Battlefield 2042 features 128-player matches, plus wingsuits and tornadoes

EA has finally revealed a slew of details on the next installment of the Battlefield series. Battlefield 2042 is a multiplayer-only game that’s bringing several changes to the first-person shooter franchise. The game will launch on October 22 on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

The latest installment takes all-out warfare back to the future with a shooter that’s built around high-tech gear and weapons. The game itself is something of a technological marvel in itself, though. It features massive maps that allow for 128 player matches on next-gen consoles. That’s double the size of the game’s previous 64-player cap.

That’s only one of the huge changes coming to the game, which is shaping up to be a staggering shooter that ditches some genre clichés while embracing others.

Multiplayer madness

As the name implies, the game takes place in the future rather than calling back to a past war. The game follows warring teams of “No Pats” who are battling for supremacy in a semi-dystopian future plagued by eco-disasters. The game leans into that premise by adding dynamic weather to the sandbox, including massive tornadoes or sandstorms that interrupt matches.

That’s part of the game’s larger “levolution” system, which returns from previous entries like Battlefield 4. In addition to weather events, players can affect the battlefield in a number of ways. This can be as simple as raising and lowering bridges or as landscape-changing as a failed rocket launch that can disrupt a map.

One of Battlefield 2042's enormous multiplayer maps.

The maps themselves are gigantic in order to fit 128 players. The developers at Dice showcased seven different locations, from a “Neon City” that’s ravaged by sandstorms to an Antarctic location called Irreversible, which is the largest location in the game. The maps have been scaled down on PS4 and Xbox One as multiplayer only supports 64 players on those consoles.

Dice revealed the first of its multiplayer modes: Conquest and Breakthrough. Both modes return from previous games in the series and revolve around objectives. Conquest is a territory battle where players complete objectives within different clusters and sectors. In Breakthrough, one team defends against an attacking team that’s attempting to push through their forces.

A chaotic battlefield scene in Battlefield 2042.

Interestingly, there’s another mode called Hazard Zone, which is still a bit of a secret. Dice says it’s a tight, squad-based mode. The studio emphasizes that it is not a battle royale and that the game will not include one at launch. While Hazard Zone details will be revealed closer to launch, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Counter Strike-style economy shooter mode in the vein of Apex Legends’ recent Arenas mode.

The team is teasing one more new mode as well that is being developed by Dixce LA, but it’s saving any details on it for the EA Play livestream scheduled for July.

Evolution

There are even bigger changes in store for Battlefield 2042. For starters, the game features “specialists,” which are named characters that come with their own gadgets and special abilities. Dice highlighted four specific characters: A medic, an engineer that can deploy turrets, a drone operator, and a soldier that can use a grappling hook. Specialists can equip any weapon or secondary gadget alongside their primary skills. There will be 10 in total when the game launches.

Dice teased that one of the unannounced specialists will get a wingsuit, which might just come in handy when flying around roaming tornados.

A player with a wingsuit flies away from a tornado in Battlefield 2042.

The way weapon upgrades work is entirely reworked to match the game’s high-tech aesthetic. Players can swap out attachments like scopes on the fly with a small quick menu that appears on guns. For example, a player taking fire from afar could jump into cover and quickly swap to a long-range scope instantaneously.

That same idea applies to vehicles. At any point, a player can call for a vehicle midbattle and it will be parachuted to their location. Dice teased a world of shenanigans that the system presents. A player could kill someone summoning a tank and steal it from them before it even lands. Better yet, a player could summon it and drop it on an enemy to squash them.

There’s one more notable change to the Battlefield formula and it’s a little bigger: Dice is going all-in on a “games as a service” model. That means it will have a battle pass where players can unlock different bonuses for playing. Like many games, it’ll have both a free tier and a paid premium tier. Dice says that it will not paywall content like maps behind the premium version and will only offer extra cosmetics.

At a first glance, Battlefield 2042 looks like a wildly ambitious evolution of the shooter series. It’s very much doing its own chaotic thing, while still borrowing some modern ideas from genre staples like Rainbow Six Siege and Warzone. If it can deliver on its lofty 128 player matches, it’ll undoubtedly be the talk of the town this fall.

Battlefield 2042 is slated for an October 22 launch. A tech test will take place in early July, and those who buy it will get early access to the game on October 15. More details on the game are coming this summer, with a mode reveal set for EA Play on July 22.

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