Battlefield 1: What Went Wrong? – Wisecrack Edition


Hey Wisecrack, Jared again. We got some really encouraging comments from
our Suicide Squad autopsy, so we’re trying it again. This time we’re diving into the trenches
with my latest time-suck: Battlefield 1. Just a note here, we’re not out to tell
you whether or not Battlefield is fun (it is), or if it’s historically accurate (it’s
not), or if snipers are ruining the game (they might be). We’re here, instead, in good Wisecrackian
fashion, to delve into the brains of the game. Battlefield 1 does something that most of
its predecessors never dared to do, and that was to say something. Now, saying something in a game that’s 90%
getting taunted by 12 year olds “…and piss off!” is difficult, but Battlefield tries nonetheless. But does it succeed in saying something? Well, let’s find out! Welcome to this Wisecrack autopsy of Battlefield 1. Spoiler alert for old War movies that you
probably should have have seen already anyway. But first, some context. Setting Battlefield in the First World War
is more meaningful than you might think. Of course, you could say the creators chose
The Great War because they’d run out of modern wars after exhausting World War 2,
Vietnam, the present day, the future — and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, I’d like to argue that Battlefield
1’s setting provides really fascinating insights into contemporary politics and how
we think about war. If you grew up around the same time I did,
your childhood probably meant weeks of hunkering down in front of a TV to avoid the sun and
murder Nazis. So – many – Nazis. This was an era marked by games like Call
of Duty, Medal of Honor, and, of course, Battlefield 1942. World War 2 is a media darling for a reason. No matter where you land on the political
spectrum, we can all agree who the good guys were, and who the bad guys were. And while World War 2 has been, and will likely
continue to be, a hugely popular inspiration for media, it was really popular in the early
2000s. I don’t think this is entirely coincidental. Call of Duty released in 2003, the same year
the United States invaded Iraq. Medal of Honor, which launched in ‘99, released
8 of their 11 titles in the four years following the start of the Iraq War. Battlefield 1942 released in September 2002,
the same month George Bush formally called for the ousting of Saddam Hussein and a year
after the US declared a “war on terror” in response to 9/11. Meanwhile, this era saw hugely popular movies
like Saving Private Ryan, which went on to inspire Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Enemy
at the Gates, Pearl Harbor, and the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. World War 2 caters to everyone’s needs. For the proponents of the War on Terror and
the Iraq War, which was, at its onset, the vast majority of people, World War 2 affirms
the story of America-as-savior-of-the-world. We restored freedom to Europe, and we’re
back to do it again. “America, f*ck yeah!” And for those against
America’s continued involvement in the Middle East, World War 2 provided a comforting escape
to the good ol’ days when good and evil were as clear as black and white. “There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War 2, and the Star Wars Trilogy.” So what does any of this have to do with Battlefield
1? World War I has never, in recent memory, been
a popular war for media. But all the sudden it’s featured by a huge
franchise. What makes this war resonate with gamers now? Sure its in the midst of its centennial, but it was
a war where millions didn’t even die in the glory of battle, but from disease; a war
where there are really no good guys or bad guys. Given our current shift in opinion about American
interventionism, we no longer see our wars as conflict between
good and evil akin to World War 2, but as a futile tragedy akin to World War 1. This sense of tragedy is bolstered throughout
the game by its use of pathos. Pathos is a Greek word for “suffering, feeling,
emotion, calamity,” and, for Aristotle, is one of the three modes of persuasion. For a game that’s mostly about its multiplayer,
Battlefield finds a lot of ways to inject pathos. And not just the usual “sacrifice for the
greater good” kind, either. “All we got out here’s blind orders – and chance.” For one, instead of infinitely respawning
