Everything you need to know about Battlefield 1's Giant's Shadow update

Battlefield 1 is set to receive its first major update this week, introducing new content and fixes just ahead of the holiday season. Known as the Giant's Shadow DLC, the update will introduce a new multiplayer map, new gear and other tweaks that improve upon the core experience.

Giant's Shadow is scheduled to roll out for free in two separate waves over the coming week. While the main release is scheduled for Tuesday, December 20, those who pre-ordered Battlefield 1 or purchased the game' Premium Pass will get Giant's Shadow a week earlier on Tuesday, December 13. On Xbox One, the update comes in at a 3.8GB download size for all players.

A new multiplayer map

Giant's Shadow

The biggest component of this update is the new Giant's Shadow multiplayer map — it's so important the whole update takes its name from it. Taking place during The Battle of the Selle in 1918, Giant's Shadow throws players into the expansive embankments surrounding the Le Cateau-Wassigny railway. After a downed airship has left its mark on the landscape, both forces are left to fight among its remains while contesting a nearby railway center.

Giant's Shadow offers a range of encounters, with close-quarters infantry combat taking place inside the airship's remnants and more expansive vehicle-ridden areas situated around its perimeter. However, being located right next to the railway, both teams have the chance to unleash an armored train to push back hostile forces.

Supporting gadgets

Grenade Crossbow

Battlefield 1 players will also be treated to new gear as a part of the Giant's Shadow DLC, with the introduction of the Grenade Crossbow. Available exclusively to the Support class, the new weapon is equipable as a gadget after handing over 200 War Bonds.

As you probably guessed, the Grenade Crossbow is a sleek and stealthy way to propel grenades across the war zone. However, instead of feeding from your throwable grenade reserve, the crossbow has its own separate ammunition. While seven throwable grenade types are offered in Battlefield 1, the crossbow only supports Fragmentation and High Explosive rounds.

Creative freedom

Spectator Mode

Alongside the launch of the Giant's Shadow DLC, a new Spectator Mode is also being implemented into Battlefield 1. Available on both PC and console, Spectator allows players to observe live matches from a range of different viewpoints, with advanced camera controls and filters.

Primarily intended for live viewing and content creation, Spectator is packed with bespoke tools tailored to creative projects and competitive play. First-person and third-person cameras are offered, in conjunction with a less conventional top-down Table Top view and an opposable Free Cam. Several effects will also be integrated into Spectator Mode, including depth of field settings and camera filters.

For the enthusiasts

Standard Issue Rifles

The final major component of the content drop is a new Standard Issue Rifles custom game setting, which is aimed towards those who prefer a more historically accurate take on multiplayer gameplay. In this mode, all loadouts are restricted solely to standard issue rifles for their factions, with no additional attachments. Although this skews gameplay balancing in a way DICE didn't initially envision, it's a great treat for those looking to fulfill their World War 1 fantasies.

Refreshing the old

A bundle of tweaks and fixes

Of course, a Battlefield 1 update wouldn't be complete with a whole slew of fixes, ranging from player movement, weapon handling, vehicle performance, and game mode tweaks. We've chosen to wrap up the biggest changes in the Giant's Shadow update, from the eight pages of official patch notes. However, if you're looking to get more technical and dig down to numbers, a full changelog is available to the public.

In terms of infantry handling, changes have been introduced to improve the fluidity and responsiveness when changing between different stances. Tweaks have also been made to the balancing of aim assist, limiting the strength of the snap-to-target feature in certain scenarios.

Minor changes have also been made to some of Battlefield 1's vehicles, in an attempt to create a more consistent and balanced experience with tanks, planes, and horses. Among these are bug fixes surrounding vehicle-based loadouts and vehicle deployment. The Landship has also been given a slight buff, allowing teammates to directly spawn on the vehicle when deployed on the field.

Tweaks have also been made to a number of Battlefield 1's weapons, mostly affecting shotguns, LMGs, and the bayonet charge. Changes to shotguns mostly address issues with balancing, in accordance with the strengths and weaknesses of each shotgun type. LMGs have received modified recoil patterns and tweaked overall performance, making for more consistent kills at closer ranges. The bayonet charge has also been modified to be a more formidable last resort – now usable when out of ammunition.

What are you looking forward to from Battlefield 1's Giant's Shadow update? Are you happy with these changes? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

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Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.