Battlefield 2042 takes all the series components to date and slots them back together in new, bigger, different ways that won’t quite work for every fan of the series.
The Road to Battlefield 2042
Battlefield as a series finds itself torn between too many targets.
Each game in the series has a fanbase. Each of which vociferously demand the next game is a carbon copy of the one they like. BF4 fans are the largest of these groups, with some reports claiming only about half the total player base getting back in the mud in BF1. Then BFV tried to continue the pulpy tone of 1, while stepping forward into the Live Service Arena and backwards to 1942’s setting.
To maximise players,it had a Battle Royale, Multiplayer, a Campaign, Co-Op missions and a planned small scale competitive mode. All hoping support from both players and devs would just materialize. All while huge chunks of the playerbase stayed in BF1 or BF4, happy with what they had.
Spreading itself too thin across all this meant players didn’t find anything to latch on to. Folks like me still hold it up as a fantastically solid infantry play game. Between fortifications, enhanced movement and the now traditional beautiful soundscape of Battlefield, BFV did some incredible things. But no one was around to see them. And that meant content support came too late, and far too short.
And then there’s the competition. Battlefield’s Trademarks have always been scale, chaos and that “Only in Battlefield” moment. Except you can have almost all of those moments in other games now. Warzone has formalised squad play in a free package with Call of Duty gunplay. Chaos is everywhere in the upcoming Halo Infinite and it’s system driven gameplay and gadgets. On the tacticool side, there’s a host of competition like Insurgency: Sandstorm, Hell Let Loose, Enlisted and even the former Battlefield modders at Offworld Industries making Squad, Beyond the Wire and Post Scriptum.
The experience that you come to Battlefield for may vary but there’s options out there for literally all players to try something different.
So Battlefield 2042 then. Given an extra year in development (even if that year was 2020) BF2042 had to hit the ground running by bringing the fractured playerbase back together. It also had to be the first Next Gen Battlefield, showing exactly why and how that could be justified. And on top of all of that, it had to find a big selling point a la Levolutions in 4 or Leviathans in 1. A BFV style system restructuring wouldn’t work here. They had to go big, and bring everyone home.
So they hit all the required notes. Modern Combat again – to bring those fans back after two entries in WW1 and 2. A titular allusion to the classic 2142, and a move into the future to allow for advanced tech and gadgets. They found a hook to draw people in. Levolution and Behemoths replaced with 128 players on a single map. Plus expanding the game thanks to the help of additional studios to create new experiences on top.
All split across three pillars. Hazard Zone, All Out Warfare, Portal.