One of the first things I thought when Battlefield 1 was announced was that it would take quite a trick to convince players to give up their high-tech, laser-sighted assault rifles in favor of bolt-action clunkers. The M4 carbine fires up to 950 rounds per minute; the Lee-Enfield, in the hands of a skilled user, could manage about 30. But it doesn't look like that's necessarily going to be an issue.
“The arsenal of Battlefield 1's weaponry is super-exciting to me,” Design Director Lars Gustavsson says in the video. “We have been allowed to open up a totally new world. [It's] not another M16 that we're about to build.”
Be that as it may, there's an awful lot of automatic fire on display here, and for all practical purposes I'm not sure that the Lewis is going to be all that terribly different from an M249. Which is not at all a complaint, but let's be honest: there's not a shred of doubt in my mind that “research” is really just code for “Hey guys, let's go shoot some cool guns!” (And hey, you can't blame anyone for that.)
Of course, realism isn't the goal here, and Animator Christofer Brandtieng specifically noted that EA is not “recreating the past” with Battlefield 1. “We're taking inspiration, and then we're trying to take this into a modern perspective,” he says. A point driven home to us when we recently showed the game to a World War 1 historian for their take on EA's interpretation.