The rivalry between the Call of Duty franchise by Activision and Battlefield by Electronic Arts has been around quite a while, representing the “big guns” wielded by two of the most prominent publishers in the industry.
At times the two franchises traveled on parallel courses, while in other cases their routes diverged, but the newly announced Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1 really couldn’t be more different. They’re basically polar opposites.
If the good folks at Infinity Ward and EA DICE sat at a table together in order to agree on how to distinguish their games from each other as much as possible, they probably couldn’t have come up with a better result than this.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare pushes into the future, with clear science fiction elements like space warships and battles all over the Solar System. We’re going to fight in zero gravity and to pilot futuristic star fighters in the void of space.
Battlefield 1 takes a time machine going back as far as the franchise has ever been into the past, to a World War I setting that is rarely explored by first person shooters and video games in general. There will be no modern of futuristic weapons, replaced by old and charming Mauser guns and brutal trench clubs. We’re going to fight in the most muddy and grounded battlefields possible.
Instead of getting two relatively similar products in less than a month, we’re going to be able to delve in two completely different settings, that will definitely influence how both games are played.
Despite being futuristic, Call of Duty is going to feature weapons that will perhaps prove more familiar to modern FPS gamers, since the developers have pledged to keep the main focus on ballistic ammunition. Yet, there are probably going to be plenty of gadgets and trinkets designed for the soldier of the future.
We heard about a spider-bot grenade that seeks enemy, and if that’s an example of what awaits, the only limit is the imagination of the team at Infinity Ward.
Battlefield 1 is going to put in our hands some classic guns that have nothing in common with modern M4 assault rifles and Desert Eagle pistols. Semi-automatic rifles and guns are probably going to be prominent, shifting the focus on precision and patience and away from the “spray and pray.”
We’re going to have to deal with the threat of chemical weapons, and melee-heavy combat with trench clubs and bayonets has the potential to deliver one of the most brutal FPS in recorded history.
Both games are going to have vehicles, but even here we’re looking at entirely different approaches. Infinite Warfare will put you at the controls of sci-fi like starfighters able to dynamically switch between atmospheric and space flight, and let you command a whole carrier in strike missions.
Battlefield 1 will get back to the root of vehicle warfare, letting you drive primitive tanks that can now be found only in (very few) museums. It will also give you wings, but they’ll be made of brittle plywood and fabric.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see the damage models for those warbirds, since those early biplanes and triplanes were made mostly of empty space to save weight, and their unreliable machine guns weren’t exactly effective in turning thin air into swiss cheese.
Instead of commanding a space carrier we’re going to get warships, and I mean actual ones that sail in the actual sea, zeppelins and more. They’ll certainly be more limited in performance, but no less charming.
Multiplayer is also going to be on opposite sides of the spectrum, of course, even if this isn’t new to the upcoming games: Call of Duty will focus focus on smaller, tighter and fast paced encounters, probably on smaller maps, while Battlefield will bring back its massive and epic 64-player battles spanning large areas.
Personally, I feel that this is fantastic. Having to choose between two major games because they offer pretty much the same reheated soup is quite sad. On the other hand, both franchises are daring to do something different from their recent past, and both offer interesting but different ways to earn our attention. The only thing that is possibly going to suffer is our wallet.
And honestly, as a gamer, I can think of much worse problems to have.
Ultimately, we’re going to get two very different games that are going to scratch some very distinct itches. Which one will be your favorite will depend on your taste, but for the first time in my life, as the very poor FPS player I am, I’m excited for both Call of Duty and Battlefield this year.
Tomorrow we’re gonna have green snow.