There’s a new trailer for Battlefield V, the World War II first-person shooter Electronic Arts released last year, highlighting the game’s Chapter 5: War in the Pacific. The trailer, released Wednesday, previews team-based gameplay in settings ranging from Europe to the South Pacific.
War in the Pacific is a free download that will be available on Oct. 31. New maps will include familiar stomping grounds such as Wake Island and Iwo Jima, and add American and Japanese factions to the game, along with a slew of new weapons and vehicles.
The trailer has the feel of a new game and seems far more encompassing than typical downloadable content — especially free content.
However, publisher EA and game developer DICE arguably have been under
pressure to build stronger momentum for the game.
Battlefield V sold 7.3 million copies in last fall’s
runup to the holiday season, based on reports released earlier this year. While that number indicates the game still has plenty of hardcore fans, the sales missed EA’s projections,
which reportedly were closer to 8.3 million.
The shortfall in sales was due to the game’s delay from Oct. 19 to
Nov. 20. Now, a year later, EA and DICE apparently are ready to
make up the proverbial lost ground by letting players storm the
digital beaches of the Pacific.
Return to World War II
EA’s Battlefield series returned to World War II last fall. The
previous game in the series, Battlefield 1, focused on the First World War and the
Russian Civil War. It included numerous factions not only from the
Allied forces (including the French, British, Americans, Russians and
Italians) and Central Powers (including Germans, Austrians and
Ottomans), but also from the Bolshevik “Red” Army and “White” Army in
With BFV players so far have been able to play only as the British and
Germans. DICE went to great lengths to set the game in areas
largely not covered in World War II shooters — such as Norway and the
One of the game’s free download chapters includes a single-player only
campaign that allows the player to take the role of a German soldier
in World War II, a first in gaming. It was just one of the
controversial moves that the developers made with this latest
Battlefield title — and it followed the inclusion of women characters.
Whether Chapter 5: Return to the Pacific will be
embraced by gamers, with its new setting and factions, is the question.
“This expansion could help invigorate the Battlefield franchise and
title,” said Ted Pollak, senior analyst for the game industry at Jon
“There has been poor coverage of the WWII Asia Pacific Theater in
games,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm is
the last title I remember addressing this theater of war, and that was
six years ago.”
The Pacific theater of World War II never has been as
popular with gamers as the European theater, and this no doubt is why
EA made its return to World War II in Europe. Rival Activision also jumped back into action with its Call of Duty: World War II series two years ago.
Since the initial release of BFV last fall, gamers have clamored for
action on the Russian front, which was the site of major tank battles
and city sieges. Will gamers be as excited by a return to the Pacific?
“It will depend a lot on how well the new Midway movie does,” said Rob
Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
“Initial reports on the movie look positive, but it doesn’t really hit
until Nov. 8,” he told TechNewsWorld.
The upcoming Midway movie chronicles the June 1942 battle widely considered the turning point in the war. It was
said the Japanese never lost a battle in the Pacific before Midway,
and never won another battle afterward.
Midway was a naval battle fought with aircraft,
and while BFV does have planes and ships, it doesn’t chronicle beach
landings or infantry engagements.
“But if the movie does well, Battlefield V should be able to
slipstream the movie,” suggested Enderle. “You need something to create
demand for a game like this, and EA has been light in terms of demand- generation efforts. A hit movie that gets gamers excited about the subject matter could do the trick.”
How’s the History?
Beyond controversies, historic games face scrutiny for historical
accuracy — everything from the locations to the equipment. A certain
level of suspension of disbelief is required with all games, but
military-themed games do get called out for missing the small details.
“It actually looks pretty cool, but the action in the video was too
fast to process everything,” said John Adams-Graf, military history
author and editor of Military Trader/Military Vehicles magazines.
For those in the know, it is easy to spot those small details, like
the wrong helmet being worn by the Japanese soldier in the trailer, or inaccurate equipment and field gear. A bigger issue is the depiction of the American soldier, who seemed a bit out of place in a World War II setting.
“Stuffing stuff into the rubber band in the helmet seems very Vietnam
War-ish,” Adams-Graf told TechNewsWorld.
“The designers may have been going for the photo of the flag raisers at Iwo Jima, but they really missed the mark,” he added.
It is a small detail, but one that has been called out online already,
as have some of the planes and weapons.
“The Corsairs (fighter planes) are depicted in what looks like the
early war camouflage, but then I see Japanese flying bombs that only
appeared in late 1944 and early 1945, so it is hard to know what year
the game is depicting,” said Adams-Graf.
Most gamers may look past such issues and enjoy the game for what it
is: a generic World War II shooter that doesn’t try too hard to take
Road Map Ahead
Even if the hardcore history fans don’t embrace the latest expansion,
the Battlefield series has done well enough with the core gamers, and
Return to the Pacific is almost like a brand new game. That alone should help boost sales.
“For a game of the size and scope of Battlefield V, there are still
opportunities to be taken advantage of, even if the game underperforms
by certain expectations,” said Steve Bailey, senior analyst for games,
technology, media & telecoms at IHS Markit in London.
“There’s a road map of ways in which users can be retained and ultimately monetized in ongoing fashion,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“For example, Rainbow Six: Siege has been a success story for Ubisoft,
but experienced a rocky launch,” noted Bailey.
In that case Ubisoft invested in a series of responsive updates, which
allowed the game to find its feet and audience and then go from
strength to strength.
“A similar idea holds for Battlefield V, in that there may still be a
core of users who remain highly engaged with the title, and well-made
updates can even bring lapsed players back into activity,” Bailey
DLC for Free
Even though the game underperformed last year, in part due to the delay,
the right downloadable content could help it find a larger
audience. Such add-on content usually doesn’t come cheap, but this
time around EA isn’t charging owners of the game for the Return to the
Instead of a full-blown expansion, something game developers previously have
charged for — the content this time around is being offered for free to build a loyal audience.
“There’s further value to be found from investing in such a sizable
franchise. Any resulting momentum established late into the game’s
lifecycle could transfer beneficially to the next title in the series,
and help it get off the ground,” said Bailey. “The point remains,
however, that online shooters are an extremely competitive segment, and
any success is likely to be hard-fought.”