New Zealand gamers can now enjoy a certain kind of kinship with EA DICE’s video game, Battlefield I, through its latest DLC update, Turning Tides, which adds New Zealand (“Kiwi”) soldiers to the game for the first time.
Turning Tides releases in two parts, with Part 1 dropping for Premium members two days ago. Non-premium members will unfortunately have to wait for another two weeks for the release, which comes with a sizeable patch.
The DLC focuses on the iconic battles at the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli and includes two new maps, a new vehicle, new weapons and a new elite class. It is via this new DLC that players are now able to select a Maori sniper to play as, an in game character who dons the iconic ‘Lemon Squeezer’ Kiwi hat from the Wellington Infantry Regiment.
Upon closer inspection, it appears that EA DICE may have modeled its Maori sniper character on the real life Maori sniper, Thomas (‘Hami’) Grace, who served as the second lieutenant in the Wellington Infantry Regiment at Gallipolli, and was in charge of a team of snipers working to clear out the Turkish marksmen attacking the New Zealand soldiers. Whether the replication was intentional remains to be seen, but the similarities in appearance between the in game character and Hami are remarkable.
Hami was a real Kiwi hero, who was said to have taken out at least 20 Turkish enemies by himself. Unfortunately, he was killed at age 25, along with hundreds of other Kiwis at the battle at Chunuk Bair in 1915.
The new DLC has also adds 3 classes of British soldiers, each donning hats that could easily pass them off as Kiwi soldiers.
- Medic Class – depicted wearing the Australian ‘Slouch Hat’, a style in which many Kiwi soldiers used as well.
- Support Class – depicted wearing the ‘Bucket Hat’ that many of the Maori Battalion and New Zealand Mounted Rifles troopers at Gallipolli wore.
- Assault Class – Standard British ‘Trench Cap’ that thousands of Kiwi soldiers wore at Gallipolli.
Whilst it’s novel to have a more realistic representation of WWI and a fairly accurate depiction of what occurred at Gallipolli, there have been some criticism regarding the location for Battlefield 1’s depiction of Gallipolli, which many claim needs to be at Anzac Cover rather than Cape Helles, a sector belonging to the British and French.
It’s also important to note that there are two other WWI battles also depicted in Battlefield 1, both of which Kiwis played a major role in, including the Battle of the Suez Canal, where Kiwi soldiers suffered its first casualties of war and the Battle of Amiens in France in 1918.
Despite being just a video game, Battlefield 1 has utilised careful crafting, significant research, a whole heap of weapons and sounds, as well as a depiction of the catastrophe that comes with war, to accurately depict WWI as it would have actually happened. The realistic manner of gameplay is what sets the game apart from others in the same genre.
As a proud Kiwi gamer, all I can say is, well done EA Dice and thank you for including our Kiwi history in your popular game.