Everything we know about Battlefield 2042

EA DICE has finally launched the reveal and gameplay trailers for Battlefield 2042. In them, we see a near-futuristic setting plagued by massive surges in climate and catastrophic weather. Soldiers fight for survival on what EA DICE is calling the most expansive maps in Battlefield history. The biggest news is that Battlefield 2042 will support 128-player lobbies on current-generation consoles and PC. Let’s dive into everything we now know about Battlefield 2042.

Release date

Battlefield 2042 promo art shows a lone soldier by an explosion.

Battlefield 2042 was set to release on October 22, recently announced that it will be delayed until November 19.

An update from the Battlefield team pic.twitter.com/K53VNM2tTz

— Battlefield (@Battlefield) September 15, 2021

There are also a few lingering questions concerning what will be available at launch. In their press release for the trailer, DICE hinted at a TBA game mode set to be revealed at EA Play Live on July 22. While they aren’t giving away any major details right now, they are calling it a “love letter to Battlefield fans” and saying that “long-time players will feel right at home.”

Technical playtest and how to play

Since the reveal trailer, DICE has also released what we’ll call a cinematic gameplay trailer detailing several combat mechanics, which we’ll break down in a later section. However, the big news concerning Battlefield 2042’s release date is the rescheduling of the technical playtest for later this summer.

In a Q&A session, which DICE calls a “Battlefield Briefing,” the company assures us that crossplay is a feature they’re working incredibly hard on. It feels like the only way to support 128-player lobbies is to include players from every branch of gaming that supports Battlefield 2042. We know it, and DICE knows it.

Because crossplay is something they’re determined to get right on the first try, DICE is moving the technical Battlefield 2042 playtest to later this summer, presumably sometime in the back end of August at the time of this writing. Keep in mind; this playtest is not the Open Beta.

So can we play the Battlefield 2042 playtest? Yes, but only by invitation and under a strict NDA. Those looking to get in on the action will want to update their EA Playtesting Profile. Registering does not mean you’ll get in, but it does mean you’ll have the chance at an invite.

Platforms

Battlefield 2042 screenshot shows a smoking tank.

Battlefield has always been a massive game. Battlefield 2042 will be even bigger. EA DICE has continually pushed the limits of the consoles it releases on and will continue to on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. Gaming PCs will be able to handle the full scale of Battlefield 2042 as well.

However, the recent announcement comes with bad news for last-gen players. Yes, Battlefield 2042 will be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, it will not run nor support the massive 128-player lobbies. Instead, last-gen consoles will be capped at 64-player lobbies, and the maps will be scaled down.

The sheer scale of this new game could not run properly on last-gen systems. The “scaled down” version feels like a happy compromise. The other options were to not port to last-gen or release fully on last-gen. We all remember what happened to Cyberpunk 2077, right?

Trailer

Released June 9, the most recent Battlefield 2042 trailer gives fans a cinematic and in-game look at what they can expect from the next installment. We can see all kinds of futuristic editions from the trailer that make this Battlefield look like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by climate change, the Non-Patriated, or Non-Pats, fight for control over land, food, and water. While EA claims the Non-Pats are scarce on supplies, they have no shortage of high-tech military weaponry like robot war-dogs and fighter jets.

The environment will also play a huge role in the multiplayer madness that is Battlefield 2042. In the trailer, we see a massive tornado touch down in the middle of the battle and suck up anything caught in its path. Meanwhile, up in the sky, a fighter pilot pulls off one of the greatest aerial kills of all time before free-falling back into his cockpit, all to the tune of Motely Crew’s Kickstart My Heart.

Gameplay trailer

So we got a chance to look at the reveal trailer, but let’s talk more about what stands out in the gameplay trailer. As mentioned, it’s more of a cinematic trailer. While it was all captured through actual gameplay, we can tell it was most likely through scripted events to highlight points of interest and new features.

First off, we see a grappling hook on display as the player swings like Spider-Man to the end of a tall crane only to have their teammate assassinate an enemy player. The grappling hook is a Specialty that is unique to Webster, one of four Specialists revealed so far. We’ll dive deeper into the Specialists in a later section.

