DICE leaves Star Wars Battlefront behind for multi-era Battlefront 2

That’s it for ongoing Star Wars Battlefront 1 development, it sounds like. “The team has shifted its focus to creating the next great Star Wars game,” EA DICE said.

It means, as , “no future Skirmish content is planned”, which is a shame.

Skirmish makes the game’s big multiplayer maps available offline, to play alone or in split-screen, and fills the remaining 20-person teams with bots. All guns are available and the bots are wimps, which means massive killstreaks for you. My son and I love it.

First Battlefield 1 expansion adds playable French army

Ahead of the launch of Battlefield 1, developer DICE was criticised for not including the French as a playable army given, well, the French played a pretty big role in World War 1. Well, they’re set to arrive in the game in March 2017 as DLC.

They Shall Not Pass is the first Battlefield 1 expansion, and it includes, as you’d expect, new maps, weapons and the playable French army faction.

In a post on , DICE said the DLC aims to recreate the Battle of Verdun, one of the largest and longest battles of World War 1. Relentless shelling created massive forest fires around the fortified city, which the developers aim to feature in its maps.

Star Wars Battlefront’s Rogue One DLC gives us some pointers towards next year’s sequel

It’s taken its time, but step by step and piece by piece DICE has moved towards the Battlefront that fans wanted. Not that it was too far off at its first attempt, mind; upon release last November Star Wars Battlefront was an arrestingly gorgeous multiplayer shooter that only just stopped short of greatness. The updates outside of the expansion packs have often done a better job of keeping the game fresh than the paid DLC, but the final add-on for Battlefront feels like the most substantial yet. It certainly feels like the one that’s been shaped most by fan feedback as well.

“The reception was mixed,” DICE producer Paul Keslin says of the launch in an honest appraisal. “We’ve been listening to a lot of the feedback since launch and even post-launch as we’ve been adding new things. We’ve announced the next game that’s coming out – those are things we’re look to tackle in the future. We can’t always get everything in the current game, but in the future we want to hit those things and give the fans what they’re after.”

Battlefront’s Rogue One DLC comes mighty close to delivering one particular request from fans. When DICE’s take on Battlefront was revealed, people were upset that it lacked one of the key features of the original games – namely the ability for players to go from on-foot to aerial combat in one seamless action. The Rogue One DLC doesn’t quite go that far, but what it does is present a game mode that moves from aerial combat to ground warfare – and unlike the Death Star DLC before it that had a similar mode, the loading screens here are kept to a minimum, the transition now happening via a swift cutscene.

Oblivion is now backwards compatible on Xbox One

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion has been added to the Xbox One’s .

It’s joined by other Xbox 360 titles like DICE’s 2007 WWII shooter Medal of Honor: Airborne, Microsoft Studios’ XBLA puzzler Astropop, and Frozenbyte’s physics-based fantasy side-scroller Trine 2.

Oblivion was one of the Xbox 360’s earliest successes, having launched only a few months after the console’s November 2005 release. At the time we awarded it , and though its successor Skyrim has usurped its throne in the hearts and minds of many, Oblivion still has a strong following a dozen years on. In fact, some of its diehard fans have been trying to . Bless ’em.

Project Wight is an open-world Viking RPG where you play as the monster

Last week, former Battlefield developer David Goldfarb pulled back the curtain on Project Wight, the ambitious role-playing game in the works at his new indie studio.

We first heard about Project Wight back in early 2015, when Goldfarb announced his new development team, co-founded by fellow ex-DICE employee Ben Cousins.

Teased via , Goldfarb told Eurogamer the game would be his “first real stab” at an RPG project – after having tried to sneak RPG mechanics into some of his DICE projects (always, he said at the time, “to much chagrin”).

Face-Off: Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 combines the technical spectacle of the Frostbite engine with a return to the large-scale environmental destruction that made the Bad Company titles so popular. It’s one of the most significant upgrades for the series since it arrived on current-gen consoles, and DICE backs this up with a range of technical improvements across all platforms. The core technology is immediately familiar, but visual effects are considerably ramped up with lighting, post-processing and particle effects taking centrestage.

The console versions also get a noticeable boost in resolution that immediately provides better image quality over previous Battlefield games, while still allowing the developer to target 60fps gameplay. For the console releases, PlayStation 4 has the edge here, although when it comes to performance, Xbox One hands in a better experience with higher frame-rates under load. It’s an interesting situation that essentially requires owners of both platforms to prioritise either image quality or performance, particularly when playing online.

