Electronic Arts unveiled Battlefield 1, set in World War I (which the series has never done before). But that doesn’t mean you’ll spend all of your time shooting rifles at the enemy from the protection of a trench.
The weapons, vehicles, and settings will have enormous variety, based on a press briefing today in which EA talked about the military first-person shooter for the first time. In an interview, lead designer Danny Berlin confirmed that this new Battlefield won’t have “alternate history” with modern weapons in the old setting. Rather, he said, everything is rooted history, as the Great War is rich with technical innovations in warfare.
The single-player campaign game will show the experiences of a number of different characters during the Great War. And in multiplayer, the familiar balance of weapons and vehicles will play out in rock-paper-scissors fashion, said Andreas Morrell, multiplayer lead on the game at EA’s DICE studio in Stockholm, during a press event.
There will be hands-on with the game at the EA Play event on June 12 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June. You can get Battlefield 1 early access to the Battlefield 1 public beta later this year by signing up for the Battlefield newsletter. The game will come out on October 21.
“This was the most technologically divergent war ever, with cavalry running alongside tanks and biplanes flying overhead,” said Berlin. “Hand-to-hand combat was important. It was a technological arms race. It ends up being a perfect fit for the Battlefield game play, with an ever-changing world.”
In the meantime, EA gave us a lot. The game appears to be full of “Battlefield moments” with nonstop action. The trailer and EA’s representatives showed or described the following:
- Heavy tanks: Yes, World War I saw the dawn of tank warfare at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. You’ll be able to hop into a tank and go crazy, but it may not move as fast as in modern warfare games. At least, it shouldn’t.
- Light tanks: If a heavy tank isn’t available, a light tank with just a machine gun or no gun might do just as well.
- Bomber biplanes: You can drop bombs on the tanks and infantry below.
- The Red Baron’s Fokker Dr. 1 triplane: It’s in the trailer, but hopefully not everyone will be the Red Baron in multiplayer.
- Scout biplanes: These are great for air-to-air dogfights.
- Trucks: Better than walking or riding a horse.
- Horses: The cavalry can indeed come to the rescue, but don’t charge a machine gun nest.
- Battleships: You can get in a World War I era dreadnought and hammer the coast, turning the tide of battle.
- Zeppelin: It looks like there’s one of these according to the trailer, but I wonder if you can fly it?
- Shovels, knives, swords, and bayonets for hand-to-hand combat.
- Shotguns: Clearly, good for close combat in the trenches.
- Machine guns (including some that you have to pour water on to cool them down): Some of these are stationary, and some are mobile.
- Rifles: Attach a bayonet and it will do the job.
- Flamethrowers: Good lord, this might be overkill. But it’s likely very short range.
- France: There were plenty of trenches in fields, but lots of variety of terrain. The trailer shows a biplane crashing into an old stone tower.
- Argonne forest in Belgium: There’s plenty of trees and other obstacles to hide behind, and it looks like a lot of fog as well.
- Saudi Arabia: A train goes through the desert in one of the trailers. There are horse soldiers with swords, and lots of sand.
- Italian Alps: This part of the game looks beautiful and green.
- Medics: You can heal someone on the battlefield.
- Support: Looks like you can call in artillery.
- Assault: This is your all-purpose soldier.
- Sniper/scout: There’s plenty of people to pick off in no man’s land.