The Battlefield Series has been around for 20 years.
You may be online complaining about 2042 one moment while playing 1942 in a LAN cafe.
Battlefield 1942, a multiplayer shooter, was released on September 10, 2002 by Electronic Arts and a relatively unheard-of developer by the name of DICE. Everyone involved has had a wild trip in the 20 years since.
I avoid pretty much every other online shooter—I’m talking Call of Duty and Counter-Strike, which are infantry-only—like the plague, but I’ve always played Battlefield because I love the way it lets me spawn in as a sniper, get killed then figure, you know what, I’ll drive a tank next, and maybe pilot a fighter after that. The game featured both infantry and allowed players to control vehicles.
The show has undergone significant alteration in the 20 years since. The setting has changed to include Vietnam, the First World War, the far future, and back again, while player counts have climbed. 2042 includes maps that can accommodate 128 players at once, which has issues but is also wonderful. There have also been spin-off games with a focus on the story where you play as a police officer rather than a military. And that’s just the Battlefield franchise; throughout that time, DICE also published two Star Wars games that are, all but in name, Battlefield.
Yet it hasn’t really altered at all either. The fundamental idea behind every game, from Battlefield 1942 to Battlefield 2042, has basically remained the same. On a large battlefield, two teams engage in a battle to control points and eliminate opponents. You can drive a number of vehicles, some of which are slow and transport passengers while others are swift and don’t, or you can employ a range of infantry weaponry.
Each game has encountered issues, some technical and some due to the game’s design, and each game has irritated some die-hard fans and drawn in new players. Since 2042 is slowly rebounding from its own awful release, we are once again witnessing in real-time what I noted in my review of 2042: a Battlefield game having a poor launch then recovering via patches and updates.
It’s only natural to reflect back on the series and recall the good times on such an occasion—something DICE marked this week with…free goods for 2042 gamers—but 2042’s problems and the series’ future direction have also caused players to express concern.
For the longest time, Battlefield games were viewed as stand-alone video games that you could buy, play for a while, and then put aside when the next one came out. However, it is now obvious that DICE (or perhaps just their publisher overlords at EA) see a slightly different path for Battlefield, one where games are kept alive for years while fans are encouraged to constantly spend on things like expansions and cosmetic content. This is especially true in this era of season passes and live service games. A drive that has grown tiresome and a source of dissatisfaction for many players when considered in the context of related industry developments across other games and genres.
It’s not as if the franchise is in danger; in fact, EA simply revealed last week that a brand-new studio is developing a brand-new Battlefield “experience,” tweeting that they’re “all in on the future of Battlefield!
”. However, it’s still a worrying trend, and people are understandably concerned about what the upcoming Battlefield game might look like.
Nobody may have predicted in 2002 that this series would still be airing in 2022. And I’m certain that nobody could have predicted the detours it would take throughout the years. Therefore, any attempt to forecast Battlefield’s future would probably be equally fruitless.
Seasons could pass and cosmetic microtransactions could ruin the show. Maybe DICE will take note of the criticisms of 2042—not the flaws or things that could be addressed, but rather the fundamentally flawed, economically motivated choices, like the inclusion of Specialists—and make amends with the following title. The unknown! As we have done for the past 20 years, all we can do is wait and see.