Over the past month, I’ve noticed a lot of you feel the same way I do about the apparent exclusion of the French in the Battlefield 1 trailers. Mainly, “where are they?”
Feeling the pressure, DICE strategy director Julien Wera has spoken with the French newspaper “Le Monde,” about the issue and the news is promising, albeit controversial.
If you can’t watch the video:
In a rough translation, Wera says “The French army is present in the singleplayer. About the multiplayer, the French army role during World War I was so important that we’re planning on a special treatment requiring more time.” He says the French will be playable after launch in a DLC.
Now, before we through our hands up in collective disgust over the DLC news, DICE has yet to announce what the plans are for Battlefield 1’s downloadable content. No announcement has yet been made for a Premium-type subscription service, and another EA-published game, Titanfall 2, will not have paid maps and modes DLC. So, perhaps Battlefield 1 will also have some free DLC.
Some may argue, putting the French in DLC kind of minimizes their role in the conflict. However, the same could be said for a variety of other countries who were involved in World War I. Russia, Romania, Serbia, and Belgium to name a few. These countries are conspicuously absent from Battlefield 1 announcements so far. So why is that?
As much as I would like to have these countries included right off the bat, it’s not really feasible from a game development standpoint. DICE and EA had to make what was undoubtedly a tough decision about what direction Battlefield 1 was going to go, and what battles and confrontations would be covered. They knew this would piss off some people. A lot of this was likely driven by the game’s narrative, which we currently know little about.
Let’s be real for a moment: If you tried to put the entire First World War in a video game, it’d never get finished. You have to draw a line somewhere, and you have to pick and choose. When that happens, some people are left out. And yes, certainly the inclusion of America, despite its limited involvement in Battlefield 1, was probably to drive sales, I don’t think anyone’s denying that.
Personally, I’d rather have a solid, well-made game with a limited scope, than an enormous game that is broken. If Battlefield 1 performs well, perhaps a sequel will flesh out more of the other battles of the war.
In fact, I would have no problem if America was excluded from Battlefield 1 – and I say this as an American. I’d still play the game anyway, because it’s a World War I game, and I don’t want to lose sight of that.
This is the first AAA game to tackle this conflict. There are amazing stories to be told and new weapons and tactics we’ve yet to see. I’d be happy to play as a British, French, Italian, or Russian soldier. I’d even play as a soldier for the Empire of Japan or German Togoland, if it meant this game got made.
Thankfully, we do at least know France will be featured in the game’s singleplayer, and is on deck in a DLC. I don’t view this as an indictment of France’s efforts during World War I. She bore the brunt of the attacks on the Western Front. Few people would dispute this, and those that do have likely never opened a history book.
In fact, the announcement that France will be included as a faction DLC is actually encouraging in some ways. It means other countries will likely be added later on, so others like Russia, Belgium, and Romania may yet make an appearance in Battlefield 1.
Honestly, I rather like the idea of faction-based DLC, since it creates a more emotional connection with the game, when compared to new maps. What I dislike is the idea of paying for this kind of DLC. It seems like an over-commercialization of World War I (which was ironically commercialized in its own way during its own time). Something in my moral compass says “thousands didn’t die to be put behind a paywall.” So, I hope whoever is in charge of these decisions at EA makes a smart decision.