Set in the muddy trenches of the First World War, EA Dice's historical shooter Battlefield 1 has been well-received by gamers since its announcement in May. However, the developer has admitted that there were initial concerns about the upcoming title's period setting.
CFO Blake Jorgensen said that there was "some debate" within the company over Battlefield 1's setting because they were worried that its younger audience would not know anything about the Great War.
"World War 1, we were worried that many of the younger consumers out there didn't know that there was a World War 2 or Vietnam, so World War 1..." Jorgensen said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Global Technology Conference, Gamespot reported.
In an interview conducted at the game's announcement event on 6 May, EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Soderlund told IBTimes UK: "[DICE] came back with an incredible pitch, and gave me a glimpse at World War 1 and how different it was and what happened from 1914-1918.
"Basically, you went from swinging swords from the back of a horse in 1914 to flying bomber planes and tanks and submarines in 1918. The technical revolution or evolution during those four years is probably unmatched in the history of mankind. That, coupled with, it being the Great War, a global war that was everywhere, gave us locations that were different – and slowly pieces started to fall together," he said.
Later that month, Soderlund revealed that he initially "absolutely rejected" the idea because he did not think trench warfare would be fun for gamers. However, Dice managed to convince executives by creating a demo to demonstrate how the WW1 setting could work.
Since the Great War took place across Europe and parts of North Africa, Jorgensen said there was a great deal of geographic potential in terms of the game's content. "I think what people don't understand about World War 1 is the technology shift that went on during the war," Jorgensen said. "People started the war on horseback and ended the war with airplanes and tanks and battleships and submarines. And that's a huge opportunity for us to be able to do a video game around."
The EA Dice team's significant efforts to be historically accurate in its depiction of WW1 technology, from its equipment and vehicles to uniform and tactics, could make the game an interesting and entertaining learning tool about the Great War. However, Jorgensen's statement that its upcoming FPS is aimed at kids to some extent might be seen as controversial, given the fact that it will most likely be given an "M" rating.
So far, EA's creative risk and efforts do seem to be paying off, given the overwhelmingly positive reception from eager gamers. Battlefield 1's reveal trailer, which was released on 6 May, has garnered over a whopping 36.5 million views and nearly 1.8 million likes, making it the most liked trailer across video games, movies and TV shows on YouTube.
On 12 June, EA is planning to broadcast its first livestream of Battlefield 1 gameplay featuring 64 players battling it out, including some special guests and "some of the most-well known YouTubers and Twitch streamers around."
Battlefield 1 is slated for release on 21 October for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.