Next, we see the vehicle call-in mechanic on display as the player runs toward an incoming tank being lowered in with the help of a few parachutes. The tanks then move through the desert and into a major city area as they aim at rival vehicles and helicopters.

The squad then seeks shelter from an incoming tornado, suggesting that players will be safe from natural disasters when inside. In their Battlefield Briefing, DICE confirms that players will not be able to fight on every floor of a skyscraper. Instead, elevators and zip-lines will take players from the lobby to the roof. Battling it out on every floor of a 20-story building would be an entire map in and of itself. Could this be an idea for future DLC? We’ll wait and see.

Perhaps the most remarkable new feature of Battlefield 2042 is the ability to swap attachments mid-life. Instead of waiting until you’re back at the spawn screen, you can change the attachments on your weapon while roaming around the map. We see this on display as the squad casually rides up the elevator to an awaiting gunfight on the roof. The player swaps out their sights, barrel, and magazine for the close-quarters fight they’re anticipating. It looks like you’ll have to keep track of the stats, buffs, and setbacks for each of these attachments. The selection wheel doesn’t offer much information. Of course, this is all pre-alpha footage, and DICE may include a little more info when swapping attachments mid-game. We do wonder if you’ll be required to be in some sort of safe zone, or at least out of combat, to change attachments. It seems a bit OP to toss a grenade launcher on your weapon when pinned down by incoming fire.

As the trailer comes to an end, we see a wingsuit on display. Don’t get too excited; the wingsuit is a Speciality unique to an undisclosed specialist. Everybody else will presumably have a parachute, as we see moments later in the trailer.

Gameplay

Battlefield 2042 Helicopters

For starters, and perhaps most importantly, Battlefield 2042 will not feature a single-player campaign. The game will be 100% multiplayer, with plenty of game modes for players to choose from. There are three distinct ways to play Battlefield 2042′s massive multiplayer undertaking. They are:

  • All Out Warfare: This contains all the familiar game modes that players have fallen in love with over the years. In Conquest, two teams battle for control of multiple objectives scattered around Battlefield 2042‘s vast maps. Breakthrough, made popular in Battlefield 1, sees two teams fighting for control of the front line. The first team to push the other all the way back wins the day.
  • Hazard Zone: This is brand new to the Battlefield universe and will pit players against each other in a squad-based game. However, DICE couldn’t be more adamant when they say Hazard Zone is not a battle royale. DICE did refer to Hazard Zone as “High-Stakes” and a “modern take on the multiplayer experience.” So, perhaps Hazard Zone will be an all-or-nothing game where only one team takes home any sort of glory?
  • TBA: As mentioned above, we don’t have much to go off for this new game mode and will have to wait and see what DICE has in store on July 22.

Vehicle call-in

If it wasn’t abundantly clear, Battlefield 2042 features some of the biggest multiplayer maps in gaming history. It might take you an entire game to go from one end of the map to the other on foot, so vehicles are necessary for getting you in and out of the action. Yes, you can still spawn into vehicles as you’ve always been able to. However, Battlefield 2042 now features a squad vehicle call-in system for when you need a ride and there’s nothing nearby.

Each player has access to a tablet used to call in vehicles. However, each squad has a budget for how many vehicles they can call in during a match. Once you call in a ride, you will enter a cooldown period to allow other members of your squad to call in their own vehicles. It wouldn’t be fair for one player to spend the team’s budget on themselves.

Air vehicles like fighter jets and helicopters will still need to be spawned into from the deploy screen. As helpful as calling in a chopper might be to escape from a crumbling skyscraper, you’ll still have to rely on your wingsuit or parachute.

Specialists

Battlefield 2042 is changing the formula when it comes to selecting your role and loadout during a match. Specialists are named characters with roles similar to how Battlefield has always done things: Assault, Medic, Support, and Recon. The main difference, and perhaps the most exciting thing about Battlefield 2042, is the ability to completely customize your Specialist with any weapons you please. Before, Recon classes were limited to sniper rifles. Now, your Recon specialist can wield an AR and vice-versa.

