The Kickstarter campaign to fund development for Battalion 1944 was a huge success, tripling the initial target of £100,000 (which was met just three days after the campaign started) to reach a grand total just shy of £320,000.
I’d played plenty of WW2 shooters when they dominated the FPS market in the early 2000’s, but I realised I've only really gone hands on with one in an online multi-player format. The game in question was Call of Duty: World at War, and that was almost eight years ago.
Of the games in my collection featuring PvP that I dip into on a semi-regular basis - Battlefield 4, Halo 5, Star Wars Battlefront, Rainbow Six Siege to name but a few - they are either set in the modern day or in the future, and to be honest a bit of variety would be most welcome (I know Battlefront technically takes place a long, long time ago, but it’s got blasters and space ships so I’m counting it in the same bracket as the others).
Games are never going to be completely accurate or realistic, and really, why should they be? As platforms for entertainment first and foremost that’s not the main point of them...
Even though pretty much every MP shooter on consoles has since dropped the WW2 era in favour of other, more modern aesthetics, I liked how the limited capabilities of the weapons meant you had to approach combat in a different way to games featuring more up to date tech.
World at War’s bolt action rifles with small magazines meant every shot had to be accurate, while vintage SMG’s would bounce around all over the place and were pretty much useless at long range - and this is what I’m hoping to see from Battalion 1944. It also looks like it’ll be rectifying the one mistake I thought World at War made by keeping any weapon customisation purely cosmetic and in keeping with the setting of the game.
By including unnecessary weapon attachments, it was almost as if Treyarch were apologising for making a WW2 game so soon after Infinity Ward had taken the series to the present day with Call of Duty 4, the worst of these being the glass aperture sight which felt like it had been shoe-horned into the game to placate Modern Warfare players who were now used to red dot sights and ACOG scopes.
Games are never going to be completely accurate or realistic, and really, why should they be? As platforms for entertainment first and foremost that’s not the main point of them; but in a game set in the 1940’s iron sights and barebones tech are part of what appeals to many and should be a selling point, not something to remedy with added gimmicks.
There was still a little caution when I first considered backing Battalion 1944, not only because the Second World War as a setting has been explored so many times before, but because I can see reason in the argument that basing a game for our entertainment on one of the bloodiest wars in human history can perhaps seem a little distasteful, a bit jarring, something I noticed at times when writing this piece.
But to dismiss Battalion 1944 because it’s loosely based around real world events would be a little harsh as its existence isn’t going to diminish or disrespect the memories and experiences of those whose lives were directly affected by WW2, but looks to be just some harmless MP fun set in a time that many find interesting.
While there are other eras that have been less explored in games, from looking at the comments on Battalion 1944’s Kickstarter page it’s clear a lot of people are happy to see WW2 shooters getting a small revival, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the campaign succeed to such an extent.
Bulkhead Interactive’s aim to take competitive multiplayer back to a more streamlined affair in Battalion 1944 by doing away with perks, weapon attachments and killstreaks is commendable. With a market currently feeling a little overly saturated with shooters overflowing with said extras, it should offer up a decent alternative on the MP front, and it’s why I’m glad I backed the game and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact the bundle I purchased gets my name into the Battalion 1944 credits…nothing whatsoever.