Let’s take a look at this video which explains why on earth was WWI so poorly exploited in the gaming industry for so long. There has been a real lack of WWI first person shooter (FPS) games, and this video finds the answer in the fact that WWI was fundamentally a trench war and a war of attrition.
It is also popularly seen as a pointless war that sacrificed hundreds of thousands of people due to somewhat trivial matters. In addition to this, the war was seen as a feud between European royal families whose origins were all intertwined through a complicated network of arranged marriages and relative connections.
So, WWI as a game narrative was often avoided, since it was hard to carve out a real bad guy. Unlike the Nazis during WWII – who were often driven by vicious ideas of racial superiority and world domination, the ordinary bloke during WWI was more like a character from Erich Maria Remarque’s classic anti-war novel ― All Quiet on the Western Front. A scared, shell-shocked human being, disappointed in the idea of waging wars for arrogant leaders. As Remarque beautifully put it:
“…Then in the arena the ministers and generals of the two countries, dressed in bathing-drawers and armed with clubs, can have it out among themselves. Whoever survives, his country wins. That would be much simpler and more just than this arrangement, where the wrong people do the fighting.”
No ideas. No battle between good and evil as in the Second World War.
But why is the First World War reinvented today as an FPS action-filled rollercoaster game? And how does Battlefield I respond with previous attempts to transform the war into a game? Let’s find out.