Similar to previous entries in the series, Battlefield 1 is a first-person shooter that emphasizes teamwork. The game is set in the period of World War I, and is inspired by historic events. Players can make use of World War I weapons, including bolt-action rifles, automatic and semi-automatic rifles, artillery, flamethrowers, and mustard gas to combat opponents. Melee combat was reworked, with DICE introducing new melee weapons such as sabres, trench clubs, and shovels into the game. These melee weapons were divided into two groups: heavy and light. Players can also take control of various armored vehicles, including light and heavy tanks, armored trucks, biplane aircraft, battleships and zeppelin, as well as ride horses into battle. Destructible environments and weapon customization, features present in the previous games, return in Battlefield 1 and will be more dynamic.
According to the game’s designer, Daniel Berlin, the campaign mode has larger and more open environments than those in previous installments in the franchise, with more options and choices in terms of paths to completing levels and how to approach combat. Players can control several characters in the campaign. Unlike its predecessors, the game features a collection of war stories, similar to an anthology.
The game’s multiplayer is planned to support up to 64 players. The new squad system allows a group of players to enter and leave game servers together. According to Berlin, playing without joining a squad would make gameplay significantly more difficult. Multiplayer maps are to be based on locations around the world, including Arabia, the Western Front, and the Alps. The game will launch with nine maps and six modes, which include Conquest, Domination, Operations, Rush, Team Deathmatch, and War Pigeons, in which players must secure war pigeons and use them to call for an artillery strike.
Battlefield 1’s multiplayer features eight distinct classes:
Assault: The primary anti-vehicle class. Assault players have SMGs and shotguns at their disposal.
Medic: The Medic class is primarily focused on reviving fellow teammates, healing them, and repairing their vehicles. The primary weapons in this class are semi-automatic rifles.
Support: Supports have light-machine guns at their disposal. They also contribute to the team by replenishing their fellow team-mates’ ammo.
Scout: Scouts use sniper rifles. The class contributes to the team by spotting enemies, and by firing the flare gun, which places nearby enemies in the vicinity on the mini-map.
Tanker: Players choosing to spawn into a tank will now automatically spawn as the tanker class. The class is new to the series, and features a hammer that can repair vehicles.
Pilot Class: Players who spawn into a plane will now automatically spawn as the pilot class. Outside of planes, pilots have access to pistol-caliber carbines.
Cavalry: Players who choose to spawn on a horse would give them the cavalry class.
Elite: Elite classes are obtained by players through a pickup on the battlefield, which allows them to wield different special abilities or weapons such as the flamethrower. This class has different variations such as the Sentry, Tank Hunter, and Flame Trooper.