While each Specialist can use any weapon they choose, they all come with unique abilities called Specialties and Traits. Think of Specialities like active combat abilities that will require a cooldown between uses, while Traits are more like passive class abilities.

DICE has 10 specialists planned at launch and has revealed four of them thus far. Let’s meet them.

Webster MacKay

MacKay is your classic assault class. His Speciality is the grappling hook seen on display in the gameplay trailer. The grappling hook can also be used like a zip-line to get to hard-to-reach areas or flank rooftops. If you don’t feel like swinging between buildings and cranes, you can always post up on the high ground with a long-ranged weapon.

MacKay’s Trait, Nimble, allows him to move faster while aiming down sights. Many first-person-shooter fans will opt for such perks or attachments in games like Battlefield and Call of Duty. The ability to ADS and move quickly is game-changing when it comes to those whoever-shoots-first engagements.

Maria Falck

Maria fills the role of the medic, perhaps the most underappreciated role in all of Battlefield. Her Specialty is the Syrette Pistol, which fires a healing syringe when shot at a teammate but will damage an enemy. Are bandages not a thing in the future?

Maria’s Combat Surgeon Trait works just like the Medics of old. She can revive downed teammates before they bleed out. Maria will bring downed players back to full health where Squad Revive takes longer and does not supply full health.

Porter “Boris” Guskovsky

Assault and Medic classes have their obvious abilities. However, Support classes in Battlefield have always been the LMG welding tanks. Now, with the ability to choose any primary you desire, what will DICE do with the Support Class? Boris’ Specialty deploys a sentry turret that spots and fires at enemies within range. Boris can hold down objectives and areas with his turret.

Boris’ Trait will spot and mark enemies for him when his Turret locks onto them. Whether or not this spots them for Boris’ squad, we can’t say for sure. However, if past Battlefield games have taught us anything, it’s that when a player marks a target, they mark it for the whole squad.

Wikus “Casper” Van Daele

We’ve arrived at the Recon class of the group, and what better way to dress Casper than in a full ghillie headdress. Casper can pilot a recon drone to spot and disorient targets with an EMP blast. Perhaps a squad of coordinated snipers will benefit from switching off piloting their respective drones and spotting enemies for their teammates to take down.

Casper’s Movement Sensor trait will alter players to approaching enemies whether on foot or piloting the drone. Perhaps this works like Call of Duty: Warzone’s High Alert perk? Hopefully, this motion sensor isn’t too OP. Sneaking up on and assassinating snipers is too much fun.

As for the other six specialists, DICE has confirmed they’ll announce them as we get closer to launch. Will there be other combat roles other than the four we’re used to? Our best guess is that there will be at least one. Therefore players will have two different options and styles to choose from when deciding on their combat role.

How do Loadouts work?

Everything other than Specialties and Traits can be changed when it comes to building your custom loadout in Battlefield 2042. Players will select:

  • Primary weapon
  • Secondary weapon
  • Throwable
  • Equipment (ammo crate or medical crate)

Multiplayer

Battlefield 2042 character using a wingsuit.

So what can we tell from the trailer about how exactly multiplayer will feel in Battlefield 2042? For starters, 128-player lobbies might be a “believe it when we see it” sort of deal. Yes, Call of Duty: Warzone can support 150 players; however, Warzone’s map is not as destructive and interactive as Battlefield maps of old. It looks like those 128 players will spread out over some massive play areas. Hopefully, engagements are consistent around the map. Players know how dreadful the minute-long sprint from the back of spawn can be when playing Conquest. Thankfully, the vehicle call-in system should help with that.

Speaking of massive multiplayer maps, let’s dive into the seven maps that will be available at launch for Battlefield 2042.

Manifest: Brani Island, Singapore

Manifest Battlefield 2042 Map

This seaport is the key to trade around the desolate globe. Fight for control of barge ships and freight containers in what looks like a close-quarters map. Darkness settles on the shores of Singapore. Perhaps a tidal wave looms just off the coast?

