All is most definitely not quiet on the Western front in EA’s first single-player trailer for its forthcoming First World War-set Battlefield 1. Released today, it’s two minutes of gunfire, camaraderie, action set pieces and poignant close-ups designed to humanize the usually anonymous cannon fodder that characterizes the series’ multiplayer games.
In that brief runtime it manages to evoke Lawrence of Arabia, Warhorse, the Mel Gibson starrer Gallipoli and Aces High and feels every bit the cinematic tour-de-force. The oddly upbeat musical score would be more at home in the trailer for Secretariat 2, though, and shows EA are perhaps struggling with finding the right tone to appeal to action game fans while at the same time depicting in ever-greater detail a war whose defining characteristic was pointless slaughter.
There aren’t too many clues as to the eventual story here – just glimpses of multiple plot threads following a number of different characters. We do get a good look at Danny Edwards – the clear-eyed soldier we first met in the game’s reveal trailer back in May – who’s arc, titled ‘Through Mud and Blood’ takes place in the foggy forests of Europe (if you’ve seen the WW2-set Brad Pitt tank movie, Fury, you’ll recognize the setup).
EA and its DICE studio have promised a number of historical figures to meet and even play as and Lawrence of Arabia himself makes a brief appearance here, though no sign of the infamous Red Baron (outside of his plane, anyway) or (mercifully) a Robert Graves level where you press ‘A’ to write a realist war poem.
Battlefield 1 is out October 21 for Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4.