While Battlefield 1 owes much of its heart-wrenching moments to the World War I setting, it is probably accurate to say that there are more tearjerking moments in this game than every other Battlefield installment COMBINED.
Storm of Steel:
- The prologue. As seen in the War Is Hell entry on the main page, you're thrown into the shoes of dozens of other men that fought and died in the war. They're cut down in droves in mud, blood, bullets and screaming, and each time you die you're shown their birth and dead dates. Many of these men are in their twenties, and some of them aren't even out of their teens. Even worse, tens of thousands of young men and boys who lied about their age flocked to enlist to get a taste of war, which was seen as a glorious adventure and a heroic thing to do by most of the world at the time. They would soon find, in some of the most horrific ways possible, that it was anything but.
- There's also a small chance that when your soldier dies during the segment, the screen will simply say "A Soldier of The Great War", essentially implying that his identity was lost to history. In a way, that's arguably even worse.
- Most players will likely miss it at first, but roughly about halfway through the segment in the tank, those with keen eyes may notice a single German trooper hiding behind a piece of wooden debris, scared out of his wits and panicking at the sight of the slaughter being carried out in front of him. It's a small touch, but one that easily tells the audience that those German soldiers they've been mowing down up to that point are frightened young men who just want to go home.
Through Mud and Blood
- Danny's cry of anguish as he witnesses his first battlefield loss, Finch, the only person in the tank crew genuinely nice to him.Edwards: FINCH IS GOOOONE!
- The entire scene with "Black Bess'" pigeon counts, as an animal innocently flies over a raging battlefield while beautiful music plays in the background.
Townsend: EDWARDS! RELEASE! THE PIGEON! THAT IS AN ORDER, SON! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!
- Some may ask, "Why the hell do they have a pigeon? Somebody's pet or something?" Radios were very new in 1918, and were bulky, unreliable, and could only send and receive Morse Code. As the next scene shows, it's a messenger pigeon, and the ticket tied to its leg bears Townsend's hastily-scribbled coordinates for a danger-close artillery strike.
- Despite Danny's efforts in getting replacement spark plugs for "Bess", she refuses to start again. He lampshades the futility of his actions and everything in a rage-fueled tirade, while McManus and Townsend just sit there, both sharing Danny's despair.
- As Germans swarm the tank, Townsend fights them off with his Webley revolver, but is already mortally wounded and almost out of ammo. He focuses momentarily on the patched fuel line and realizes what he must do to prevent Black Bess from falling into enemy hands and give Edwards and McManus the best chance to escape. Then he grits his teeth and whispers, "Sorry, Bess."
Friends in High Places
- Wilson, bleeding out in No Man's Land, accusing Blackburn of going back on his word. For all his banter and carefree attitude, he actually has no comeback this time. Even worse, if you choose to believe he really did leave Wilson for dead...
- Despite fighting through what could be described from anyone as a literal hell on earth, the campaign ends with Luca finding the corpse of his brother Matteo and then collapsing from sheer despair.
- In a meta sense, how many real life soldiers people have had similiar ending to their stories? How many were unable to save loved ones?
- The final scene. Bishop has made his one-man attack on the fort to divert the Turks away from the retreating ANZACs. Now he's badly wounded and can't possibly get out of the naval artillery's impact zone. He drags himself to the parapet, then gives a weary smile as he sees the flare signaling that his boys are safe. Then the battleships in the distance light the fort up with the wrath of God.
- And despite everything, there's the Foregone Conclusion that the ANZAC still lose at Gallipoli.
Nothing Is Written
- The ending narration reveals that the future tragedies that would befall the Middle East were due to the events of the Great War, where more wars are still being fought over oil and ideologies to this day.
- Lawrence's appearance, while undeniably badass, can be this if you know what happens to him after the war: he'll die 17 years later swerving his motorcycle away from two boys. And neither he nor Zara could possibly know this. It makes you sad to think that despite being under the tutelage of this legendary figure, he'll die in a way that's so much less than he deserves and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
- The final narration is a real kicker in a meta sense. The narrator of all the war stories expresses hopes for the future that even if everything about the war fades away; the men, the destruction, the machines. He hopes that if even a sliver survives, stories will be told of the war, of each and every single man who fought in it. In the end, his words are all directed to you, the player. With you playing this game, you get to see the stories of a few of the millions of people who lived, fought, and died in the war. And with the game and these soldiers, the narrator hopes that you, the player, will continue the tales of World War I for eons so that no one in the war will be forgotten.
- And note that this game came out about 100 years after World War I (1914-1918). All of the soldiers who participated in the war are already dead, and the people born during the war are going to follow them soon. World War I was disappearing from the public mind, something even lampshaded by EA during the game's production. With this game's announcement and release, many World War I-related works took a big increase in interest, from All Quiet on the Western Front to Youtube channels. That's right, with this game, World War I will continue to be etched in our memories, so we do not forget the sacrifices the men and boys took at the time for the "War to End All Wars", who went into a hideous grinding machine filled with dreams of glory and bravery, to be lashed by barbed wire, shredded by shrapnel and mowed down by machine guns for a seemingly meaningless conflict.
- And of course, if you believe that the mainline Battlefield games (2, 3, 4, Hardline, the Bad Company series) all take place in one timeline, then a lot of those sacrificed their lives in "The War to End all Wars"...to help further plunge the Earth into almost endless conflict with anyone and everyone, with better guns and bigger bombs and sheer madmen at every helm.
- If one waits until about halfway down the credits, an old song titled And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda will start playing. The song tells the sad story of an Australian soldier who fought in the Battle of Gallipoli, only to witness his friends get torn down to shreds before losing his own legs. The story becomes even sadder as the soldier describes the trip home with other casualties, "the armless, the legless, the blind and insane." At the end, the soldier ponders the pointless violence of the war, and what it's cost him and his friends fighting it. It's a very bitter reminder of the endless trauma a person suffers after surviving such a terrible conflict.
- The narrations for the Germans in Beyond The Marne Operations is loaded with emotions of war. Keep in mind that the operation is set during the last days of the war, where Germany is on an awful losing streak against the Allied offensives, and all their troops can hope now is to just survive and go back to see their family again. Even sadder is that many will never be able to do so, as they are still forced into a massive battle. Those who make it back will find Germany torn apart by revolution, forced to accept an extremely humiliating treaty that left them virtually defenseless and broke at its conclusion, and will only briefly see Germany rebuilt, before bad blood towards treaty supporters, Jews and communists (the latter two of whom were viewed with suspicion even before the war ended) gave way to a tyrannical, racist dictator that plunged Germany into war again, which was even worse for all involved, Allied Forces or otherwise, than the first one.
- Some of the Central Power victory narrations for Operations later on in the timeline even note that a victory at this stage would likely not prevent them losing the war. Many brave young Germans can sacrifice themselves and win the day, but the horrors of the Nazi regime are still inevitable.
- Every once in a while* , the soldiers fighting might say some rather disheartening lines.British Soldier: I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE! I'M GONNA FUCKING DIE HERE!American Soldier: WE'RE BEING MURDERED OUT HERE!!British Soldier: STOP THIS! NONE OF US SHOULD BE HERE!German Soldier: Bitte! Hilf mir! Das ist zu wahnsinn!(Translation)German Soldier: Ich kann das nicht, ich kann das nicht!(Translation)Ottoman Soldier: Dahada tahammül edemiyorum, kimse yok mu?!(Translation)