With Battlefield 2042, EA and Dice are stepping into a battle they can't afford to lose. The Battlefield fanbase appeared at one point to be dwindling as gamers move to headline-grabbing Battle Royale shooters. Now, this storied first-person shooter franchise has a chance to show why it has endured for nearly two decades.
To do so, it will need to avoid past problems, many of which were self-inflicted. Battlefield 3 launched in 2011 with severe glitches; Battlefield 4 in 2013 was in even worse shape, and Battlefield: Hardline was an odd departure from the traditional war-based games. The latest entry, Battlefield V, followed the well-received Battlefield 1, but was unfairly bashed by fans in the buildup and failed to reach sales estimates.
Despite recent bumps in the road, Battlefield fans have reason to be excited about Battlefield 2042. DICE, the studio behind every entry to date, is taking its time, opting for a two-year development cycle instead of the typical annual release. DICE isn't being shy about hyping the game, either, throwing out bold claims, like that it will reach an “unprecedented scale.” And from what we've seen, it's poised to deliver. We'll go into more detail below, but highlights include massive maps, 128-player fights, a Portal mode where you can mix-and-match elements from new and old games, and dynamic weather events.
Now that Dice has officially taken the wraps off Battlefield 2042, there isn't much we don't know about the game. Here is everything you need to know about Battlefield 2042.
Battlefield 2042 release date
Battlefield 2042 will launch on October 22 for Xbox One, Series X, PS4, PS5, and PC through Origin, Steam, and the Epic Game Store.
Helping DICE with the creation of Battlefield 2042 is Criterion Games, the makers of Need for Speed. With Criterion assisting Dice, the next Need for Speed entry has been delayed until 2022, according to EA's chief studio officer Laura Miele.
We hope EA uses any extra time and resources to iron out bugs and make Battlefield 2042 the most stable launch yet.
Battlefield 2042 beta
Battlefield 2042 will enter a beta before it launches in October. According to the Battlefield Bulletin on Twitter, the beta will be available for download starting on September 3 before going live on September 4 for those who received early access by pre-ordering the game.
🚨NEW #BATTLEFIELD2042 BETA INFORMATION! 💣 Pre-load: Sept 3 (1AM PT / 10AM CEST)💣 Early access (pre-order) starts: Sept 4 (1AM PT / 10AM CEST)💣 Available for everyone: Sept 6 (1AM PT / 10AM CEST)💣 Ends: Sept 11 (7AM PT / 4PM CEST)(via ‘BFBulliten’) pic.twitter.com/wpndJq9S2HJuly 22, 2021
The beta will be available to everyone starting on September 6 at 4am ET before ending on September 11 at 10am ET.
Battlefield 2042: Is it on PS5 and Xbox Series X?
“The technical advancements of the new consoles are allowing the team to deliver on a true next-gen vision for the franchise," Wilson said.
Battlefield 2042 will also be available on last-gen consoles as well. That shouldn't come as a surprise — supply shortages mean only a fraction of gamers has upgraded to the latest systems.
Of course, if you want to the best experience, you will need to play on PS5 or Xbox Series X as they will benefit from improved physics, AI, and a more "immersive nature." Most importantly, only current-gen consoles will feature 128-player maps while last-gen is stuck on 64 players.
Battlefield 2042 trailers
Dice and EA released an official trailer for Battlefield 2042 on June 9.
As seen in the frenetic trailer, Battlefield 2042 will include wingsuits so soldiers can glide around, weapons can be customized during battle (not just on the loadout screen), and tornadoes will destroy buildings and launch players across a map. We also saw robot dogs, weaponized hovercars, and some interesting sci-fi tech.
After launch the reveal trailer, EA dropped a 3-minute gameplay trailer which was essentially the cinematic trailer but actually played out. We saw vehicles dropping from the sky, epic firefights through dense urban jungles, on-the-fly weapon customization options, and got a teaser of the dynamic weapons and events you'll encounter during a round.
Battlefield 2042: Maps, weapons and destruction
There will be seven maps available at launch including Hourglass (Doha, Qatar), Orbital (French Guiana), Kaleidoscope (South Korea), Manifest (Singapore), Discarded (India), Breakaway (Antarctica) and Renewal (Egypt).