in the prologue, we’re told that we are “Not expected to survive.” We’re launched into a gray, bleak hellscape,
where every time you die, you’re shown the name, birth and death dates of the soldier
who just died. Rather than presenting an endless series of
faceless deaths, the game gives the player a feeling of pity for the soldiers, and emphasizes
the fact that each death is an individual human tragedy. These mini-obituaries share something with
the original war story — The Iliad — in which Homer provides a mini obituary for almost
every character that dies, no matter how minor, in order to make sure the reader doesn’t
forget the cost of battle. As thinker Jasper Griffin argues, while many
stories use the “countless insignificant dead” as nothing more than a “mighty number
for the hero to slay,” the Iliad draws emotion from the deaths of even the most insignificant
heroes. In a genre that thrives on hordes of faceless
people to kill – Battlefield 1 sets itself apart by forcing us to confront the actual
human toll of the war. Even the loading scenes of Operations mode
don’t provide a coherent narrative so much as explore the emotional lives of soldiers
from both sides: The hollow optimism of Brits fighting the Ottomans
and American doughboys fighting the Germans, And the inevitable confrontation with the
horrors of war. Battlefield set itself up in a great place:
showcasing the hopes, thoughts and dreams of soldiers during a war fraught with moral
ambiguity. In the prologue, we see a Harlem Hellfighter
facing off with a German soldier. They both lower their weapons in resignation. This sort of thing happened more than you
might realize. You’ve probably heard of the Christmas Truce,
where soldiers from opposing armies stopped murdering each other and even exchanged gifts. So, awesome. Battlefield sets itself up to explore this
dynamic in its campaign; that Unlike World War II, we the audience are a little more
primed to feel for the opposing side. But Battlefield quickly abandons this in the
bulk of the single player. As soon as you move on to another war story,
you’re faced with actual faceless NPCs for you to mow down, and fair enough – feeling
sad for the enemy doesn’t make for very exciting gameplay in an first person shooter. But if we had our Wisecrack way, it would
be really interesting if the theme embodied in the Hellfighter stand-off was further developed
in the game. We see similar confrontations explored in
film. In World War 1 classics like “Paths of Glory”
and “All Quiet on the Western Front,” the bad guy is not the enemy, but the war
itself is. In “All Quiet on The Western Front,” a
soldier is met with horrible remorse when he stabs an enemy combatant in a foxhole. In “Paths of Glory,” a captured German
woman is berated by a bunch of rowdy soldiers before they’re overtaken by the beauty of
her voice. The arbitrary division of humanity melts away
as soldiers join her in song. This is one of my favorite scenes in all of cinema. In World War 2, however, the bad guy is…the
bad guy. Saving Private Ryan, for instance, shows us
an act of mercy gone wrong: After Upham finds camaraderie with his German enemy, he gets
his friends killed. This fact forces Upham to reevaluate his view
of war, and of Germans. Despite featuring some stories from the Central
Powers in some of the loading scenes, only Allies are playable in the campaign. This is a tragedy, because the interactivity
of video games can provide an unprecedented amount of depth to these kinds of narratives. What do the stories being told in Battlefield
look like from the eyes of a German or an Ottoman soldier? Rather than diving into any of the interesting
themes the game sets up, such as: the world’s first “industrial” war, its morally ambiguous
nature, and the human cost of battle, we’re instead given generic stories about self sacrifice
and personal growth. Video games are an incredible art form, one
with tons of untapped potential. And yeah, I get it, the game is about yelling
at people to play the fucking objective. But the creators of Battlefield 1 tried to
do something insightful, and for that, we commend them. If you make games and are watching this, please
do more of this. But if you’re a lowly gamer like us looking
for a great game that explores the psychological impact and moral ambiguity of war: play Spec
Ops: The Line. Thanks for watching guys! Peace!

