Battlefield 5 will feature a number of singleplayer "War Stories," including one—The Last Tiger—that's presented from the Nazi point of view. That's a tricky bit of business: as the unequivocal, universal bad guys in human history, Nazis shouldn't be the heroes of any story.
As franchise design director Daniel Berlin told Eurogamer, the solution is to make the characters face the consequences of their actions. The developers wanted to do a "tank-specific war story" for Battlefield 5, and there is no more iconic tank from that era than the Tiger, so that was the obvious choice to build it around. But the German tank, as he said, "comes with the German perspective."
"Building The Last Tiger, we decided to really dive into the emotions and the aspects of consequence, I'd say, and that was a driving factor when we built this," Berlin said. "You may deny the actions you made, but even if you deny them you have to live with the consequences. All actions have consequences, even in war, so that's an ongoing theme throughout the whole thing."
"And I don't want to spoil anything, but I hope that mantra helps you understand some of what I mean when I say it's not a hero story. It's really about this tank crew going to war in this crazy machine and they start to actually question why they fight."
The Last Tiger will take place near the end of the war, when the German military is breaking down and the tank crew has begun to "question the ideology that got them to this point." That should make EA's task a little easier—"My God, what have I done?" is an easier perspective to present sympathetically than singing the Panzerlied while steamrolling Europe and condemning millions to horrific death.
Even though it's a story being told from the German side, I won't be surprised to see the Nazi angle downplayed: The flag seen on the Tiger tank in the single-player trailer released this week bears the Balkenkreuz rather than a swastika, and there's also no Nazi regalia visible on the tank commander's uniform.
Battlefield 5 comes out on November 20. We took a closer look at the "Nordlys" War Story, about a resistance fighter's effort to rescue a captured comrade and blow up a Nazi heavy water project, earlier today.