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World war whaaaat? Battlefield 1 erases history

100 years ago to the day New Zealand entered the Battle of the Somme, laying down life and limb to protect France from the German Empire. But what if France had never been in the First World War? Seems ridiculous right? Not if you’re Battlefield 1 developers DICE.

On the 4th August, 1914, the army of the German Empire invaded the neutral Belgium territories as part of their plan to subdue France with enough time to turn around and fight the inevitable Russian horde barreling down from the east. This violation of neutrality drew the British Empire into war and created the conditions for what we know now as WWI. You’ve probably heard of it.

Between 1914 and 1918, France would lose more than 4 per cent of her population fighting against the Central Powers, more than the entirety of the British Empire and second only among the Allies to Russia, who fought a more violent and inhumane conflict still on the Eastern Front.

Many of the most infamous battles in human history took place on the in WW1 France, including the pivotal Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. These conflicts would set the stage for the Second World War and the geopolitical realities of the modern world.

You would think, then, that anything based on WW1 would include the French and Russians. You’d be wrong.

Battlefield 1, DICE’s attempt at superimposing the squad-based tactical combat of the Battlefield games onto a WW1 setting, includes such integral factions as the Ottoman Empire, Italy and, OF COURSE, America, but totally lacks both the French and Russian armies.

There are vague rumours about a possible French DLC, but judging by DICE’s track record, it’s likely to be a paid DLC, meaning you have to shell up to play as the French.

What.

That’s like charging extra to have Storm Troopers in your Star Wars game, or Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter. It’s like putting [REDACTED] on every third word in an Ebook, removable via microtransaction. It’s like asking for extra cash to play as the Beastmen in a Warhammer game.

Oh wait, CA are doing just that.

But at least Total War: Warhammer is, for the most part, a polished product. Over at ARK: Survival Evolved there’s a whole new DLC available despite the game still being in Early Access on Steam. Call me old fashioned but I always assumed Early Access meant the game was almost – but not quite – ready for the market. Shouldn’t developers be focusing on finishing their games before they start selling expansions?

There’s nothing wrong with paid DLC in principle. Creating art, assets, animations and so on all takes a ridiculous amount of time and energy, and with budgets already running into the hundreds of millions for big releases it makes sense that developers would want a financial incentive for providing additional content, above and beyond the initial release.

But there’s a difference between providing paid bonus content and just withholding features that should have been present to begin with. That reeks of the sort of fleecing that has turned horrifically bad mobile games like Game of War and so on into multi-million dollar cash cows.

So sure, maybe without the French there was never a First World War, which is potentially a good thing, but without the First World War there’s no Battlefield 1 either.

Marinate on that for a second.


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