Battlefield 1 Creative Director Stefan Strandberg and Battlefield 1 WW1 Concept Co-creator Martin Kopparhed at DICE discuss giving the Battlefield community something unique in Nivelle Nights and Prise de Tahure. Learn more about how they brought these multiplayer night maps to life.
From left to right: Martin Kopparhed and Stefan Strandberg at EA DICE office in Stockholm
What role did you have in bringing this new Battlefield 1 content to life? What was your day to day like working on these new Battlefield maps?
Stefan: My role is to make sure we stay true to the universe we set out to depict. Our unique take on WW1 was developed over a long time, where both Martin and I focused on bringing actual battles from the Great War into the hands of our players. We are looking for compelling stories, interesting locations, and compatible battles where we can give the community something unique from the setting and still stay true to the Battlefield formula.
Nivelle Nights is heavily influenced by the very nightmarish trench battles around Chemin des Dames, and was initially an internal passionate brainchild of Eric Rönnblom and Ludvig Kingfors. Prise de Tahure was born out of a concept where trenches spread across an urban environment, something really unique that was missing from the main game but brings a new and authentic WW1 space into the game.
Battlefield 1 artwork
What were some of the challenges from the dev team when making these new maps?
Stefan: Both our teams at DICE Stockholm and DICE LA are our own biggest critics. When making new maps for Battlefield 1, the teams are facing tons of challenges of gameplay balancing, capturing the historical aspects, developing a visual identity, performance issues, and many different challenges per map. Every map is unique in that sense. But the team is bringing their own passion to these challenges, and that is the reason why our players come back to the maps they love.
What are some of the small details that go into map design that readers might be interested in learning about?
Martin: With Nivelle Nights and Prise de Tahure being our first multiplayer night maps there are a lot of details around the lighting. We researched and utilized some WW1 night combat elements like search lights and tracer bullets to provide for a dramatic lighting and atmosphere.
Personally, I was also fascinated by the frosty water puddles and icicles created by our artists to place Nivelle Nights and Prise de Tahure in the cold of late autumn.
We researched and utilized some WW1 night combat elements, like search lights and tracer bullets, to provide for a dramatic lighting and atmosphere.
What are some of the real-life events from WW1 that inspired these Nivelle Nights?
Stefan: Reality triumphs fiction every time we dig deeper into the Great War. The series of battles around the Chemin des Dames ridge are truly awe-inspiring and horrific at the same time. It is one of those battlefields that are known in France but less known to the rest of the world. One only has to look at pictures of the devastated village of Soupir in 1917 to try to understand the scale of destruction. Something our incredible talented team managed to capture in this map.
What were some real-life events from WW1 that inspired Prise de Tahure?
Martin: In this case, we wanted to make our first two multiplayer maps set during the night, we wanted them to feature the French and German armies, and we wanted to focus more on trench warfare, with one of the maps having a twist of being more urban.
Battlefield 1 artwork
In the autumn of 1917, following the Battle of the Hills, a lot of minor attacks and trench raids back and forth were going on between French and German forces in the Champagne region. I started reading about the “lost villages” of Champagne-Ardenne, all located on or near the frontline for a large part of the war, which were totally destroyed in the brutal fighting, never to be rebuilt. One of these villages was Tahure, where only the church altar remains today.
Tell us a bit about your background with EA. How long have you worked on Battlefield games?
Stefan: We have both been with DICE and EA for 10+ years and both worked on several Battlefield titles. Together we have a broad background of both sound, design, single player and concept design. We dislike the word “veterans” because it just makes us feel old… But hey, together with an incredible team we became even older in style.
EA DICE in Stockholm
Is there anything that you would like to expand on?
Martin: It is a very interesting and rewarding ongoing experience for the whole team to develop Nivelle Nights and Prise de Tahure in Battlefield 1’s new Community Test Environment, with huge engagement and input from our players. So, a big thanks to the Battlefield 1 community for being with us on this journey!
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