There is an interesting rift that exists at the heart of Electronic Arts’ and DICE’s latest shooter title Battlefield 1, which takes place in the midst of World War I. On the one hand, the game’s single-player campaign aims to show players just how awful and unnecessary war is, and then its large-scale multiplayer component (something the Battlefield series is known for) does a complete about-face, glorifying the exact elements which—while fun to experience in video game form—make war into an egregiously cruel affair.
For some reason, the marketing team behind Battlefield 1 continues its attempt to focus on the latter element of the game (the multiplayer), while completely ignoring the real emotional toll World War I had on the people who took part in it.
Over the past several days, the official Battlefield Twitter account tweeted several gifs and images using the hashtag #justWWIthings. One image showed a group of soldiers and a fiery zeppelin crashing in the background accompanied by the text, “When your squad is looking on point.” The second, and far more offensive image, featured a gif of one player using a flamethrower against another with the accompanying text, “When you’re too hot for the club.”
Other Twitter users were clearly unhappy, causing EA to quickly delete both tweets shortly after the backlash began. It’s likely that fans were already soured on EA’s marketing efforts after the company’s chief competition officer Peter Moore took to Twitter last week and posted an image of himself wearing a Battlefield 1 onesie, which included text comparing trench warfare to sitting on the couch and munching on Doritos (Moore’s tweet was also soon deleted after posting).
It’s a shame to see EA constantly shooting itself in the foot with these ill-conceived marketing efforts, especially since Battlefield 1 had a strong positive reception when it was first announced. However, when you base your shooter around World War I of all things, a certain amount of respect and brevity is to be expected. Sadly, this is a lesson which EA simply doesn’t seem willing to learn—at least, not until it has already managed to offend hundreds of people with tasteless tweets.