100 thoughts on “Battlefield 1: What Went Wrong? – Wisecrack Edition

  1. That was the one thing that I disliked about 'Saving Private Ryan'. That scene where he feels compassion for the captured German. Is the film saying they should have just executed their captive? So it's ok just murder a soldier because if not he would kill you? If you had been captured, and then freed, of coarse you would return to fight with your comrades. Would an American not do just the same thing?

  2. how could you say that USSR were the good guys? Have you ever read any history book that is not communist propaganda? Have you EVER learned what Stalin did to his own people and other surrounding nations? If you say that Hitler was a bad guy (which I ofc agree), then you have to say that Stalin was the real Devil

  3. I think Killzone shows that there are no good or bad guys at war. And if you think about it, you can understand, why both sides fight against each other.

  4. It's not a WW1 game. They completely butchered the portrayal of that conflict. It's a clusterfuck of a fictional war set in the 1920's.

  5. 1:40. I'd actually count the USSR as one of the bad guys, since they did invade Finland, kill millions of it's own people through political purges and massacre thousands of German civilians.

  6. Even though every one agrees that nazis are bad I don't think we can say that WW2 was a battle of good vs evil. We have to understand that in a war both sides believe they are the good one. Do you really think that the majority of the german population at the time saw themselves as genocidal assholes? No! They we just battling do defend their glorious nation. Besides the holocaust part and the technological difference WW2 and WW1 were basically the same, a war based on nationalist bigotry and grudge. That old rivalry between germans and british, or british and french, and so on.

  7. Not sure about you but check the inconsistencies if you think you clearly know who the good guys were in World War 2. Coming from you guys you should be more grey than black or white. Idiots.

  8. This is how I think of war the Americans vs Germans america thinks Germans are the bad guys and the Germans think the Americans are the bad guys see my point?

  9. What qualifications does this guy have that's narrating the video, i wanna be just as smart, old timey and wise as him

  10. A fun game that was meant to bring out the horrors of war only played the side of the English speaking soldiers (Except that Italian) Piety I say. Also i think it would of been interesting to play as an Austrian-Hungarian Soldier who was Croatian or Hungarian, or any ethnic group that was part of the Empire, or maybe a Polish German soldier on the Russian Front fighting his fellow Poles who were fighting for the Russians. To truly show an emotional experience.

  11. "No matter where you land on the political spectrum, we can all agree who the good guys (in WW2) were and who the bad guys were." Not if you ask certain areas of 4chan… But even disregarding the braindead idiots who mindlessly parrot how Hitler was a good boy who didn't do nothing wrong, calling the Soviets 'good guys' is pushing it. They were our allies, yeah, but that was a deal with the devil if I ever saw one.

  12. These are fun. I don't know if this is where you ask, but would we one day see a Philosophy of One Piece? I think freedom is the biggest theme to explore.

  13. ww1 was the war to start all wars, everything since can be connected to ww1, every war, including the war on terror, all of them tie back to the events of ww1.

  14. Wisecrack, be careful about game releases. Game take hella long to make over movies and TV, upwards of 2 years or more. So even though lots of war games came out around 2002-2003, they were probably developer from 2000 and earlier, before 9/11.

  15. tbh battlefield one is my favorite videogames (only Timesplitters and ocarina of time are higher), but I completely missed the last console generation. perhaps my view is warped..

  16. Only play "spec ops: the line" if you really wanna see what war does to people cause that game ain't trying to be fun

  17. Watching this in 2018 lol the knowing who the good guys and bad guys were comment did not age well with all the LITERAL FUCKING NAZIS running round in America and Poland

  18. Soviet Union as good guy. LOL Stalin was 10 times worse than hitler and he wiped out 1/4 of his country. I think there should be games where we could kill Stalin.

  19. As of Feb 2018 the game runs great on PC. It has just had a new TTK patch which is great and more new DLC maps and some free. I find loads of full servers at any hour of the day and I don't see any blatant cheaters after the Fair Fight patch.. There is still more new maps coming next month with new game modes, new equipment, and weapons.. To be fair I still see occasional net code problems but it doesn't happen that often, like dying around corners and shots not registering. It doesn't happen often. Team balance is what needs to be addressed. More optimization would be a plus too.

  20. Yeah, aremika saved Europe and everyone else from nazis. Sure. Third Reich might've suffered over 60% of all of it's losses to commies, but it was 'murica that saved everyone, of course.

  21. "No matter where you are on the political spectrum, we can all agree who were the good guys and who were the bad guys"

    That statement hasn't aged well this past year.

  22. 1:42 wtf the Soviets were not at all one of the “good guys” they literally killed their own people

  23. there are issues with the multiplayer that really "killed" it. It does not feel right to be "downgraded" so hard. I want proper weapons and equipment, like in BF 4. Thats why I never bought it. its so arbitrary what kills you. In ww1 weapons where not powerful, so they are artificially made stronger. I rather want to have to balance of modern weapons.

  24. when you recommended Specs Ops the line I litterally had goosebumps just remembering that game sorta like a ptsd moment.

  25. I think the game can explore the optimism and hopelessness in the multi player like one game where I was an ottoman soilder on a desert map against the British and they had all the tanks and I felt the hopelessness that a real ottoman soilder would've felt if I saw giant pieces of metal with guns on the horizon.

  26. Do The Philosophy of Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic 2( Or just about the character Kreia)

  27. When I first saw this title, I thought it was referring to the movie Battlefield Earth: It's one of the worst movies ever, and based off of the first half of a bad book series.
    Wisecrack, I think you could do that movie at some point.

