Battlefield 1 Will Be Set in 1917 and 1918

The trailer for Battlefield 1 was just released, so I thought I would do some quick analysis to figure out just what DICE has in store for us in the next installment of the series.


Setting

There are a lot of clues in the trailer as where exactly and when Battlefield 1 will be set. One section of the trailer is definitely the Meuse-Argonne. The trailer also has the soldiers fighting in a wooded area indicative of a large forest. Mustard gas was also used in the offensive and it can be clearly seen exploding in front of the player.

This theory is further reinforced by a leaked render of an African-America soldier holding a Mauser pistol. Given that almost every African-American unit that fought in the war fought in the Meuse offensive, we can be pretty sure we’ll be mowing down Germans in Belgium.

There are also several sections which appear to show battles set in the Middle East. Judging by the presence of tanks, my best guess is that we will be fighting in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of 1917. Specifically, in the Second and Third Battles of Gaza, where tanks were used against the Turks. The clip of scimitar wielding man on horseback riding through desert also indicates a Middle Eastern setting, possibly taking place during the Arab rebellion.

ME WWI
Screenshot showing a British tank operating in the Middle East

My initial fear with a WWI battlefield game was that DICE would set it in 1915 or 1916. Battles like the Somme and Verdun (and most of World War One) were mostly battles of artillery and machine guns, with soldiers being turned into pulp in the middle. A game set during these battles would be terrible, with most of the time spent respawning. Being that the game seems to be set later in the war, and at least partially in the Middle East, this will probably turn out to be a non-issue.

Weapons

WWI small arms are a formidable obstacle to making a game about the war. In the Great War personal weapons were by and large bolt action rifles, revolvers,shotguns and early automatic pistols.Some semi-automatic rifle prototypes were developed but again; they never saw widespread use. Because the game is set later in the war, submachine guns like the German MP18 will be available.

Anti-tank weapons and light machine guns also seem to be included in the game, as a soldier with a T-Gewher anti-tank riflecan be seen running alongside a British tank in the trailer. There is also a clip where a soldier appears to be gunning down enemy soldiers with an MG 08/15 aircraft machine gun, as well as one with a Lewis gun. There’s even one frame with a flamethrower.

The trailer seems to indicate that the game will include a fair amount of swords and trench weapons, which might help balance out some of the older, slower firing rifles and the clunky machine guns While machine guns are great at long range, they would be very hard to use up close.

Lewis gun BF1
Lewis Gun with mustard gas shell exploding in front

Customization

Weapon variety through modification probably would won’t be a big thing in Battlefield One. Iron sights were the only optics available at the time. Snipers were issued scopes, but they were not impressive by modern standards; only providing three or four times magnification. There were no underbarrel grenade launchers, lasers, or detachable grips. The only add-on you got was a bayonet.

Vehicles

The trailer seems to suggest that a lot of  movement will take place in the air. Planes and zeppelins have a heavy presence in the trailer, along with horses and tanks. Other vehicles like armored cars and trucks also existed at the time and it’s likely that DICE will add them into the final game to flesh out the vehicle inventory.

Final thoughts

When I initially heard the rumors that the next battlefield game was going to be set in World War One I was skeptical. Now that I have seen the trailer, I’m actually very excited to play the game. Hopefully DICE and EA get the balance right and don’t screw this up.

 

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