The ‘war to end all war’ was one of the deadliest conflicts in history. When DICE decided it was going to tackle World War I, I wondered how they planned to approach it. Last week, we learned they were going to tell War Stories. Self-contained stories about certain people with World War 1 serving as the backdrop.
Over the weekend, the 12 minutes of Battlefield 1’s prologue were released. Titled ‘Storm of Steel,’ it shows a side of war we haven’t often seen portrayed in video games. Most war games tend to put you in the shoes of some unstoppable soldier. Rarely do we get an even semi-accurate portrayal of what the real men and women faced in the world’s largest wars.
DICE wants to create a game that is respectful of its setting. A lone soldier jumping between battles doesn’t do that. Focused stories across a cast of characters do.
In Storm of Steel, you’ll play as several characters across a single battle. From the up-close combat of trench warfare to a gunner inside a tank and a soldier experiencing a gas attack.
It’s still a videogame, but DICE does its best to portray what war is really like. Soldiers stumble around in shellshock while others cower beside the rubble of a blown out building.
It’s a haunting first look at World War I.
Here’s the opening cinematic for Through Mud and Blood. I’d avoid it if you don’t want any part of the story spoiled for you. But it’s a solid three-minute intro to the tank driver character we’ll be playing.
15 minutes of video obviously isn’t enough to tell us if Battlefield 1’s story will be good. But DICE is doing something right. I haven’t been this compelled to play a Battlefield story since the Bad Company series. While that series hallmark was its humor and fun story, Battlefield 1 sets a much darker tone.
DICE talked about embracing its multiplayer gameplay while designing Battlefield 1’s story. Look for missions to have a much more open-ended feel with multiple ways to tackle objectives.
Battlefield 1’s multiplayer is the big draw for most gamers. But a respectful approach to storytelling combined with a more open-ended gameplay focus could produce one of the biggest surprises in gaming this year.
Battlefield 1 will hit storefronts on October 21, 2016. A little extra cash gets you the Battlefield 1 Deluxe Edition and three days earlier on October 18th. EA Access members also get 10 hours of playtime starting on October 13th. You won’t get access to the full game, though. Five maps will be available along with two missions. Progress will carry over if you end up buying the game.