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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Revisionism, imperialism, military worship; the many reasons Battlefield 1 is terrible

Game Theory by Matt S.

Battlefield 1 represents everything wrong with blockbuster storytelling. What has been billed as an attempt to represent the stories and the reality of one of the most horrific wars in human history instead comes across as dangerously revisionist and imperialist. The military hero worship is so overdone that it’s simultaneously a piece of propaganda and a complete insult to the people who actually fought in that war.

Related reading: DDNet's Nick was much, much more positive on the game. For a second opinion be sure to check out his review.

There’s just so much wrong with this game’s narrative that I’m struggling to find a meaningful starting point. Instead, I’ll break it down into various components and discuss each individually. The game’s real problem is that it manages to bring all these separate issues together to create one giant mess of a narrative, but in breaking things down I hope I’m highlighting the extent of Battlefield 1’s problems with the way we (in the West) generally approach military history and storytelling. Films and literature are every bit as guilty of doing what I detail below, but in this game it’s handled in an even more infantile manner, as most games struggle to work nuance into their storytelling.

Revisionism and Battlefield 1: leading people dangerously astray

The biggest issue that I have with Battlefield is its revisionist approach to history through its storytelling. This is a game that has no interest in providing a balanced look at the circumstances around the war. Instead, it subjects us to a reductive “goodies vs. baddies” narrative that, in the process, teaches a dangerously limited understanding of the war, and one that verges on being outright propaganda.

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Revisionism, imperialism, military worship; the many reasons Battlefield 1 is terrible
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