“Just under 15 million on Battlefield 1”. This is how many units EA’s Chief Financial Officer, Blake Jorgensen, expects the new title to sell in 12 months. It’s been a couple of weeks since Battlefield 1’s release. Maybe it’s too early to tell as of yet just how destructive it is going to be. However, it’s potential to topple Call of Duty as the “King of Shooters” is showing, with reviews coming out as near-perfect. But there is a question I’ve been asking myself as of late, and that is whether Battlefield 1 is the World War 1 shooter we have been waiting for.
To answer this question though, we need to take a look at a few facts. By creating a comparison of another two new shooters released last month, we discover something interesting to say the least. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Titanfall 2. Both are set in the future. Both have wall running and double jumping and both have highly advanced machinery that one can use at will. It’s a tried-and-tested setting that feels all too familiar. It also looks fictional. It represents a freedom to improvise and imagine technology that we can only dream of. They both stand side-by-side, showing designs that were based on the notion “I wonder what a war in the future looks like?”.
Along came Battlefield 1. It’s The Great War. It’s remembered. It’s happened. And this is my point: World War 1 is the event that shook and changed the world forever. It’s not fiction. It’s not based on a complete fantasy. There’s no futuristic imagination in the sense that what you see is probably what you’ll never get. What you see in Battlefield 1 is reality. With EA coming along and deciding to base their best-selling franchise on events that have already happened… well, it becomes “I wonder what a war from the past can bring us?”. Battlefield has transformed itself into a delightfully gruesome representation of war. And for the better.
Is it really the shooter we’ve all been dying to get our hands on? Is it the saving grace for First Person Shooters? Well, in short, yes and no. We can observe this from a couple of different angles. Firstly, there’s sales. Battlefield 1 blasted it’s predecessors out of the water here in the UK. It sold more in its first week than Battlefield: Hardline and Battlefield 4 combined. Add to this that Battlefield 1 had over 13 million beta players, whereas Hardline had over 7 million. That’s still not quite a number you can count with your fingers and toes, but you get the picture.
Equally as important are the reviews. It’s the most liked trailer on YouTube with over 2 million likes. TrustedReviews gave it 9/10. On Metacritic it has attained an average rating of 4.5/5. It’s clear to see that if you simply type “Battlefield 1 reviews” into Google, every link will guide you to an outstanding reception. So the numbers in every sense are high, and that is nothing but an uplifting result. But what is it like to play a game set in such a devastating time? Manic. Heartbreaking. It’s knowing that the actions I take and the enemies I silence would be a small, but significant, flashback.
The way I lay in the mud, in France, with aeroplanes gunning above, and bombs dropping below, is what would have happened, bullet for bullet, in the actual war. I cannot think of the words to describe how incredible the package is. From its campaign to multiplayer, DICE have developed a truly haunting trip into the terrors of war-torn Earth. Aesthetically, it is an absolutely stunning game. Frighteningly beautiful in its recreation. DICE deserves a medal of its own for the justice it serves not only for what fans have screamed for, but for the task the team committed to. It’s a serious kick in the hodensack for Call of Duty.
That in no way implies I want Infinite Warfare to fail. It was always going to be a challenge to live up to Black Ops III. Or the Black Ops brand as a whole. But with the way the gaming universe has taken to Battlefield 1 so far, it could be a sign that, just for once, a slight change in setting may be on the cards. Just putting it out there Activision..