The map based in Antarctica involves players fighting over oil; a new version of Doha will feature sandstorms; there is a dried seabed in India filled with ship remains, and Kaleidoscope is a metropolis in South Korea. It's clear from the trailer that dynamic events take place during rounds (like a missile launch) and that dynamic weather will play a huge role. For more about Battlefield 2042, see EA's explainer page.
These new maps will combine with classics in Battlefield Portal, a game mode that mashes together elements from new and old games (more on Portal below). So far, the reimagined maps include:
- Battle Of The Bulge (Battlefield 1942)
- El Alamein (Battlefield 1942)
- Arica Harbor (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)
- Valparaiso (Battlefield: Bad Company 2)
- Caspian Border (Battlefield 3)
- Noshahr Canals (Battlefield 3)
What can the PS5 and Xbox Series X do for the franchise? Wilson said Battlefield 2042 will “bring massive and immersive battles to life with more players than ever.” This means dynamic environments and up to 128-player maps.
The Battlefield franchise has long pitted two teams of 32 players against each other, creating hectic 64-player battles. With Battlefield 2042 maps are being "designed with 128+ players in mind.”
Maps will have "unprecedented scale" and the next version of Battlefield takes "all the destruction, player agency, and vehicle and weapon combat that the franchise is known for and elevates it to another level," Wilson said.
Henderson posted photos that supposedly showed buildings in Battlefield 2042 before and after a battle. The images suggest players will have the ability to destroy entire cities.
The 128-player maps will be available only on the newest generation of consoles, so Xbox One and PS4 players will be stuck with the standard 32 vs. 32 game modes, which will also be available to PS5 and Xbox Series X owners. Those playing older hardware will see visual downgrades and less destructibility.
Portal, a mode that lets you create your own matches or play in pre-existing ones that include elements from Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 2042. In a rather bizarre trailer for the mode, DICE showed how you could play as a WWII soldier (from BF 1942) playing with modern weapons (from BF3) in a futuristic setting (from BF 2042).
The combinations seem endless, with the option to change settings, customizations, weapons, vehicles, maps and more. These options are all adjusted in the Logic Editor, a software where you can define rules, victory conditions, consequences of specific in-game events and make additional tweaks.
In EA's own words: "You’ll be able to change team ratios, tweak victory conditions, restrict weapons, and even put different factions from different eras in Battlefield’s history against one another."
Battlefield 2042 campaign
There is no campaign in Battlefield 2042, only a multiplayer mode. That said, players can fight against AI in any of the new maps to improve their skills before going up against real players.
Battlefield 2042 setting: Future warfare
Battlefield 2042 is set in the near future and acts as a spiritual successor to Battlefield 2142.
EA says the premise is a world on the brink with rampant food, energy and water storages crippling dozens of failed nations. The US and Russia have broken into an all-out war where "No-Pat" Specialists join both sides to fight for a new world.
Confirmed locations include Antarctica, Doha, India and South Korea. The leaked trailers show drones, quadcopters and military robots that look very similar to the robotic dogs in the Black Mirror episode "Metalhead."
I suspect a return to modern warfare will be welcomed by the Battlefield faithful. Some of the best games in the franchise — Battlefield 2, Bad Company, Bad Company 2 — were played on a modern battlefield during a non-specific conflict rather than a past war (Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 1, etc.).
Going modern also gives Dice more flexibility when it comes to weapons, skins and other customization options. The studio received unnecessary flack for the historical inaccuracies shown in early Battlefield V gameplay. The game was also subject to sexism from those who thought the inclusion of woman soldiers damaged the authenticity of the game. These criticisms will be avoided if DICE opts for a non-historical conflict.
Battlefield 2042 specialists
We're waiting for EA to talk more about weapons classes, but it appears Battlefield 2042 will take a different approach. On the Battlefield 2042 launch page is a section dedicated to "Specialists."
These are described as "Based on Battlefield's four Classes, Specialists have one unique Specialty and Trait – but the rest of the loadout is fully customizable. Choosing and equipping your Specialist allows you to build synergies within your squad and empower yourself to take on any battle situation."
