Horses played a part in World War I and DICE’s Battlefield 1 will represent that by allowing you to ride and fight while riding them in the upcoming game. While we’ve seen horse combat in previous Battlefield 1 videos, the developer hasn’t said much about how they play. Now, DICE has shared many details on this.
In a blog post, DICE explained that horses are highly effective in close-quarter combat, provided the rider is skilled enough. “Their speed and agility means they can trample enemies under their powerful hooves, and they’ll get you close enough to slash them down with a saber,” DICE said.
Players can wield and use swords, as well as rifles, while on horseback, though aiming is likely to be difficult while galloping across the battlefield. You can also throw grenades while on horseback. DICE provided the example of running circles around a slower-moving mechanized vehicle to take it down with grenades.
Additionally, horses serve as supply stations of sorts, as they can drop ammo and bandages.
In terms of health, horses have “a lot more” than human characters. However, the tradeoff is they are a much larger, more visible target, so you’ll need to be smart to have success on horseback.
You can spawn onto a horse from the loadout screen (it wasn’t said how many horses can be on a map at once) or climb onto one that you find on the battlefield. Horses are automatically equipped with a “suite of weapons and gadgets,” but these were not specified.
DICE also explained that a lot of effort went into ensuring horses feel like horses. “Just because they share similarities with many of the vehicles in the game doesn’t mean they feel like a vehicle,” DICE said.
Going off that, horses will not automatically run off cliffs like a car would if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings. “It may be brave and loyal, but it will not lightly jump towards its own death,” DICE said about the horse’s situational awareness.
“A lot of the efforts from a code, animation, audio, art, and design standpoint has been to pinpoint the instances where you’d expect the horse to react on its own,” the developer said. “We wanted to make sure that your horse has a sense of realism when approaching dangers in Battlefield 1. It can go into shallow water, but will not swim out to sea. If you gallop towards an obstacle, it will try to avoid or jump over it. The horse will have a lot of character and respond to what’s happening in the world. We hope it will feel like it’s communicating with you when you ride it into battle.”
You can ride a horse by using the Cavalry class, which is new for Battlefield 1. There are other new, vehicle-based classes in the game as well. Horses will be available in Battlefield 1’s upcoming beta, which takes place on the Sinai Desert map, when it begins later this month. Everyone can jump into the beta on August 31, though Battlefield Insiders can play early.