The new Battlefield 1 story trailer takes an old battle in a new direction. The single player campaign will be separated across five individual stories to personalize the drama of World War 1 from varied perspectives. The overarching narrative of World War 1 unifies the stories in an attempt to respectfully explain the hardship of war, while establishing the dramatic scale of the conflict. On the Battlefield 1 blog, we got this bit of insight:
"We wanted the player to see and feel what the characters are going through, rather than just experiencing it from behind their eyes. That has really paid off for us not just in storytelling ability, but in emotional engagement."
The pieces are all there, let’s put them together and see what it looks like and line up each facet of Battlefield 1's five very different missions. Well, after a quick refresher on the latest trailer:
1. Watch 'The Red Baron' (2008) For the Aerial Combat
The Battlefield 1 trailer shows several intense battle scenes over the Western Front. For those not familiar with The Western Front, it was a series of trenches that ran 700 kilometers from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border.
This mission takes you on an aerial dogfight as two unlikely heroes face off against German fighter ace, Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, more famously knows as The Red Baron. Remember jumping into a plane in the Battlefield 1 beta and yelling to your friends “I’m in a plane!” only to crash and burn seconds later? Well, that’s what happened to me anyway… The Red Baron was instead considered the ace-of-aces of the war and telling the story of the Red Baron’s final encounter at Picardy France is as exciting as you are ever going to get.
2. Watch 'Gallipoli' (1981) for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Storyline
The Battlefield 1 story trailer shows the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers over several scenes. The face of one of the ANZAC’s in the trailer is the easily recognizable (well, it is for me) Australian actor, Peter O’Brien. One of the most famous battles fought by the ANZAC’s was the Dardanelles Campaign. These involved Allied forces, including ANZAC's, fighting off the coastal peninsula of Gallipoli against the then Ottoman Empire (now Turkey). The battle commenced with an Allied naval bombardment prior to sending in ground forces consisting of British and ANZAC troops. The Allied campaign was eventually abandoned due to the impenetrable defense of the Ottoman Empire’s army and is considered one of the most important victories in Turkish history.
The personal story technique for battles such as these will engage the player to respectfully understand the seriousness of war, rather than solely focusing on the adrenalin aspect of battle.
3. Watch 'Lawrence of Arabia' (1962) For the Desert Storyline
Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia is pretty darn famous from his exploits in World War 1. He played a critical role in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, acting on behalf of British Intelligence. He was adept at immersing himself across the many sides of the conflict and gaining the respect of the Arab rebels with his strategy and advice. His communication skills were particularly well regarded due to his active participation in the battles of the revolt caused middle eastern allies to to see him become more than a British observer.
The Battlefield 1 trailer repeatedly shows Lawrence in the footage, including a Bedouin warrior. The actual story moves away from Lawrence and focuses on the female rebel’s view of the revolt. Remember the armored train in the Battlefield 1 beta? In the story, the Ottoman Empire now have the train, and you will have to contend with this formidable adversary with low-tech weaponry and vehicles to shift the balance of the battle.
This is one the main differences with the Battlefield 1 single player missions: you have an objective, however, the method in how you approach that objective is more open to your particular style of play. It is not a full sandbox, but the rails have been replaced to be more like a bumper car to allow players to explore, trial, and utilize the available resources similar to multiplayer gameplay. We’re embracing systemic gameplay and the freedom that makes Battlefield the high-agency game that it is.
4. Watch This Short Interview to Understand The 1917 Battle of Cambrai
Ok, there's no go-to movie for this battle, but the above the interview seems like mandatory watching to better understand this part of the war. The battle of Cambrai involved the use of tanks by the British forces against the Germans. Coordinating a large number of tanks (437) in conjunction with heavy artillery and infantry was a relatively new technique that the British hoped would surprise their German adversaries. Once the attack commenced, the battle ebbed and flowed with various adaptations to the Allied strategy. This was due to Germany anticipating the attack from intelligence they had received, including the use of tanks by the Allied forces.
Despite the German's being well trained, their artillery and defenses were unable to repel the Allied forces providing a huge success for the Allies. The speed that the tanks advanced demonstrated a new tactical advantage that was able to punch a hole through the German defenses allowing the supporting infantry to capitalize on the breach.
In the Battlefield 1 story trailer, the British Mark V tank can be seen, and follows a personal story of one of the tank crew members. As you follow the story, decisions will need to be made on what tactics work best to overcome the formidable Germany forces. The story of the camaraderie of the tank crew solidifies the emotion of the mission, taking the player both through the emotions of battle and the anxiety of loss. Again from the B1 blog:
Our hero is also struggling with earning the trust of his fellow crew members, so there’s a social dynamic in the story, making the whole thing something personal. Danny Edwards, our driver character, is not an ace sniper. He’s not a crack pilot. He’s not a demo expert. He’s a former chauffeur – a volunteer new to the war
5. Watch 'The Silent Mountain' (2014) to Understand Italy's Alps Showdown With Austria
The Battlefield 1 trailer shows a plane flying over the Alps and an armored soldier covered in steel reminiscent of medieval knights. The Italian Arditi shock troops, who were Italy’s best of the best, attack a strategic fort with the story following an Italian soldier donning the armor in an attempt to gain advantage during the battle.
The Battlefield 1 story portrays the conflict between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire which took place between 1915 and 1918. There were many battles over this time, with one conflict taking place over the Dolomites range in north-eastern Italy. The extreme terrain and weather conditions resulted in a stalemate that tested both side’s fortitude and perseverance.
The collective causalities’ are estimated to be around 1.2 million soldiers. The sustained conflict between these two forces across the Italian front was one of the longest of the war and reminds us of the tragic circumstances that the Battlefield 1 single player allows us to experience.
The 'Battlefield 1' Story is Vast
There is no denying that the entertainment gamers derive from Battlefield 1 should only be seen as harmless escapism. EA and DICE's decision, however, to have us follow personal stories of historically significant battles is a respectful shift away from arm’s length perspective of previous titles. There is a lot of history in this war and in this game and even though we embrace Battlefield 1 as great entertainment it’s worth taking the time to understand the loss suffered so we can sit back and enjoy that freedom.
Does the new Battlefield 1 story interest you, or will you stick to multiplayer?