I’m going to be perfectly honest here: the only reason I know the names of a lot of guns, how they work and which wars they were used in is because I play videogames.
I didn’t study history and I have no interest in guns, but games taught me about them nonetheless. With that in mind, the upcoming Battlefield 1 is set in a time period I know very little about,World War 1, (say what??!! – ed. ) so can it teach me about that?
At the moment we only have a short 80 second reveal trailer to view. While that is an absurdly small sample size, it does do a great job of setting the feel for the full game.
Enter YouTube channel The Great War. This channel offers a pretty in-depth study of the war as it unfolded week by week, However, today the channel took a look at how historically accurate Battlefield 1 trailer is.
To answer my own question: yes, I do think this game will teach me about World War 1… in a roundabout way.
First of all the soldier using a spade as a weapon has brought a lot of laughs from the internet (my own Twitter feed has been full of them), but the video will teach you that it was a legitimate weapon of war. While bayonets are probably what you’d expect to be used in melee combat, it’s explained that they would get caught in enemies’ ribs (brutal) so a sharp shovel was a cleaner, more efficient weapon.
I also learned that we may get to use cool vehicles and weapons like armoured trains, zeppelins and anti-tank sniper rifles.
But, don’t get too excited. While the trailer has some spot-on details (like the way artillery shells pile up after use), it does contain a lot of inaccuracies. While this could be chalked up to artistic licence from developers DICE, fringe events or even placeholder assets, the idea of the game being accurate is summed up as follows:
We get asked a lot how accurate the trailer is in historical terms and it’s difficult to say. Some of the scenes feature some unusual or experimental gear and some weapons are carried from soldiers from the other side. Overall, it is an entertainment product foremost, and you probably won’t get an accurate depiction of the horrors of the war. However, the trailer already shows a lot of the aspects that are forgotten when talking about this war. The different theatres, the different vehicles and airplanes… It’s definitely plausible that the developers looked at the whole conflict and all of its aspects… Most of the scenes are only seen for the blink of an eye so we don’t get to see how loose or how accurate the whole game will be.