We already knew that Battlefield 2042 was going to be an ambitious shooter. The multiplayer-only game ups the ante with 128 player matches, dynamic weather, and more. But EA has taken the game to another level with a surprising new game mode.
Battlefield Portal is 2042’s equivalent of Fortnite’s creative mode, essentially. It’s a robust, web-based editor tool that allows players to create custom matches. What’s more surprising is that Portal allows players to mix and match assets from older Battlefield titles, like Bad Company 2, giving the game a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “everyone is here!” vibe.
During an hour-long preview, EA gave an in-depth demo that shows exactly how the tool works. Battlefield Portal is a powerful program that could set a new bar for customization in multiplayer games.
To explain a complex tool as simply as possible, Battlefield Portal allows players to build custom matches. Want to create a 64-player match where players only have rocket launchers and friendly fire is on? Anyone will be able to hop in and mash up rules to their liking.
And I do mean everyone. Battlefield Portal isn’t actually housed within Battlefield 2042. It’s fully controlled through a browser. That means that you don’t even need a copy of the game to start creating and sharing game modes; you just need an EA login.
While the version of the site shown during the press event was unfinished, it gave an idea of how deep the customization goes. For starters, players select a game mode: Conquest, Conquest Small, Rush, or Custom. From there, they can start drilling down into every little option. Players can select how many players are on each side and even create asymmetrical teams. Individual weapons, attachments, gadgets, and vehicles can be toggled on and off to create hyper-specific loadouts. Players can even control something as minute as headshot modifiers, boosting them all the way up to four times the damage.
Players can even set up rules for artificial intelligence (A.I.) enemies in order to test their creations with computer players or create PvE experiences.
The team at Ripple Effect walked through the process of creating a match, setting up a snipers-versus-shotguns mode. In the example, Ripple Effect set different rules for each team: One would only spawn with sniper rifles and have their sprint disabled, while the other team got to run with shotguns.
It’s all astonishingly in-depth, but it gets even more complex thanks to a rule editor tool. It’s essentially a streamlined coding program that allows players to build more specific rules that don’t have a preset toggle. Ripple Effect gave an example in which it made it so that getting a kill would immediately refill a player’s health.
Ripple Effect will do some curation on its end, highlighting player-made modes. It’ll also create “official experiences” of its own that it’ll share with the community. Otherwise, players can share their creations with their friends via codes. Ripple Effect notes that players could also send a full URL to a friend, giving them the option to copy and edit their creation.
The tool would be impressive enough as is, but Ripple Effect has gone the extra mile to please longtime fans. Battlefield Portal will allow players to use assets from previous Battlefield titles, including Battlefield 1942, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3. That means that players can mash up different eras of the battlefield, pitting World War 2 soldiers against 2042’s ex-pats (though two eras can’t be on the same team).
As part of that, Ripple Effect is bringing in tons of assets (weapons, vehicles, gadgets, etc.) from old games, including fan-favorite maps. Battlefield Portal will support 13 maps in total: Seven from 2042 and six from previous games. The list of oldies includes 1942’s Battle of the Bulge and Bad Company 2’s Valparaiso, to name a few.
Old maps have been “reimagined to take advantage of modern tech.” That means that maps like Battle of the Bulge will be destructible, which wasn’t the case in Battlefield 1942. Incredibly, the old maps will also support 128 players on next-generation systems, as well as 4K visuals at 60 frames per second on the Frostbite engine.
Ripple Effect mentions that each map has a smaller “arena” variant as well, which allows players to create more intimate matches.
Naturally, the era mash-up idea creates some questions. How could a World War 2 fighter go toe-to-toe with a high-tech soldier from the future? When asked how Ripple Effect would balance the experience, the developers gave a blunt answer: “We’re not.” Instead, that’s entirely in the hands of an individual builder. Ripple Effect isn’t trying to restrict anyone’s creativity; it wants players to take on the role of game-maker.
Based on this first look, Battlefield Portal looks like an incredibly impressive tool. The level of customization available goes far beyond normal game settings and makes Battlefield 2042 feel like a definitive home for the franchise. It’s a dream come true for content creators and event organizers who want to build hyper-specific Battlefield experiences for their communities.
Battlefield 2042 launches on October 22 for PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. An open beta will begin this September.
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