Battlefield 1 – A few thoughts

Ok, so there is a new Battlefield game that has been announced. I’m not going to link or embed the new trailer because I’m not a fan of the game thanks to the rather jarring premise.

Battlefield 1 will be set in the First World War.

I’ve written before about how I’m not overly fond of shooters set in this particular period in human history already over at Indie Haven. As wars go this one of the most complicated and morally ambiguous wars ever to take place. A planet-wide cluster fuck of colonial powers (Mostly European) releasing two centuries worth of pent up hate upon one another’s populace. It was a stupid war.

 It was also the one of the most horrific wars imaginable thanks to deplorable ingenuity each side used in trying to kill one another from various ranges. Chemical weapons such as Chlorine and Mustard gas were fired indiscriminately at the opposing sides.  1000 of young men were killed by these weapons without a chance, without a hope of running for their lives.

Battlefield 1 will let the player use chemical weapons.

Maybe one of the reasons I’m so uncomfortable about a first person shooter in the first world war was my upbringing. I’m from England where the first world war is still looked on with horror. We are taught it in schools never to forget it, not just in history classes but in English classes as well. For an entire term, my class was required to study Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum est. For those unfamiliar with it please read on.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Now imagine why I’m uncomfortable about this game.

I’ve said it a thousand times before and I’ll say it again; games can cover almost any topic  and any time period if the makers of the games understand the topic, treat it respectfully and know what is and isn’t appropriate to include.  Ubisoft tried and somewhat succeeded in creating a game about WW1 with Valiant Hearts, a game that explored the human side of the cataclysm (Although the games boss battles were unnecessary)


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About PropeRob

All round song and dance man with penchant for quoting Jeeves and Wooster and Toberlone's. Known to drone on about Video Games and geeky bollocks to anyone who can't escape in time.

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