Video games sometimes struggle to do something different. In fact, it’s very hard at times to do something different, when it seems like everyone has done something like you have, or better. Thus was the case with the rivalry between Call of Duty and Battlefield. Both games were popular, and had a firm grasp in WWII, but then, they had to evolve. Both went modern, then one went futuristic. But then, EA pulled a swerve and unveiled Battlefield 1.
What made Battlefield 1 so special wasn’t that it had the best graphics, though it was pretty, or it had the most in-depth gameplay ever, though it was solid in many ways. No, what made Battlefield 1 so special, was that it took place in WWI, an area of the worlds history that honestly hadn’t been portrayed much, or at all, in video games.
While this may seem odd, especially with all the futuristic shooters that Call of Duty has had over the recent years, it actually worked in its favor. The DICE team now had something they rarely have: freedom to shape the game how they wanted, because no one else had done something like this before.
So, instead of one grand story, they decided to focus on story pods. Ones that cast a wide net over the “War To End All Wars”. For lest we forget, WWI had a LOT of combatants. The US didn’t even get involved until the final years, so there was a lot going on before we ever arrived, and the game showed that. Heck, it even went further by bringing in a legend via Lawrence of Arabia, to show just how “real’ this game was.
Now yes, not everything worked. The story at times was short, the pods were good in parts, but off in others. The gameplay was tight, but it had the standard flaws of shooters in some ways. But when we look at the legacy of Battlefield 1, what will we see?
I think we’ll see a game company and a publisher who decided to try something different. One that dared to say, “Let’s make this more real, and personal”. The game obviously resonated, it got a lot of sales, and was nominated for Game Of The Year by many sites, and even ranked high amongst fans. I think that speaks volumes.