s a terrifying intimacy, reflective in the hand-to-hand combat and horse charges and underscoring the comradeship that (unfortunately) occurs in a historic moment when soldiers were encountering ghastly weapons for the first time.
The trailer already gives viewers a sense of this, featuring close-up shots of men taking cover from artillery blasts. It even ends on a personal note, honing in on one man’s face as he looks up, his jaw dropping, at the giant zeppelin looming before him. “We want to portray how scary it was for the soldiers to see these completely new [weapons],” Berlin said.
With over 15 million views on the trailer, it seems fans are eager to strap themselves in and dogfight their way through history.
Battlefield 1 releases October 21, 2016 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will also be available to play during EA Play in mid-June.