Battlefield 1’s Opening Actually Says Something About WW1’s Pointless Carnage

Battlefield 1’s Opening Actually Says Something About WW1’s Pointless Carnage

I didn’t know how Battlefield 1 was going to approach the Great War, which was historically not great at all. I was worried they’d treat it like a fun game. But “Storm of Steel” doesn’t shy away from the war’s brutality.

Spoiler Warning: If you want to experience this incredibly interesting and smart bit of game design on your own, avoid reading further or watching the video. Trust me.

“What follows is frontline combat. You are not expected to survive,” the game warned me before the level. They were right. I fought to maintain positions, using every last bit of ammo. It was never enough.

When I died, I jumped to a new soldier and fought on hopelessly until they died too. Pretentious literature major that I am, I thought of a quote from Hemingway:

“They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.”

It was brutal. Men burned alive and gas filled trenches. Artillery killed friend and foe alike. Senseless, loud and horrifying scenes played out. I drove by a cowering soldier in my tank and nearly opened fire. I spared that soldier but shot down dozens more until a bomb took me and my crew out in a massive explosion.

While any video game trying to capture the scale and stupidity of war is bound to fail, this attempt was noteworthy. I wasn’t some chosen soldier destined for legend; I was disposable fodder. A body to be thrown at the enemy, only earning a name in death.

In spite of this, the level ends with hope. A tired soldier from the Harlem’s Hellfighters draws his weapon on a Central Power infantryman. It becomes a stand off until the two lock eyes and, tired beyond their years, lower their guns.

I’m still reeling, gang. That’s how you start off a game about World War One.


  • Well, that was surprisingly emotional. I’m glad they’ve taken their time with this game, unafraid to push its quality this time rather than shoving it out the door and rushing it, it really does look splendid. We’ve pre-ordered and I do *not* regret that one bit for once. So glad they went away from stock standard modern shooters this time.

    • im thinking about getting it, but its only because i want to see how badly they fuck up the ANZAC Landings. Also the prologue must take place during mid 1917 because the yanks didnt get involved until very late in the war ( it was the key reason the war ended with Britain and France as the winners)

      • Seriously, don’t look to a Battlefield game for historical accuracy or you’re going to have a bad, bad time. You’re just setting yourself up here for failure.

        • oh i know xD, i just wish dice and EA would bring back the good old Bot matches from 1942, 2142, vietnam and Battlefield 2.

          • lol yeah that’d be cool. But at least they’ve gone away from the modern futuristic crap of 3 and 4. I’m eager as a beaver to dive back into this stuff.

      • The US was important only so much as it brought more troops and materiel to the war – an army that wasn’t already exhausted from years of war. When they did turn up, they still hadn’t adapted to the new methods of war and continued with suicidal frontal attacks that most others had given up.

        But without FREEDOM FROM THE BARREL OF A GUN being first and foremost in the game, none of the dudebros would buy it. Which is why I don’t know if I’ll bother, because there’s no point it being WW1 if it’s just “US LOL oh hey and they had friends too I guess”.

  • IMO I think people should still wait for reviews etc. I mean it took them 2 years to admit their failings with BF4 and get it to a reasonable state of game play.

    They had proven with BF4 they will tell consumers anything to get pre-order sales.

    On topic, I don’t think there is any way you can respect the horror of an actual war in a video game. Just doesn’t sit right with me, but I guess that is consumerism for you.

  • Video did nothing but remind me of how this game is a nasty piece of cash grab during centenary commemorations of WW1.

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