Executives at Electronic Arts were reluctant to greenlight the World War 1 setting for the next iteration of the Battlefield franchise over concern that their fans don’t know the Great War even happened.
EA CFO Blake Jorgensen spoke at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Global Technology Conference, relating concerns that resulted in EA’s initial rejection of the Battlefield 1 pitch. Foremost among those concerns was that the younger generation simply didn’t know about World War I.
Jorgensen said that they were “worried that many of the younger consumers out there didn’t know that there was a World War 2 or Vietnam, so World War 1…”
Their concerns were far from unfounded. The Nation’s Report Card by the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows a dismal 20% proficiency in History in Grade 4 students, declining to 18% and 12% at grades 8 and 12, respectively. Of all primary subjects studied, History scores the lowest by a fair margin.
Despite “some debate” internally, we’re fortunate that EA decided to take the leap. Jorgensen wants to represent a setting that was about far more than trench warfare:
“I think what people don’t understand about World War 1 is the technology shift that went on during the war,” Jorgensen said. “People started the war on horseback and ended the war with airplanes and tanks and battleships and submarines. And that’s a huge opportunity for us to be able to do a video game around.
The public is definitely on board, if the reaction to the game’s YouTube trailer is anything to go by. The official reveal is the most-liked trailer on YouTube, period. And while Jorgensen believes this reflects the “excitement” around the next title, he didn’t go so far as to say it was a direct indicator of sales performance when the title launches in October.
We’ll see a live 64-player match at E3 2016, and the public will have a chance to try out this new setting for the franchise during a beta scheduled sometime before release. Interested fans can get access as soon as possible by signing up with Battlefield Insider.
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