‘Battlefield 1’ is a reverent homage to the first World War, but its marketing is far from that – Business Insider

This may sound cynical, but I never really expect video games to
depict the grim realities of war with any respect or nuance.
There just isn’t any industry-wide precedent for it.

That’s why it’s such a pleasant surprise to hear that
“Battlefield 1,” which bucks trends by going back in time to
World War I, manages
to pull it off with some amount of grace
. I haven’t played
the final game yet, but my colleague Ben Gilbert (as well as
everyone else I’ve talked to) insists the game is refreshingly
reverent of its setting.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the marketing team got the
memo. There have been questionable marketing decisions
surrounding “Battlefield 1” for months, but on Monday morning,
the game’s official Twitter account really registered on the bad
marketing Richter scale by posting a handful of questionable
tweets, which have all since been deleted, including this one:


It’s…yeah. What a world we live in. #justWWIthings is a pretty
outstanding misuse of the concept of promotional hashtags, which
is made worse when you consider it may have been approved by
multiple people who should know better. There were other tweets
using the hashtag, each of them equally embarrassing.

This, of course, is not the first time EA, the publisher of
“Battlefield 1,” made questionable marketing choices to promote
this game. Here are some other examples:

Since we first learned of this game’s existence, its marketing
team has undermined it with a series of missteps that seem
completely at odds with the game itself. Just about the only
piece of marketing that seemed to accurately represent the game
the trailer for its single-player story mode

Of course, the contents within “Battlefield 1” shouldn’t be
exempt from criticism.
Its developers have been cagey
about whether or not women
will be playable in the multiplayer modes, for example.

There’s also this tweet, which promises to add the
curiously-missing French army to the game with a “premium”
(meaning it will cost money) expansion pack:

Needless to say, there are more examples of tone-deafness from
the marketing behind “Battlefield 1,” but I don’t need to itemize
every single issue to make my point: Given that the final product
seems to be sufficiently respectful of its setting, it’s
disheartening to see the enormous disconnect between that and
nearly all of the promotion around it. If you only saw the most
publicly-visible side of the game, you’d think it was a Mountain
Dew-infused pro-gamer odyssey rather than a heartfelt war story.

The marketing around “Battlefield 1” has been doing the game a
disservice, and even though I still fully intend to play and
enjoy it, I wouldn’t blame anyone who was dissuaded by the
promotional materials.

Update: We reached out to the game’s
publisher, Electronic Arts, for comment on the deleted tweets.
Here is EA’s response:

“We would like to apologize for any offense caused by
content in the last 24 hours posted on the @Battlefield Twitter
account. It did not treat the World War 1 era with the respect
and sensitivity that we have strived to maintain with the game
and our communications.”

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