The Battlefield V reveal trailer was host to its fair share of controversy and anger. Many bashed the promo’s overly colorful take on World War II, and dubbed it as something more akin to Call of Duty or Fortnite than to Battlefield due to the speed of player movement, the speed of the trailer, and, in the opinions of some, the too-colorful and too-varied cast of characters present in the game.
But some time has passed since the trailer first dropped. Some information has been released, along with a bit of gameplay and match footage. Some reporters and gaming journalists have been given access to a single, snow-covered map and asked to share their thoughts with the world.
From what is known so far, the trailer becomes even more confusing. Because from what is known so far, the Battlefield series is moving in the exact opposite direction that the trailer suggests.
In an eight minute snippet of gameplay clips and reflection, IGN journalist and veteran Battlefield player James shares some details about what Battlefield V adds to the formula. James makes it clear that he’s been playing the game for some time, backing this up with some gameplay footage of him pulling off some pretty spectacular moves that sell the experience he’s claiming. He comes at these changes from the perspective of someone who’s seen their fair share of Battlefield titles, and this adds a bit of weight to his opinions.
The trailer showed players a Battlefield that was aiming to be faster and more carefree than ever before. Gameplay and impressions show us the exact opposite.
In previous Battlefield games, players could regenerate all their health over time by staying out of the fight. In Battlefield V, players can regenerate their health up to 60 / 100. To heal the last 40, they’ll need to use a medic bag.
Using a medic bag now locks players into an animation. There’s no healing radius on the bag; You need to walk up to it, initiate an animation, and patch yourself up. Same for revives, which now lock both medic and previously downed player into an animation as they get pulled back to their feet. Same for pulling ammunition out of an ammo box, ammunition which players will soon discover they can carry significantly less of than before, so they’ll need to visit ammo boxes or supply points more often. Supply points that are neutral objects placed strategically around the map, that can be used to resupply an infinite amount of times, that basically create chokepoints and hotspots around them. Chokepoints and hotspots that one team can turn in their favor by having the planning and the foresight to build walls and fortifications around the area, giving their team more reliable cover and better footings, allowing them to get more kills. Kills that a squad can convert into points to spend on special reinforcements or vehicles to help them perform better in the field.
There’s a lot going on here. Much of it increases how much a player will need to depend on their teammates and allies in order to emerge victoriously. Much of it leading the game in the exact opposite direction that was suggested by Battlefield V’s official reveal trailer. Much of it that asks the question, “Were the game designers and the people who made the trailer even talking to each other?”
That trailer was a very odd piece of marketing for the game. It fails to convey the tone of the experience, fails to convey how the game is changing and fails to convey any new mechanics that are being introduced. The only relevant piece of information it delivers is that the game is set in World War II.
It’s such an odd, confounding move by Dice that doesn’t seem to fit into any part of what Battlefield V is. While many other prior reveal trailers debuted new systems such as BF4’s Levelution or BF1’s Behemoths, the Battlefield V trailer did nothing of the sort. It’s a nonsensical advertisement for what looks like a very interesting take on Battlefield, and if it will go on to establish itself as something more than a gigantic marketing flub, it hasn’t done so yet.