WA-based Electric Picture have been involved in numerous historically-based films in the past, including Jandamarra’s War, Desert War and Surviving Mumbai. They began working on a concept document for a World War I documentary series around a year before the ABC put out the tender for a major series to commemorate the centenary. The ABC were keen to make a show which was unashamedly Australian and didn’t want to enter an international co-production on it. They chose The War that Changed Us. The series was funded by Screen Australia, ScreenWest, Lottery West and the Department of Veteran's Affairs in association with the ABC.
Writer and director Don Featherstone first boarded the project when it was at treatment stage, written by people at Electric Pictures including Andrew Ogilvie, Greg Colgan and Clare Wright. Clare became Featherstone’s co-writer in the later stages.
The story was told ‘through the eyes of the participants, rather than through perspectives from 100 years later from historians, going into the minutiae of the war and the politics of it,’ Featherstone said.
When Featherstone joined the team, he set to work reading all of the diaries. He added two characters, meaning that they now had six major characters in the series – three men and three women. Three of them go to battle (the two soldiers and the nurse) and the other three are on the home front.