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How Battlefield 1's single-player campaign embraces diversity

Mini-stories prefered to single character arc

Battlefield 1's single-player campaign will jump between various characters and their stories in an attempt to portray the diversity of experiences during World War I.

In a blog post yesterday, developer DICE outlined its reasoning for avoiding the Battlefield series' traditional reliance on a single character, while adding some details about the game's story.

"The Great War is diverse," stated the post. "We knew we wanted to embrace that variety. There were so many different perspectives and characters in World War I and we wanted to cover as much ground as possible.

"We felt that to have one character hopping through those different settings wouldn’t be as immersive or totally respectful to the setting. So we decided on an anthology format; a set of characters with their own more focused stories."

A trailer released yesterday showed various characters in the trenches, the air war, and the North African campaigns. One of the stories will center on a young British soldier who is thrust into the war as a driver of a new invention, the tank.

"Our protagonist has no experience of these modern war vehicles and needs to learn fast," continues the blog. "[He] is struggling to earn the trust of his fellow crew members, so there’s a social dynamic in the story, making the whole thing something personal. Danny Edwards, our driver character, is not an ace sniper. He’s not a crack pilot. He’s not a demo expert. He’s a former chauffeur, a volunteer new to the war. He can drive and he can fix things. That’s where we start.

"In previous Battlefield iterations we’ve experienced the story through the eyes of one main character, and it was very rare that the camera cut anywhere. But in Battlefield 1 we decided we wanted stronger characters instead of just telling players ‘you are the character.’

"One way to do this was to invoke classic cinematics that let you see your character more than in first-person-theater. We wanted the player to see and feel what the characters are going through, rather than just experiencing it from behind their eyes. That has really payed off for us not just in storytelling ability, but in emotional engagement. "

Battlefield 1 will be released on Oct. 21 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

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