In previous Battlefield titles, both consoles operate at fixed framebuffers below the desired native 1080p resolution. The PS4 version runs at 900p, while on Xbox One this was lowered to 720p. However, in Battlefield 1 both consoles now operate using a dynamic framebuffer, adjusting rendering resolution according to load. The baseline resolution comes in at around 1000p on PS4, dropping down to 900p, with pixel counts adjusting up and down in smaller increments. By comparison, resolution on Xbox One stabilises at 900p, falling to 720p in demanding scenes. This leads to a consistently sharper image on PS4, where intricate texture details resolve more cleanly. In fact, at 1000p the presentation often looks very similar to a native 1080p image.

The hunt for Battlefield 1’s big easter eggs has begun

Scratch beneath DICE’s shooters and you’ll often find a weird and wonderful world of strange, convoluted and long-running easter eggs.

, well over two years after the game’s initial release, with a convoluted, ongoing easter egg known as the Phantom Prospect unlocking a new set of camo for players. That’s not to mention the T-Rex that could be heard upon players meeting the right conditions in Battlefield 4’s Rogue Transmission, or the Megalodon shark found in the Naval Strike DLC.

A handful of days after the launch of Battlefield 1, players are working to uncover its secrets and have already started down a mysterious path DICE has laid out. Headphones have been found in seemingly random spawn points about Battlefield 1’s maps – they’ve been spotted in Amiens, Sinai and Monte Grappa – and YouTuber JackFrags has discovered they may work in tandem with hidden MCOM stations dotted around the maps.

Battlefield 1 review

Battlefield’s best stories have always been found when there are some 63 others screaming mad by your side. Playing as the lone soldier holed up in the attic of a villa, wiping out an entire squad as they rush to take a capture point; manning the AA gun on a rocky island outlet and sending a fighter plane tumbling down into the rolling seas; or spotting the silhouette of a lone horseman appearing through the fog that has just crept upon a mortar-chewed village. These are tales worth retelling.

All the better when they’re played out in fancy dress. Whether that’s been the khaki slacks of the original 1942, the mecha keks of 2142 or the jungle fatigues it let you don for Vietnam, Battlefield’s always been at its best when it’s got a neat costume to hand. It’s no surprise to see the series back on top of its game, then, with Battlefield 1, DICE’s attempt to explore the relative No Man’s Land of the First World War. It has even narrowed the gap between the superb multiplayer and the typically weak single-player, though the campaign still trips over itself in its attempts to appear respectful to what’s perceived as difficult subject matter.

There are no great wars, of course, but The Great War stands as one of the grimmest of them all. The conflict that claimed some 38 million casualties as it engulfed the globe from 1914 to 1918 was a messy, morally murky affair that’s said to have served as the foundation for modern warfare by those who fetishise military hardware. It certainly predicated the senselessness of so much combat that would follow, with innocents being sent out to slaughter by blundering politicians.

Battlefield 1’s campaign might be more interesting than its multiplayer

One of my favourite bugs in Battlefield 4 – heck who knows, maybe it was a feature – was its stubborn insistence that I never see too far beyond the first mission of its campaign. Each and every time I logged off of a session, the save would be wiped no matter what precautions I took. Even as DICE moved to clean up the rest of the mess that surrounded the game’s launch, that problem remained. Months after I’d bought the game, and after hours of enjoying its increasingly brilliant multiplayer, the single-player was still effectively unplayable. It’s quite possible it was deliberate. Perhaps DICE was simply ashamed of another mediocre Battlefield campaign.

Battlefield 1, though, feels different. There’s been an emphasis on the multiplayer in pre-release run-up – as there should be, given that’s where Battlefield’s heart will always be – but that shouldn’t obscure a campaign that’s genuinely interesting: an anthology of different tales from across the Great War that can be digested in any order you see fit. It’s five 90-minute campaigns, effectively, each with a very different focus: playing alongside Lawrence of Arabia, going up against the Ottoman Empire in the deserts of the Middle East; storming the beaches of Gallipoli as an Anzac runner; taking to the skies over the western front as a plucky British pilot.

Before they unlock, there’s a short prologue that’s a stirring statement of intent – to tell you what makes it work so well would be to rob it of so much of its power – and it shows that DICE is keen to tackle the Great War with a little thought and care. Tonally, it’s reassuring, managing to be respectful and a refreshing alternative to the amped-up heroics that typify other first-person shooter campaigns. It’s a more muted brand of heroism that Battlefield 1 strives for, and judging from the first of those war stories – Through Mud and Blood, a snapshot of the final days of the war, following a tank crew as they push on to the French town of Cambrai – it manages to do so.