By: Gentleman Jeb
We had a chance to speak with at Andrew Gulotto, who is a producer on Battlefield 1, at EA PLAY 2017. He divulged a plethora of information about the second expansion pack during our In the Name of the Tsar interview. Read on to find out the bloody details.
ME: First question, why wasn’t the Russian campaign part of the original game?
Andrew: We put a lot of thought into the base game of Battlefield 1. Like the French, we know the Russian army was an important part of WWI and we wanted to give them special treatment. We wanted to give them something special and unique. With the Russian expansion, we have made the largest and most extensive expansion pack we’ve ever done. We’re introducing the Russians as well as a slew of special vehicles and weapons, more Operations, a new game mode, and six new maps. We wanted to show just how significant it is to go to the Eastern Front.
ME: What aspect of the Russian campaign did you focus on the most for In the Name of the Tsar?
Andrew: When we researched the Russians during WWI, we came across something really interesting, which was the Russian Women’s Battalion of Death. These women were both capable and courageous. They would charge the front lines, sometimes even when not supported by the rest of their army. They would take trenches and push the front line forward. We definitely had to have them in the game, so they’re represented as a scout soldier on the Russian side. We also came across the Hussar cavalry. These guys were amazing. They’re represented by a new cavalry class equipped with a long wooden lance. They charge the front lines, impale enemies, and drag them off the battlefield. Once you land one in the game, it’s super-satisfying.
ME: What is something DICE wanted to include in the DLC, but wasn’t able to?
Andrew: We’d love to do more weapons and more vehicles.
ME: What was the most challenging thing about making In the Name of the Tsar?
Andrew: We wanted to show just how expansive the Eastern Front really was. The challenge is that it’s an open landscape with flat ground and long sight lines. How do you balance the gameplay and make it fun, where snipers aren’t sitting on both sides just picking people off? One of the maps we’re not showing here is a valley map that’s one of the most open maps we’ve made. It also has vehicular combat, and you’ll find that there are craters from previous artillery strikes. You can jump from crater to crater and zig-zag your way uphill to attack. That’s one way we added extra cover.
ME: What are you most proud of with In the Name of the Tsar?
Andrew: I’m so proud of so many things. I’m proud that we’ve made the most extensive expansion pack we’ve ever done. I’m proud that we’re representing the significance of the Russian involvement in WWI, and we’re able to go into some of the untold stories. One of the pillars of Battlefield 1 is telling untold stories that people don’t know about WWI, like the Women’s Battalion of Death and the Hussars.
ME: How did Russian weapons vary from other weapons of WWI?
Andrew: I can talk about some of the weapons in the expansion. One is the model 1900 double-barrel shotgun for the Assault class. The beautiful thing about the new maps is that they’re wide and expansive, but there are locations where you have close-quarters combat. Another weapon is the Parabellum LMG. This thing is amazing! It’s got a great rate of fire and a nice spread, but when you lay prone, it will tighten your shots. It’s also got a really unique reload. It’s got a belt that carries the ammunition, which hasn’t been done in BF1. We also have the Mosin Nagant M-91 bolt-action rifle. We had to bring this in, and also we have the Nagant revolver, which is a little revolver that packs quite a punch.
ME: If you were a weapon from the upcoming DLC, what would it be?
Andrew: If I were a weapon, I’d want to be that lance. You can do quick strikes when you’re on the horse or go into a full charge and perform an impale.
ME: How does matchmaking work between vanilla BF1 and the expansion packs?
Andrew: At this point we have a base rotation of maps and we have rotations of DLC maps. From now until GamesCom, we’re extending the Premium Friends program that lets players who have the Premium Pass invite friends that don’t to enjoy the new maps and weapons. It’s a passion of ours to include as many people as possible and let them have the best experience possible. Also, we’re going to be bringing Premium Trials in July. This is going to allow all players, even those who don’t know anyone with a Premium Pass, to have access to the DLC content.
ME: Last question, can you tell me about the new vehicles?
Andrew: Absolutely! We’ve already talked about the legendary Hussar calvary units, which are an upgrade to existing cavalry. We also have a new armored truck, which we had to put in because the Russians were known for their armored vehicles. They also had a giant bomber that we had to put in as a behemoth, which is the biggest bomber in WWI. It packs a punch when you drop those bombs. They’re huge explosions! Lastly, we have a landing craft. People may wonder “why a boat?” One of the other maps I can’t talk about is a peninsula of islands, and we wanted players to have a chance to transport between islands and be able to capture points very quickly.