On September 10, 2002, publishers Electronic Arts and a relatively unknown developer called DICE released a multiplayer shooter. I call battlefield 1942. In the 20 years since everyone involved has been on quite a ride.
The game, which not only featured infantry but also allowed players to control vehicles, was noted for its scale and variety; I avoid pretty much all other online shooter games, I’m talking Obligations Y counterattackthat are only for infantry—Like the plague, but I’ve always played Battlefield because I love the way it allows me to spawn as a sniper, die, and then think, you know what, I’ll drive a tank next, and maybe I’ll fly a fighter after that.
In the 20 years since then, the series has changed a lot. The number of players has increased—2042 it has maps that support 128 at a time, which has problems but is also surprising, while the configuration has jumped to Vietnam, World War I, the distant future and vice versa. there have been games where you are playing as a policeman instead of a soldierand spin-off games that had a lot of history. And that’s just the Battlefield Serie; DICE has also released at that time two Star Wars games that are Battlefield in all but name.
And yet, it hasn’t changed at all either. Of battlefield 1942 a battlefield 2042the basic premise of each game has been largely kept the same. Two teams battle it out on a large map, trying to seize control points and kill players on the opposing side. You can use a variety of infantry weapons, or you can get behind the wheel of a vehicle, and some of those vehicles are slow and carry passengers, while others are fast and don’t.
Each game has had its problems, some technical and others related to design, and each game has pissed off some veteran fans while attracting new players. As I pointed out in my 2042 revisiona Battlefield the game suffering from a poor launch and then recovering through patches and updates is almost a meme right now, something we are living in real time once again What 2042 slowly recovers from his own disastrous release.
On an occasion like this it’s natural to look back on the series and remember the good times—something DICE have marked this week with…free goodies for 2042 players—but 2042’s woes and the direction the series is headed in have also been cause for concern with players when it comes to Battlefield’s future.
Battlefield games were for the longest time seen as standalone video games, which you bought, played for a few years then moved on from when the next one came out. It’s clear now though, in this age of season passes and live service games— that DICE (or maybe just their chief editors 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. An impulse that, seen as part of Similary the industry moves across other games and genreshas become exhausting and a source of contention for many players
It’s not that the series itself is under threat; in fact, it was only last week that EA announced that a whole new studio is working on a new Battlefield “experience”while also tweeting that they are “Here’s to the future of Battlefield!” But it’s still a worrying trend, and it rightly has people worried about what happens next. Battlefield could watch the game.
I don’t know if anyone would have noticed in 2002 that this series would continue in 2022. And I’m sure no one could have seen it the twists and turns it has taken in the decades since. So any attempt to predict the future of Battlefield it would probably be just as useless.
Maybe the season passes and cosmetic microtransactions will bring the series to the ground. Maybe DICE learns lessons from the things people hated 2042—not the bugs or things that could be fixed, but the fundamentals driven by the economy decisions such as the introduction of Sspecialists, and make peace with the next game. Who knows! We can only wait and see, just as we have for the last 20 years.
In the meantime I’m going to spend some time today playing 2021 battlefield 2042 to be able to enjoy a remake of a map (Caspian border) from 2011 battlefield 3which is the most appropriate 20th anniversary celebration I can think of.