Battlefield 1‘s WWI setting was met with intrigue and plenty of raised eyebrows when EA and DICE lifted the lid on the shooter back in May. Other shooters of the Titanfall and Call Of Duty variety are firmly focused on futuristic outings, and while recent Battlefield entries haven’t strayed from a modern setting, no one expected a return to early-20th century battles, especially not a relatively-untouched era (as far as games go) in World War 1.
FENIX Bazaar’s Gaetano Prestia sat down with DICE at gamescom 2016 to talk about the studio’s decision to make a game set in that era. Reports of a clash with higher-ups at EA obviously did phase the Battlefield team at DICE, who were hellbent on creating their “passion project”.
“It didn’t really change,” DICE’s Robert Sammelin said when asked if DICE had changed its approach to Battlefield with this new entry. “We wanted to build upon our strengths, take the franchise forward, and still provide that signature Battlefield stuff that people play Battlefield for: vast multiplayer maps, all-out war. People also expect us to offer new gameplay opportunities.”
Interestingly, Sammelin said that the idea of making a game set during WWI had “been around for a while”, and that it provided a “perfect fit” to get all of the best Battlefield features in under one roof.
The WWI setting was always going to provide a challenge for DICE. Sammelin admitted as much. So much of what’s in the game hasn’t been in a Battlefield game before, from arsenal to battle tactics, and even some vehicles.
“It’s ranging from a lot of previously unseen gameplay features like horses, and just the wide array of arsenal that we have, and behemoths, the big airship armored trains, battleships,” Sammelin continued. “And just seeing as though it was the first global war, and it was the inception of modern warfare as we see it today. Tactics and weapons that we use today, they were really invented back then.”
Sammelin looks to the game’s “medieval weapons” as indicative of Battlefield 1‘s unprecedented variety when it comes to gameplay: while you may have exclusively focused on arsenal and vehicle attacks, and tactics in past Battlefield games, Battlefield 1 presents a far less modern alternative to approaching the battle. He says this made for a large pool of ideas and features to dig into and create for the game.
“It was a treasure chest to take from,” he said, “just to make new gameplay and further enhance what makes Battlefield great.”
FENIX Bazaar was on site at gamescom 2016 to play Battlefield 1. Check back for our preview in the coming days.