A new Battlefield is coming this year (on October 21st to be exact) and it seems that the developers over at DICE are looking to set a new trend in the oversaturated modern/future military FPS genre. While other military shooters have been charging forward into the future with jetpacks and super-advanced weaponry, the next Battlefield has made an about-face and is going back to the dawn of modern warfare.
Surprise! The next Battlefield takes place during World War 1, not in the modern era or the future like many might have expected. Before you start thinking that the gameplay is going to suffer from slower-paced combat that would seem to go hand-in-hand with WW1-era weaponry, the reveal trailer has shown soldiers bashing each other with clubs, riding horses wielding swords, and engaging in all-out trench warfare.
WW1 is a setting that few games ever go to, but for Battlefield, it could be the breath of fresh air that the series needs while competitors like Call of Duty head off into space. It seems reasonable to expect that the developers will need to get creative with the way we engage each other in online battles, because, well, there just weren't many easily manageable machine guns and accurate firearms back in the day.
To compensate for the lack of reliable and fast-firing weapons of the era, Battlefield 1's first trailer seems to suggest that there will be a greater emphasis on close quarters combat. Solders are shown bashing others' skulls in with spiked maces and trench spades and players will also be able to equip swords and bayonets. Some soldiers can even be seen wearing full metal armor plating, presumably allowing them to take a few more bullets than the average combatant. Perhaps we'll actually see our opponents more often, rather than just randomly dropping like a sack of potatoes because of far off sniper fire.
It doesn't look like you're going to be hunkering down in muddy trenches for the entirety of a Battlefield 1 match like history might suggest. Despite WW1 not being known for its vehicle warfare (probably because many of them were still in their prototype phases), the trailer showed off plenty of weaponized modes of transportation. It seems players will be able to hop into some of the first armored tanks used in modern combat, like the British Mark model tanks (which saw several variations during the war), various boats and battleships, and even fly zeppelins.
The trailer also showed several fighter aircraft used in the war, including the German Dreidecker (triplane) popularized by the Red Baron. While soldiers beat each other to death with trench shovels, fighter planes can be seen flying overhead suggesting players in them will be able to provide air support for their team. DICE's shooters have also seen Air Superiority modes in previous games like Battlefield 1943 and Battlefront, and this seems like the perfect opportunity to bring the aircraft-only mode back.
Riding horses into battle was definitely a thing back in WW1. It sounds tactically unsound (and generally it was) but horses were still a valuable part of the war being used for everything from scouting missions to mounted charges. The Battlefield 1 trailer shows a soldier charging into battle riding a horse and brandishing a sword. We have yet to see if we will be able to actually ride into battle, fire weapons and perform melee attacks from horseback, but it certainly doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.
The trench warfare of the Western Front looks like it will be complemented by locations such as the Forest of Argonne in France, the Italian Alps, and the Arabian Desert as backdrops for Battlefield 1's large scale battles. There will also be naval battles, making Battlefield 1 one of the most diverse games in the series in terms of map locations.
At this point, we're used to shooters' environments having some sort of destructibility. If you shoot glass you expect it to break or concrete to chip from the impact of bullets and explosions. Once again Battlefield is taking destruction to the extreme. The WW1 battlefields are said to shift and change as bombs are dropped and landscapes are destroyed. It's hard to imagine anything as spectacular as seeing Battlefield 4 "levolution" events in a WW1 setting, but it will be interesting to see if and how Battlefield 1 can take it a step further.
We don't have many details on what the single-player campaign will include as of yet, but based on the promotional images and Special Edition items it looks like the Harlem Hellfighters will be involved. The African American infantry unit overcame some of the most harrowing combat experiences and racial discrimination throughout the conflict. But it is uncertain if the whole campaign will follow just the Harlem Hellfighters as the developers have said the story will be told from multiple perspectives, meaning you'll be controlling multiple characters.