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EA's latest Battlefield goes back to World War I

The game maker's upcoming military-themed shooting title brings players back to fighting that happened a century ago.

In EA's Battlefield 1, you can shoot from a biplane up in the dogfight-osphere.

Electronic Arts

Tanks, biplanes, horses and, of course, lots of guns.

These are just some of the things fans of a fabled military shooting franchise can expect to see when Electronic Arts releases its latest Battlefield game, Battlefield 1, on October 21.

The game, set in World War I, will feature firefights in the air and on the ground in France, Italy and elsewhere.

"This was the most technologically divergent war ever -- you have cavalry running side by side with tanks, and biplanes flying above you," said Daniel Berlin, a designer for EA's DICE development studio that created Battlefield 1. "It ends up being a perfect fit for gameplay."

This is the 15th major installment in the Battlefield franchise, which began as a World War II fighting game when it was first launched in 2002. The series stood out for allowing players to fly various aircraft, navigate submarines and drive tanks. Over the years, EA has attempted to up its game by allowing people to fight each other in re-created wars in Vietnam and the Middle East.

"What really sold me a long time ago was the helicopter," said Jack Souders, a 45-year-old software architect who plays Battlefield at least once a week from his San Francisco home. He spent many hours jumping into various vehicles in the game and working with teammates to take down competitors. He's planning to buy the new game when it's released.

Of course, Battlefield isn't the only shooting game on the market. Activision's Call of Duty is one of the best-selling franchises of all time. Others, like Ubisoft's The Division postapocalyptic game and Bungie's Destiny space-age shooting game, have also become popular, offering gamers opportunities to play with one another in new storylines and environments outside the typical military genre.

Some critics responded to early leaks of Battlefield 1 harshly, expressing concern there wasn't enough variety in the types of weapons and vehicles to make the game compelling.

"It's a misconception," said Berlin, adding that tanks and airplanes were widely used for the first time during the First World War. "This was the first time people saw this type of machinery on the battlefield. We wanted to portray that power."

Gamers who preorder a special edition of the game will be able to play on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on October 18.