We’ve become somewhat spoilt with shooters lately. Genre games that not only place us smackdab in the middle of a conflict usually reserved for disaster porn sci-fi movies, but with the ability to navigate through those conflicts with enough gadgets to give Q Division an erection. EA’s Battlefield 1 isn’t one of those games however. It’s World War One to the max, a conflict that saw thousands of soldiers snuff it despite their best attempts to feign insanity so as to avoid yet another big push to move the brandy cabinet closer to the front. Wibble.
And that makes it somewhat unique this year when it faces off against Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and EA’s other shooter, Titanfall 2. Both of those games are right on the opposite end of the technology spectrum, but EA reckons that Battlefield 1 represented a risk that “made a lot of sense”.
“We took a risk on this. We zigged when the market was zagging in shooters,” EA global publishing chief Laura Miele said to GI.Biz.
It was something that, at the moment that we put out the press release, to get the fan response that we did, was incredibly gratifying and it was pretty thrilling to see how the market received the game in that way.
When you think about the major pillars of a Battlefield game-big, large, epic scale battles, massive vehicles, super diverse gaming tactics-the WW1 backdrop was actually a perfect place for us to map those pillars to that setting. [EA CEO Andrew Wilson], I think, was quoted on our earnings call to say that WW1 started with people on horses and ended with people on tanks. The technology evolution of WW1 was fascinating.
It’s going to be another clash of the titans this year as well. When it comes to rivalries, it doesn’t get any bigger than Battlefield vs Call of Duty which sends their respective fanbases into a frothing mouth frenzy the second anyone tries to compare the two. But Miele not only has respect for Activision’s biggest franchise, but also believes that the competition is good for everyone involved.
“I have always just thought that healthy competition in our industry is fun. We’re a game industry… I genuinely believe that the more great content that our players have and that the industry has then the healthier the industry is and the better it all is,” Miele said.
So I welcome the competitive challenge, but I also have a lot of respect for what our competitors do when new games come to market. I think it’s just a fun competition and I think our fans and our players love to play it up. That’s kind of the nature of our industry as the entertainment category that we’re in.
Battlefield 1 is out on October 21, with a beta coming up soon in the US summer while I freeze my socks off in this blasted southern hemisphere winter right now.