On Friday May 6, EA dropped the first trailer for Battlefield 1, the latest game in the Battlefield franchise which began in 2002 with Battlefield 1942. You can watch the trailer below.
The series so far has taken players across various theaters of war, from historic battles to imagined future fights. BF 1942 allowed us to fly planes in the Pacific and drive tanks on the Eastern front, all the while supporting up to 64 players within a single game.
After several terrific expansion packs, The Road to Rome (2003), and Secret Weapons of World War II (2003), we were taken into the Vietnam War (2004) flying Huey helicopters to the tune of “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Modern warfare followed with Battlefield 2 (2005) and then Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (2005).
The series launched us into the future driving Mechs and hijacking huge skyships in Battlefield 2142 (2006).
The Battlefield series expanded its PC gaming footprint to consoles with Bad Company. Destructible environments became a huge part of the game, powered by a newly developed Frostbite game engine. Single player gameplay was expanded from previous titles while the multiplayer was reduced to only support 24 players.
Battlefield 3 (2011) and BF4 (2013) would follow. BF3 was primarily set in Iraq and Iran and offered a co-op campaign as well as multiplayer. The game currently enjoys a Metacritic score of 89 for the PC version (84/85 for Xbox 360/PS3). Likewise, BF4 scored highly with mid-80 scores on Metacritic. BF4 was the first title available on Next Gen (8th Gen if you’re counting) PS4 and XboxOne. The Frostbite engine begun with Bad Company was in its 3rd iteration.
BF3 and BF4 were more conventional in terms of their settings and gameplay and placed the BF series head to head with Call of Duty and the massive audience it has accumulated over the interim years.
Battlefield 1 is an interesting move on the part of DICE and EA and suggests the series may be returning to its roots, mining history for the battlefields of the past, not just the present and near future. This particular long-time Battlefield player appreciates the move. I haven’t been this interested in the series for a long time.
We should expect different classes of playable soldiers in the Great War as well as a wide variety of environments from the trench warfare in Flanders to horseback battles in North Africa. EA’s page describes how the battles will range from urban conflict in a French city to snowy battles in the Italian Alps to Lawrence of Arabia-type conflicts in Africa among the dunes.
Fighting as a soldier on land, as a pilot in the air or guiding huge battleships in the sea, all seem in the offing and anybody familiar with the game mechanics of previous titles will appreciate how these could be retrofitted into a World War I scenario. Personally, I’m looking forward to some bi-wing flying against the Red Baron or driving some of the first tanks that ever saw military service.
Flakfire has put together an excellent analysis of the Battlefield 1 trailer below. It’s really worth a watch.
The game will be available on Oct. 18, 2016 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.