EA DICE shooter Battlefield 1 has certainly been well-received since its announcement in early May, with its trailer becoming the most liked in YouTube history. Perhaps the reason why is its period World War 1 setting, which has caused the game to stand out in a crowd of future-set shooters like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Titanfall 2.
However, it turns out the historical setting for the upcoming title was actually initially rejected by an EA executive. At EA's annual Investor Day briefing on 17 May, EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Soderlund revealed that initially he "absolutely rejected" the idea.
"[World War 1] wasn't the most obvious choice," Soderlund said. "If you look at what other partners in our industry are doing, they're going into sci-fi; we've had a lot of success in the modern military space. But we felt like there was a need for a change and when the team presented to me the idea of World War I, I absolutely rejected it.
He told IBTimes UK something similar in an interview conducted at the game's launch event on 6 May.
After revealing he initially ditched the idea, Soderlund told us: "Then [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."
"We also wanted to make a more upfront, personal, visceral game so we looked at melee combat in WW1 and then we were like, 'This is it!'," he added. "Once we started to realise what gameplay we could deliver and how the era would be portrayed in the [Frostbite] engine and the grand scale of everything, we were sold on it."
Released on 6 May, Battlefield 1's trailer has racked up a whopping 31.8 million views as well as 1.6 million likes (and counting).
"The good news is that whenever you take creative risks, and it works, you actually can get to substantial success," he said. "I think that what the internet is telling us with 31 million views and the most seen trailer of the history of EA is that the World War I theme is resonating with players out there. I think we have done something that will be right for the franchise and right for EA."
In contrast, the title's rival Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, set in space in the far future, has proven to be extremely unpopular among viewers. According to a YouTube playlist that monitors the most disliked videos on YouTube, the trailer is currently sitting at No 2 with almost 2.4 million dislikes, behind Justin Bieber's Baby.
Although Battlefield 1's debut video was extremely well received, the EA boss says they have to remember that it is only the first trailer of the upcoming title.
"What's important is that we have to go back and make sure we deliver on the full promise of what Battlefield can be," he said. "And that we will do."
Battlefield 1 is set to launch on 21 October for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.