Battlefield 1 Announcement – Where Was The Respect?

Battlefield 1 Announcement – Where Was The Respect?

Last night, EA and DICE revealed the, somewhat illogically named, Battlefield 1 on Twitch and all the rumours were true, the next entry in the Battlefield franchise is taking us to World War One. While we didn’t get to see any in-game action, the sizzle trailer was exciting and gave a hint towards the gameplay dynamics we will see. I can’t fault it on that front, but something gave me pause for thought during the presentation – the seeming glorification of war. It made me wonder, where was the respect?

I’ll preface this by saying that I will still probably buy Battlefield 1 and have great fun playing it. If that makes me a hypocrite for criticising the tone of the presentation, then so be it.

It’s true, World War One was the first truly industrial war where technological advances came about at a stunning rate. But these were advances in ways of war, which went towards contributing to the death of over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians. While the exact figures are disputed, in the Battle of the Somme alone, there were over 1 million combat casualties across both sides of the conflict. On the first day of the Battle, the British Fourth Army alone suffered 57,470 casualties, of which 19,240 men were killed.

I don’t want to criticise any individuals who were involved in the Twitch live stream specifically, (and the might have been inadvertent, English isn’t the first language of the DICE personnel on stage)  more that the tone of the event didn’t feel right. One comment from the stream stood out to me in particular:

You get to experience the dawn of all out war, which is unmatched on an epic scale. The incredibly divergent technology they used, is just fantastic.

Other comments abounded about the the joys of bringing the experience of hand-to-hand combat to players and the game is called Battlefield 1, because the First World War was the genesis of modern warfare.

Even the official EA press release announcing the game makes the same type of comments:

Set against the backdrop of World War 1, witness the birth of modern warfare, as the Great War saw a furious arms race with new machines and weapons created to get the upper hand during the most technologically divergent war of all time. Feel the intensity and immersion as Battlefield 1 takes advantage of this modern arsenal to deliver the experience fans love, but with a fresh and modern twist.

Don’t get me wrong, I know any war game can be accused of being disrespectful to the events, and some people will always have an aversion to people making money based on the suffering of events in history. But I don’t think many games, or films, have been announced with such a crass tone.

I’ve got no personal problem with the setting of the game itself, rather some of the comments that have been used to describe it. I might be proven wrong, EA and DICE might row back on the hype and pay their respects for those involved in the War, I hope they do. Of course, there will also be a singleplayer campaign in Battlefield 1. In the past, games like Medal of Honour and the original Call of Duty titles have crafted great experiences, while also containing an element of respect for the victims of World War Two. Maybe the story in Battlefield 1 will be a bit more restrained, only time will tell.

 

6 thoughts on “Battlefield 1 Announcement – Where Was The Respect?

  1. Grow up, you don’t mean any of that – you’re just using the game’s setting as an excuse to start a SJW campaign – and to draw clicks.

    Ridiculous. Try some proper journalism.

    1. As I said in the article (an opinion piece I might add), I’ve got no problem with the actual setting of the game, rather the tone that was used in the press release/announcement.

    2. You aren’t any better, whining about “Social Justice Warriors”. It seems like nowadays if anyone takes any kind of issue with something they are an sjw as if they don’t have the right to be offended.

  2. Shouldn’t you be writing one of these for every war game since the dawn of computer games?
    What about this release in particular made you write this?

    1. The comment from the live stream:
      “You get to experience the dawn of all out war, which is unmatched on an epic scale. The incredibly divergent technology they used, is just fantastic.”
      Stuck in my head while watching it, and musing over it the next day, I still thought it wasn’t great. Then the comments that I quoted from the press release gave me the drive to write this.

      The difference with other games is that recent Call of Duty/Battlefield titles have been moving away from being based on real world events. Now as we are in the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, I just felt the comments both on the live stream and press release could have had less of feeling (which I had, others might not), that they were celebrating the technological advances of the war, without considering the effect they had.

      1. There is no other way for them to generate excitement for their game. It isn’t intended to be an educational piece. Do you think that similar things are not said by people who devote their lives to studying this and other conflicts?

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