Part of the Battlefield™ V journey through a never-before-seen portrayal of World War 2 takes place across an anthology of single-player tales, known as War Stories. In these, you’ll play untold, unexpected stories of human drama set against global conflict through four firsthand accounts inspired by real places and events.
Create only-in-Battlefield moments through the events of the War Stories by using the tools of the Battlefield sandbox like destruction, weapons, and vehicles, to survive.
The War Stories
Each War Story transports you to a different part of the war. The ones available at launch and directly after include the below.
Below, you’ll hear from a few developers on what to expect from War Stories.
Explore the Untold
According to Eric Holmes, War Stories design director, DICE set out to make a Battlefield V single-player adventure that would break fresh ground and not rehash familiar portrayals of WW2. When brainstorming what stories to tell, the team took a red pen to the obvious, instead vying to bring players to a corner of the global conflict that was lesser known, but no less meaningful.
“That drove us to do a lot of research into places and things that we didn’t know and were surprised and struck by when we found about them,” Holmes said. “We decided when we would tell a War Story, for example, we’d either go to somewhere you’ve never seen or . . . be someone you hadn’t heard about.”
Holmes explained that if they veered into the familiar then they wanted to subvert it. In Under No Flag, for example, the relatively unknown Special Boat Section is the focus rather than the fabled Special Air Service, often depicted in popular culture.
The team was motivated by the magnitude of WW2, and not to be different just for the sake of it. They wanted to chronicle the historical period in single-player via “different voices, different nationalities, and different adventures” that draw on unfamiliar struggles, Holmes said.
These unexplored fronts are brought to life through narrative stitching of only-in-Battlefield gameplay and stunning cinematics. Pelle Hallert, cinematic director with DICE, took inspiration from the unseen and untold approach to War Stories and said players will come for the gameplay, but stay for the characters.
“We're not afraid of digging into the heavy topics,” he said. “To me, that's our strength, that we dare to grasp this, to show and portray the war from sides you haven't seen before.”
Crafting Single-Player in a Multiplayer Game
The heart and soul of every Battlefield experience is the gameplay. Deploy with a sandbox of weapons, vehicles, and destruction to dispose of your foes. With War Stories, DICE complements linear narratives with open-ended gameplay.
“The freedom and the agency comes from [figuring out] how you tackle and solve the problem,” Holmes said.
DICE found that the range of tones, styles, and voices explored were also an opportunity to nudge players to probe the different classes in Battlefield V, using fictional situations that focus on what each Class is good at. For example, Nordlys encourages an approach that favors the Recon Class. Playing Tirailleur with a Support Class state-of-mind might help against the battalion of enemies you’ll encounter.
It’s a subtle way of helping players become familiar with the various hardware in the game before jumping into multiplayer. And if they happen to learn something about the more obscure elements of WW2, that’s great, too, Holmes said.
A top-down look at the motion capture studio at Goodbye Kansas Studios in Uppsala, Sweden during the making of Under No Flag. (Photo: Pelle Hallert)
Similarly, Daniel Berlin, Battlefield V’s design director, had no trouble finding a place for single-player in a predominantly multiplayer game.
“One thing that the single-player does extremely well that is super important for the product, is that the single player is the driver for the style and the tone of the game — and I think people who played the Battlefield 1 prologue would agree with me in that statement,” Berlin said.
Actor Mark Strong lends his voice to the War Stories Prologue and trailer to help set the tone for Battlefield V and unify the different arenas of war under a shared human experience.
Strong, who’s worked in with both film and video games, said he found the emotional reach of the War Stories intriguing.
“There is an attempt to create an emotion in the player and viewer that accesses how we feel about war in general, what it does to people, what it means, even though it has, in terms of gameplay, elements of thrill, excitement, and danger,” Strong said.
“[The War Stories] also demonstrate the horror of war, the carnage, the wreckage and the emotional trauma of it, as well as the eventual hope that grows out of it,” he added.
Lessons from Battlefield 1
Holmes will be the first to admit that the development team took a big gamble with the introduction of War Stories in Battlefield 1, knowing exactly what they wanted to achieve but uncertain that players would embrace the format.
“We took a creative risk with the anthology format, asking players to connect with characters quickly, but it paid off,” he said.
The format gave players a breadth of emotional experiences across the Great War, all while showcasing what Battlefield 1 could do. The team has imported that approach to the next Battlefield title.
“[In Battlefield V], there’s a sense of risk, of personal connection we managed to build and double down on this time,” Holmes said, “I think that we’ve moved more confidently into different types of experiences and [are] able to take more creative gambles.”
One example Holmes touts is the use of native-language voice-overs for each War Story. Except for Under No Flag, which tells a story of British forces in English, each account is delivered in different languages tied to where they take place. Norwegians foment resistance speaking their homeland tongue in Nordlys, colonial troops fight for recognition in their adopted French in Tirailleur, and the fall of Germany is reconciled in German during The Last Tiger.
Audiences have become more sophisticated, Holmes said, devouring shows like Narcos and Game of Thrones, which eschew accented, localized voices for the more genuine subtitled, foreign-languages.
WW2 in Perspective
“The War Stories . . . build that sense of complexity and humanity against these really epic events of war, which [if] you were there, and you were fighting in it, you didn’t have any control over,” Holmes said. “But you had a life of your own and you maybe had dreams or ambitions or problems that you had to try and solve. That is something that War Stories has been surprisingly effective for.”
These experiences are about diving into WW2 through on-the-ground accounts of people wrapped in the broader conflict, told the Battlefield way. You won’t find super heroes toppling fascism with one shot and saving the world all by themselves. Instead, you’ll get an intimate idea of what it was like to have your regular life upended by unimaginable situations.
– Jeff Landa (Follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffLanda)
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