BACKGROUND

The dawn of all-out warfare

With the release of new battle scenarios seasonally, Electronic Arts targets elite gamers of Battlefield 1 with new play opportunities. But beyond the game itself, how can EA interest experienced players using alternative platforms? And could these solutions generate interest in other potential gamers?
To have an emotional impact, game decisions must carry with it feelings of loss, stress, and despair. For a typical gamer, most games have forgiveness opportunities for players. Checkpoints, saves, and restarting levels to name a few. But what if those didn’t exist in a game? What if what they did in the game was just as permanent as a real war?
EA Battlefield 1 trenches
WW1 injury scene
A war to learn from

OPPORTUNITY

A war to learn from

I set out to construct a mobile experience that uses the game theory concept of permadeath to describe the harrowing loss of life through World War 1. By connecting the past to gameplay, every decision becomes a lesson, revealing the realities of war and the importance of teamwork. This content gives players a participatory history, linking a game story they already enjoy.

Introducing Battlefield: Lost Soldier—a cooperative, decision-based campaign game.

Introducing Battlefield: Lost Soldier—a cooperative, decision-based campaign game.

BATTLEFIELD: LOST SOLDIER

Welcome, rookie

Upon setup, players assume the role of a random real-life soldier who fought in the Great War. Each player starts as a private. But through gameplay, they will be given opportunities to upgrade to other roles.
Welcome, rookie
Battle Actions

BATTLEFIELD: LOST SOLDIER

Battle Actions

As your soldier moves about the battlefield, Battle Actions occur, presenting you with a dangerous decision to make. These could come at any time, so be ready.

BATTLEFIELD: LOST SOLDIER

What will you choose?

Being called to duty, players have limited time to respond to their battle scenarios. You and your fellow soldiers make your decisions together that ensure your survival. These moments have lasting impact on the story and experience. 
What will you choose?
Track Storyline

BATTLEFIELD: LOST SOLDIER

Track Storyline

The game documents players’ choices giving them an opportunity to review and share their decision making history. They can also share their progress through soldier diary entries, staying true to history.

BATTLEFIELD: LOST SOLDIER

Gone but not forgotten

After a count of days and decisions, the soldier will die and that player’s game ends. But their story lives on through a campaign website memoriam, where they can search war records for their personalized tribute. Players can view all war-time soldiers that fought and lost in game. Soldiers will be recognized with special awards for their unique decision-making and length of survival.
EA: Lost Soldier Landing Page
Learning from the past

RESULTS

Learning from the past

Battlefield 1 is just an introduction to one of the deadliest world events in history. Lost Soldier echoes the charged feelings of battle that appeal to gamers who enjoy story. This game platform gives gamers and casual players opportunities for entertainment amidst their busy schedules and provides learning about different war campaigns in an innovative way.
Battlefield: Lost Soldier Logo
"I really love the fact that I never know when the game is going to prompt me with actions to take to further my story. I thought it was really cool that they added a timer to how long you can take to make decisions or face death."
– Tanner John, Battlefield 1 gamer
"Definitely would play again. If I could play again...One of my top ten gaming experiences for sure. "
– Will Luck, Battlefield 1 gamer

PROJECT REVIEW

EA Lost Soldier

CLIENT
Electronic Arts, Personal Project 

MY ROLE

I initially worked with a team, helped by two other members— Coryn Bajema and Trevor Naughton. Later, I evolved the design solutions to feature beautiful visuals, ease-of-use interaction design, and enhance the overall player experience through participatory gameplay.

TIME FRAME 
4 wks, November 2016; 4 wks, July 2017
MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Used experience, research, and analysis to solve usability problems and simplify gameplay.
  • Originated the game mechanics, specifically the participatory features of the app that drive unique user flows.
  • Provided wireframe and high-fidelity mockups, with a strong focus on visual design.
  • Maintained the visual integrity, interaction methods, brand standards, and consistency for the created game.
Scroll below to see my process

Design & Development Process

Battlefield 1 captures a visual representation of the war, and there’s nothing quite like it. Designers did extensive research into weapons, locations, and cultures. They wanted to show the realities of war, placing the stresses of survival in a full spectrum of color and pure chaos of war in vivid detail. A soldier in that time would go through moments of pride, fear, and tragic loss. If EA were to build other experiences beyond their platform for their fans, it would require to tap into those feelings and emotions to have a marketable impact.
But it couldn’t just be a history lesson, either. As Battlefield 1 elevated multiplayer gameplay with a massive 32 versus 32, our solution had to be social and engaging. That’s why I wanted to reinvent the traditional “choose your story” narrative game to make it multiplayer. As a board game enthusiast, I was thrilled to apply my knowledge of play loops to this platform.
Project intentions: 
Communications within Brand Guidelines
Battlefield 1 has built a rich world of war. It is important to keep the style and iconography congruent as players migrate to this mobile game.
User Onboarding best practices
A game’s introduction to the system’s mechanics is essential to longterm adoption. I want to get them straight into the action, without getting tied up in tutorials.
User Participation
The game must have a robust plan of how to engage players, foster cooperation, and provide opportunities to share experiences.
DISCOVERY
DEFINE
DESIGN
DEVELOP

