Similar to the previous entries in the series, Battlefield 1 is a first-person shooter. It is set in the period of World War I, and is inspired by historical events. Players can make use of World War I weapons, including bolt-action rifles, automatic and semi-automatic rifles, artillery, flamethrowers, and mustard gas to kill opponents. Melee combat was reworked, with DICE introducing new melee weapons such as sabres, trench clubs, and shovels into the game. These melee weapons were divided into two groups: heavy and light. Players can also take control of various armored vehicles, including light and heavy tanks, armored trucks, biplane aircraft, and battleships, as well as ride horses into battle. Destructible environments and weapon customization, features present in the previous games, return in Battlefield 1.
According to the game’s designer, Daniel Berlin, the campaign mode has larger and more open environments than those in previous installments in the franchise, with more options and choices in terms of paths to completing levels and how to approach combat. Players can control several characters in the campaign.
The game’s multiplayer is planned to support up to 64 players. The new squad system allows a group of players to enter and leave game servers together. According to Berlin, playing without joining a squad would make gameplay significantly more difficult. Multiplayer maps are to be based on locations around the world, including Arabia, the Western Front, and the Alps.