Interestingly, four Specialist types have already been revealed but another six appear to be coming. The four we know about are Webster Mackay (grappling hook, nimble), Maria Falck (Syrette Pistol, Combat Surgeon), Boris (SG-36 Sentry system, Sentry Operator), and Casper (OV-P Recon Drone, Movement Sensor).
Will Battlefield 2042 support crossplay?
Yep, Battlefield 2042 could support crossplay, meaning PlayStation, Xbox and PC gamers could play against each other.
Henderson says BF6 will feature crossplay between all platforms and possibly last-gen consoles. While I'm personally against allowing PC players into the equation, crossplay should expedite matchmaking, especially with rounds featuring 128 players.
One of the major problems with Battlefield V's Firestorm Battle Royale mode was the time it took to enter a match. Long wait times could resolve with crossplay as it opens the door to a wider player base.
What about Battle Royale?
This is another gray area. A Battle Royale mode, called Firestorm, was released for Battlefield V several months after the game launched. It was well-received (after multiple updates) but long load times caused by not enough players queuing up ultimately killed the mode.
Battlefield 2042 will include a Hazard Zone mode where you "Squad up and drop down into the Hazard Zone - an all-new, high-stakes multiplayer experience." Dice says this is different from Battle Royale. Of course, Battlefield 2042 will also feature the classic Conquest and Breakthrough modes.
Interestingly, Dice is teasing a third game experience that is currently [Redacted] from the Battlefield 2042 page. We will learn more about it on July 22 at EA Play Live.
What we want in Battlefield 6
Skip the campaign (Confirmed: Battlefield 2042 has no campaign)
There is no need for a campaign. Take the Battlefield Vietnam route and put every effort into the multiplayer experience. Apart from the Bad Company games, Battlefield campaigns have failed to leave a mark. Battlefield V's vignette-based story mode was at least a unique attempt to share the untold stories of World War II (in the same way Battlefield 1 gave an interesting perspective on WWI). But the campaign was short, linear, and didn't contain anything you couldn't already do in the multiplayer modes.
Add a Battle Royale mode
I can already see the Battlefield faithful rolling their eyes at me. While I'm a Conquest player at heart, I really enjoyed playing Firestorm for the few months after release, when enough people were queuing up to play. It wasn't perfect, but some of my best memories of Battlefield V were outlasting others in a squad filled with friends. Oh, and if EA does include a Battle Royale mode, make it free so it can be enjoyed by as many players as possible.
The return of modern warfare (Confirmed: Battlefield 2042 is set in the near future)
DICE achieved what it set out to do with Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V, but it's time to return to the modern era. Games based on historical events are inevitably restricted by the weapons, vehicles and terrain seen in those conflicts. The sky is the limit with modern warfare — you can fight in skyscrapers, stadiums, in dense urban jungles, or in gorgeous environments anywhere in the world. Moreover, DICE can let its creative juices flow with unique skins, weapons, add-ons, and other upgrades.
Split up the Conquest modes
It took several months but DICE finally split its Conquest modes into Strategic and Tactical conquest, so players could choose between a group of smaller or larger maps. Strategic includes larger maps with vehicles while Tactical has more dense, infantry-heavy maps. DICE should do the same in Battlefield 6 (if players aren't given server filters) but keep an umbrella Conquest for those who want to cycle between every map.
Fix the "bleeding out" mechanic
The "bleeding out" mechanic was the single most frustrating element of BFV at launch. If you're unfamiliar, in BFV, you don't immediately die and go back to the redeploy screen when you run out of health. Instead, your soldier goes down injured and waits for a squad member or medic to revive them. Your only options are to make the respawn time counter go faster or slower depending on your odds of being revived. It has its perks — if you are revived, it doesn't count as a death and you don't need to respawn at an owned base or a squad member. But bleeding out too often feels clunky and could use revisiting.
Don't listen to the haters (Confirmed: As the trailer shows, Dice is going all-out)
It's OK Dice, you can go crazy with the customizations. We don't need 1,000 shades of green boots because there wasn't any color in World War II. Ignore the haters, and give us all the customization and upgrade options you can think of (so long as the weapons remain balanced) — doing so will increase the replay factor and have people sinking 100 hours into the multiplayer to unlock that dope weapon skin. I know I will.