DICE revealed Battlefield 1 today, confirming an earlier leak that said it will take place during World War 1. At a behind-closed-doors event, the developer further detailed the sandbox combat in the game’s 64-player multiplayer battles
“It’s important to pay attention to the world,” lead designer Danny Berlin said. “There’s that rock-paper-scissor combat Battlefield is known for. With land, air, and sea, that stretches into even more possibilities this time around.”
“Land, air, and sea” means biplanes, triplanes, battleships, and an expansive arsenal of handheld weapons as well.
“There’s this common misconception that World War I was just muskets or something,” Berlin said, laughing. “But it wasn’t. It was a time of new weapons–bolt-action rifles, automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles. The freedom we have is massive.”
There’s also a stronger focus on melee combat, Berlin said. In fact, DICE designed the hand-to-hand combat from the ground up for Battlefield 1, complete with a bayonet-charge ability, sabers, trench clubs, and even shovels.
As for how DICE is using the time period to further the game’s mechanics, Berlin said the period is rife with new technology.
“This was the first time ever that people saw light tanks, heavy tanks, armored trucks,” he said. “If you pop your head up from a trench and see a tank about to roll over you–you should get out of there.”
Battlefield 1’s air combat will be just as nuanced, with dogfights, bombing raids, and strafing runs.
“We have bombers to clear the way for your troops,” he said. “If you’re in a bomber, you might want to have a buddy scouting, covering you from the ground.
“You can have these dogfights, with multiple people in planes–your buddy is in the rear seat shooting back at that guy while you fly alongside a bomber clearing the way for your troops.”
Battleships are also entirely controllable. You can “demolish an entire shoreline” in one, Berlin said. Battlefield 1 will also include lighter, more agile ships to reflect the dynamism present in the infantry combat and air battles.
These battles will play out on hills, wide fields, and, of course, trenches. Berlin was also quick to stress that the environments will be taken from around the world, in small towns and villages in the deserts of Arabia, the Italian Alps, and more.
All in all, Berlin said DICE is aiming to make use of the World War I era, complete with all of the new technology soldiers saw during the era, to further the “Battlefield flavor” the series is known for.
EA and Origin Access subscribers will be able to play Battlefield 1 on Oct. 18, followed by the game’s full release on October 21 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.