DISCOVERY

Finding glitches

Going into the project, we had to understand what our product was going to be and what it wasn’t. It had to be exciting, giving players additional insights into the Battlefield world. But it wasn’t going to be competition. I explored different styles of games, paying attention to length of gameplay and how similar the gameplay was to a FPS game. We were initially excited for “choose your story” adventure games, seeing that it complemented Battlefield 1 in length of gameplay, ease of use, and storytelling opportunities. We looked to existing platforms that matched theme or gameplay to what our game would be.
While we were creating a new game, we wanted to also solve problems with the Battlefield 1, making it a go-to for current gamers. We researched the game thoroughly through interaction with gamers, on social boards and blogs.

Consumer insights from research

Time commitment
Multiplayer matches last from 40 minutes to over an hour. Could there be a way to experience the game without committing 
lots of time?
Craving more story
As players complete the BF1 campaign experience, many are disappointed—they wonder what made the developers choose these characters and stories.
Gateway gamers
A new game experience could serve as a way to bring in new interest into a franchise that's otherwise known for it's niche, competitive gaming landscape.

DEFINE

Players gonna play

It’s easy to make assumptions about game players as a whole and assume that features will be appealing. But with this game being for mobile, the audience has broadened to include gamers that have different reasons to play and motivations to continue. I selected two personas that have strong similarities—they are both busy with life and are looking for easy and efficient gaming to escape.
Curious gamers
A dedicated crew that expects the intensity and feeling of Battlefield but for a mobile device. They desire calculated gameplay, authentic storytelling, and opportunities to progress and win.
Casual players
These people hear about the game through others but end up playing for the experience and not the gameplay. Their motivations are to collect and share moments that make them smile.
After building these user journeys, I noticed some interesting things we never thought of previously. Seeing that this game would need to be accessed anywhere, sound controls would need to be present. In the rush of a time limit, UI navigation played a large role in helping the user to get to their desired screen quickly.

DESIGN

A game within the game

Developing our game, the focus was on teamwork, inevitable Loss, being a soldier, and trench warfare. The idea of carefully navigating a choose your story game was starting to feel right. With no learning curve whatsoever, players must deal with feelings of nervousness of taking the next step. We found this to be very familiar with the feelings shared by those who fought in WW1.
Art influences from Battlefield 1
Players are familiar with Battlefield iconography and graphical layout, so the goal was to implement a smooth navigation but deliver an epic visual experience that matched the magnitude of the battle.
Building a functional game
It wasn’t enough to establish a compelling narrative that forks into a myriad of paths for our players. I wanted to create a game that launched from that storytelling, but yet added more agency to the players. More bargaining, more deliberation. I imagined the war scenes playing out and I didn’t see an option simply being selected, I saw turmoil in decision-making. I wanted to develop a game that focused on those branching moments, making them life or death for the players. Adding a bit of social pressure by the rest of the soldiers on your team, each Battle Event becomes a memorable experience.
Meaningful actions
Knowing the crux of the game hinges on access and visibility to the Battle Events around the map, I wanted the navigation to be simple, nesting secondary or tertiary items within the Soldier profile section of the game. By creating a simplified menu, every tap on the screen becomes a meaningful action that leads to engaging content for the user.

DEVELOP

Time to deploy

It was exciting to see the screens come to life as detailed imagery added a new feel to the designs. With the mobile game shaping up, I was able to cater more of the functions of the game’s landing page to collaborate with the game’s activity. The landing page brought in the educational aspect of the product, specifically the lessons of the Lost Generation.

Engaging new players

I created an onboarding plan as a way to organize creative efforts to bring players to the app. Battlefield has an active gaming community, and with EA’s established communication channels, there’s big opportunity for players to experience Lost Soldier.
When new players open the app for the first time, they are instructed through gameplay and feel comfortable and excited for the future of their soldier. The animation style is fluid and swift, making it fun to interact with the menus when you're not in a Battle Event.
Animating Menus
EALS onboard
EALS menus
Battlefield: Lost Soldier Logo

Get in touch

Email me hello@billyreano.com

Talk me 801.380.7986

About Me

I love making experiences that connect brands to humans. The pleasure comes from knowing that there could be a flow... READ MORE
© 2018 Billy Reano.
All rights reserved.
Billy Reano

Get in touch

Email me hello@billyreano.com

Talk to me 801.380.7986

About Me

I love making experiences that connect brands to humans. The pleasure comes from knowing that there could be a flow... READ MORE
© 2018 Billy Reano.
All rights reserved.
Billy Reano