If you’ve stumbled across the Battlefield 5 subreddit in recent weeks, you’ll have inevitably encountered the ongoing debate surrounding whether the upcoming game is “realistic” enough. The uproar has mainly centred on the game’s cosmetics, particularly over the inclusion of women and black characters, and has mired the game in controversy straight from the get-go.
In the case of Battlefield’s Rotterdam map, however, there appears to be little to debate. Travel blog writer Zoe, who runs a site with her partner called Together in Transit, posted several photos and screenshots comparing the two, and the similarities are remarkable. From the near-identical trams to the replication of Rotterdam’s Erasmus statue, it’s clear DICE has spent a lot of time studying the Dutch city for inspiration.
There’s some truly fascinating history behind many of the real-life buildings included in the game. Zoe writes on her blog that the Laurenskerk church, which can be seen in the first set of photos below, was one of the only buildings in the city centre to survive the war. Apparently the church’s beautiful stained glass windows were “removed before the bombings to prevent damage,” and eventually re-installed after the war.
The Witte Huis, meanwhile, played an important strategic role in the city. As the first high-rise building to be constructed in Europe, it became a useful sniper point for the Dutch army during the Battle for Rotterdam. Zoe says you can still find bullet holes in the building to this day.
Zoe explained she’d been inspired to take the photos after playing the map on the recent beta weekend, and had noticed many of the similarities between the game and her hometown. “I think it is impressive of DICE to have made the map so realistic,” Zoe told me. “The features of the map make it very recognisable and brings to life the ‘old Rotterdam’ from before it was bombed.”
Rotterdam ended up playing a significant role in the larger context of World War II. Following a stalemate in the Battle for Rotterdam in May 1940, Hitler ordered a devastating bombing campaign on the city to break Dutch resistance. 1000 people are estimated to have died (although the number is disputed), and the fires became so widespread they created a firestorm: a collection of fires so intense that a self-sustaining wind system is created. Firestorm is also the name of Battlefield 5’s battle royale mode, by the way.
With the city playing such an important role in the larger war, it’s pretty neat to see DICE include some real-life details in the map design.
As Zoe noted on Reddit, however, the photo comparison only shows images of modern-day Rotterdam – so it would be incredible to see if some historical photos match up to areas of the map. Internet, do your thing.
If you want to read more about the historical buildings and view more comparison photos, make sure to check out Zoe’s excellent blog post.