  28. So I'm late to this party, but I think something is missing from the video as far as narrative goes. Mostly for game play purposes, the game largely takes place in 1918. Most of the criticisms addressed by this video can be answered by time frame used. A lot of the warm feelings that were often displayed with examples like live and let live were gone by 1918, especially after the start of the Kaisarschacht.

    We also have a massive problem talking about World War I because the hopelessness and ambiguity is read into it largely by people that weren't there or who lived through the Second World War. It can be reasonably argued that they were the same conflict with a twenty year armistice, hwich makes WWI look even more futile. The trouble is, if one goes back and reads contemporary sources that haven't bed edited by revisionists in the inter-war or post-war years, things get even muddier. A prime example is Wilfred Owen. He's often cited as a luminary who shattered forever the romantic vision of war with his poetry recounting the terrible reality and with his own tragic death so close to the armistice. Trouble is, that's not the entire story. He was awarded a medal for taking out multiple machine gun nests (which his family edited down to the part where he capture Germans, leaving out that he killed several) or some of his less known works were he focused on the idea that there were things worth fighting for and that there was a sort of beauty in duty.

    When the war was over and the monuments went up, there was a popular idea in the Allied nations about what the war had been for. American correspondents during the war and before American entry into the war were united on the idea that the Germans committed atrocities, the British lied about them, but France and Belgium were the most just in the entire war because they were repelling invasion. German historian Fritz Fischer, writing after WWII went on to state that German territorial ambitions were the same in both wars, and the Kaisar was willing to stave Russian prisoners to death rather than care for them. Certainly both World Wars had combatants with mixed motives, but it's reductionist to say there were no good guys and no bad guys.

    I took sort of the long way around, but I think that was missed in the analysis of the video, but people don't really come here for deep history lessons as much as they do the philosophy.

  29. I do enjoy the campaign for battlefield 1, especially the Italian campaign which is often seen as inaccurate with the armor. But if you pay attention to the narrator telling the woman about it it’s obvious he’s lying with the line “I was…wearing a suit of armor”. Probably to make her feel less worried about him in the story. Though that’s just my guess

  30. i used to play a game while watching a friend playing burnout 3- everytime he hit some "civilian" car, thus destroying it, i'd say "that was a baker from NY" or "that was a painter, father of two" and other shit like that.
    after the initial laughs he asked me to stop because it was getting depressing 😀
    duh!

  31. So true, i have always loved the prologue mission. And how it showed the cost of war, while showing that every man is just a piece of a bigger puzzle. And even when i was killing the german soldiers, in the back off my head i was wondering if the faceless men i was killing had names? has a wife or brothers back home? The ending has to be my favorite part, were the two soldiers put their guns down, because why were they fighting? Plus the black soldier in the beginning waking up from a nightmare, remembering what happened, and that war still haunts him. Over all the stories were good and fun, but missed out for a great opportunity for something more.

  32. If you are in the 'soviet good nazis bad' circlejerk, look up holodomor. 10 million dead and no one blinks an eye. The "at least they weren't Nazi" mentality is guilty of what causes atrocities by other sides go totally unchecked. All sides of the conflict should be subjected to critical examination and not biased cockriding.

  33. Someday the world will realize that WW2 was complicated too. We only remember it as black and white because of propaganda.

  34. u know, the U.S was not going to join ww2? the only reason they joined was due to Japan's direct attack aka pearl harbor. people supported the axis in america. bro the allegiance to the flag before 1940 idk what was like the fuhrers salute.

  35. HOLY SHIT YOU MENTIONED SPEC OPS I FUCKING LOVE THAT GAME PLEASE DO A VIDEO ON IT PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT THAT GAME HAD ON ME

  36. Anyone notice that wisecrack called the USSR the “good guys”?

    Someone should do a video called “the philosophy of wisecrack”

  37. While watching this, I was thinking … why you not talking about Spec Ops: The Line? Why? Didn't you know? Maybe you are not such so smart you think your are … maybe … well and then 8:25 happend … :p

  38. The campaign lacked objectivity, which is super unfortunate.. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary weren't the same as their fascist successors (more specifically regarding Austria and Germany). Maybe it's not a huge deal, I'm not sure how many people still unequivocally blame the German Empire for WW1 (I personally don't find them liable, seems to be almost entirely at fault of Austria-Hungary). Either way, they should have included an experience with the German Empire or Austria-Hungary, they weren't as much of an 'objectively bad guy' as the game made them out to be.

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