We’ve talked a lot about Grand Operations on this sub and how for many of us it doesn't quite do BF1 operations justice, let alone fulfilling this whole new level of "Grand". I've though a bit myself about how the mode could have been more "WW2" and how I would structure it if I was one of the Producers. Today I thought I’d try to present those ideas…
For starters, I've picked the Fall of Norway for my example as I felt this particular operation had the most opportunity to change, and overall demonstrates clearly how the structure would pan out. It's not my favorite for sure, but maybe that's even more reason to focus on it. Of course, later we can talk about the other Operations if we want…. but I generally think they are a bit more manageable, especially as this formulas applies to all.
Before I delve in, I'd like to point out that a lot of people have talked about varying dislikes they have of the mode, from the “Atmosphere”, the UI, the maps, the “context”, the reward structure etc. Of course, all of this is important, so that is why I felt the best approach was a complete structural change explained all at once. In my opinion a lot of what i'm about to talk about only works if it is all present, not individually in pieces.
So here is my proposal in flowchart format.
Flowchart showing "Fall of Norway" changes as an example of Grand Operations restructure
Firstly, it goes without saying this would be a ridiculous amount of work, especially for every operation. Nevertheless…
We start with the Operations Map. This featured in BF1 and allowed the player to select an operation of choice, it also had a lovely Narrator who added a bit of context, who I miss. I’d bring her back to talk about the situation, imagine for Norway her describing the importance of Narvik to the Axis for both supply of Iron Ore from Sweden and as an Operations base for U-Boat and Luftwaffe Operations… I’d also enhance the UI a little from BF1 with count of players (Troops) and describe the rewards which I want to breakdown later.
Immediately following this we have our first Briefing and then Cutscene. You’ll see from the above there are a lot of these. To me they are really important in setting the tone and atmosphere, something missing so far in BFV. My feeling was to approach the briefings separately as a view of the tactical map with an officer explaining the situation (voiceover), highlighting the objectives with animated scribbles and maybe a few reconnaissance photos for vibes. This would then pan into a small cutscene of the battlefield (perhaps done in spectator mode), with animations of troops and voiceover's.
At this point it looks like not much has changed. I’ve kept the mode Airborne, set at night, and I don’t imagine a huge change needed here other than objective layout. As part of the story line the Airborne raid is just to clear a path for the naval landings the following morning. The idea being that they will take place in the North of the map, with a secondary landing Zone in the south open if the objective is destroyed in Airborne. That being the Coastal guns. These would be the artillery guns positioned on the coastline facing out towards the sea, maybe heavily fortified.
As a secondary objective I’ve also included a munition dump, maybe located near the German HQ which contains some fixed emplacements not yet set up (Pak guns, MGs, AA etc). If the Airborne troops can destroy this it would mean the Axis are not so well fortified in the next stage, as a bonus.
If the allies fail, the naval landings still occur, just in the north in the Infantry only area. Each ending has its own series of very short Cutscenes Which give context to how the battle is developing.
We now move onto the next morning, The Naval Landing. Following the Briefing and Cutscene sequences the British must assault and capture the town. I touched on this before but effectively the attack depends on the success of the prior night. LZ A will be located on the top edge of the map, near the rugged terrain. Maybe a couple of small Bren carriers and a half track included. The first sector will be the Docks, next to and including LZ B. Capture of this will lead to securing Armoured support (two tank slots) provided from a landing ship, however the Coastal guns must be destroyed first. In other words, if this was already done the night before in Airborne the Allies start off at a massive advantage. From here the sectors push up into the city as usual. It’s worth noting that the fortifications will be stronger if the Munition dump remained intact, maybe pre built.
As a secondary objective I thought we could include a few heavily fortified AA guns stationed on the ridges in the east. For each one destroyed an additional allied air slot could open up. This would help especially with the final sector, which will feature a heavily fortified German Headquarters. Capture of this would lead to the next map on Fjell, failure would lead to a night assault on the Head Quarters itself in a return of Fortress mode.
Another round begins. At this point there is quite a contrast in the two branches.
Upon allied success on Narvik we move to Fjell 252 Breakthrough where the focus of the map would be artillery positions overlooking Narvik and then a Radar Station being setup for use. If they breakthrough complete allied victory has occurred, otherwise we move to Last Stand on the mountain.
If the allies fail to capture the HQ in Narvik we remain on the map, this time moving to Fortress mode at night. The premise here would be German forces setup a stronghold of fortifications which need to be destroyed, with limited remaining forces. Allied victory here would lead to a last Stand situation in Narvik (due to the sheer scale of destruction already), whereas defeat would result in complete Axis victory.
Queue ending cutscene and a return to the narrator with a nice ending passage. Then we go to the scoreboard (split into the 3 separate rounds) and the rewards.
This is where I get really excited. Tides of war and the customisation basically opens up the potential to give some nice rewards for winning, hence motivating players to play. The structure would work something like this.
1 win = Legs
2 win = Torso
3 win = Headgear
4 win = relevant weapon skin
5 win = special medal
A win constitutes the total victory only, not what occurs in between (last Stand).
Last Stand survivors could receive a medal for each specific map and faction, along with additional CC.
Both sides would have a unique complete epic set available for each Operation. So for example for Narvik.
British – No 4 Commando
British – No 4 Commando
German – Gebirgsjäger
German – Gebirgsjäger
So there we have it, my example of Narvik. It's clear to me this is very much just a pipe dream, but I wanted to get it out none the less. Maybe elements can be drawn from it… maybe?
Just imagine this same model applying across all Operations past and future. Imagine fighting Operation BattleAxe in the desert with 88mm’s as objectives, and awesome cutscenes and briefings. Imagine being able to unlock an elite Australian 9th Division soldier with Khaki shorts and those cool hats from the outback, or a true Africa Corps tank commander… imagine fighting on a last Stand scenario at Dunkirk in the Battle of France…
The potential for Grand Operations was huge and I think unfortunately DICE never had the time to reach their true vision for the mode.
Please let me know your thoughts below.
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