Kaleidoscope: Songdo, South Korea

A Battlefield 2042 scene in South Korea.

With skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, there’s no limit to the number of long-range vantage points snipers will have as they take aim at the players below. Spotted? Don’t worry. Leap from the building’s edge, deploy your wingsuit, and sail safely to a neighboring roof or the battleground below.

It’s on Kaleidoscope that we see the tornado in the trailer rip everything to shreds. Will different disasters be tailored to different maps? Hopefully, the gameplay trailer holds the answers.

Discarded: Alang, India

Discarded Battlefield 2042 Map

A boneyard of cargo ships waits for players under the Indian sun. We see tanks roaring through this map as the cargo ship’s side breaks off, falls to the ground, and crushes the soldiers below.

Orbital: Kourou, French Guiana

Orbital Battlefield 2042 Map

It’s here that we see a massive rocket ready to jettison off into outer space. The dust cloud left in its wake might be the “natural disaster” for this map. Devs have mentioned events that players can trigger themselves to shake up the game. Will the rocket be one of them?

Breakaway: Queen Maud Land, Antarctica

Breakaway Battlefield 2042 Map

Everybody loves a good artic level. Players can drop in from the snow-capped peaks above and wingsuit down to the ice below. Watch your step; this map is bound to be a slippery one.

Renewal: Eastern Desert, Egypt

Renewal Battlefield 2042 Map

Split into two distinct areas — desolate sand dunes and bright green grassland — Renewal is the only ground map we do not catch a glimpse of in the reveal trailer. However, it might be safe to assume that it’s the setting for our rival fighter pilots.

Hourglass: Doha, Qatar

Hourglass Battlefield 2042

Battle for control of this Cyberpunk-like cityscape while awaiting an imminent sandstorm to cloud your vision. It’s here that we see a skilled helicopter pilot put the moves on their tail only to be taken out by a brave fighter on a four-wheeler.

A.I. bots

With 128 players able to join a game, it will be rare that all 128 remain in the same lobby from start to finish. To combat this, Battlefield 2042 will use A.I. bots to fill up the empty slots. Therefore, games will always be 64 vs. 64. DICE has made it clear that players take priority over bots, and they’ll only ever use A.I. bots as backfill. As soon as a player disconnects, they’ll be replaced by a bot. On the other hand, as soon as a player joins a game in progress, they’ll take the place of a bot.

Bots will play like human players but will not be able to use Specialties or Traits. They’ll be smart enough to flank, throw grenades, and revive downed teammates. Chivalry 2 does a great job of filling games with bots. However, the Chivalry 2 bots are pretty stupid and make for really easy kills. Will Battlefield 2042 bots run out into the open and make for easy targets, or will they be as formidable as Veteran bots in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare?

DLC

Battlefield 2042 Tanks

Battlefield has always gifted players plenty of free post-release content to enjoy while playing the games they love. The same will be said for Battlefield 2042. DICE already has four seasons of content planned for the first year. These seasons will add new specialists and maps to the game. They’ll also be accompanied by a new battle pass to level up. We can assume the battle pass will cost money and, if it operates like any other game’s battle pass, should gift players enough in-game currency to buy subsequent ones. However, DICE has made it clear that all DLC will be free to all players.

Cross-progression and cross-commerce

Crossplay isn’t the only thing making Battlefield 2042 compatible with all ways of play. DICE is working on making cross-progression and cross-commerce a part of the game as well. That means owning Battlefield 2042 on multiple consoles does not mean having to level up multiple profiles. Any unlock progress or purchases made on PlayStation will carry over to Xbox or PC.

Pre-order

Battlefield 2042 Pre-Order

The pre-orders are rolling in, and you can reserve yours, too. However, there are a handful of different versions you can buy, so we’ve laid them out neatly for you here:

  • Battlefield 2042 standard version on PS4, Xbox One, and PC: $59.99
  • PS5 and Xbox Series X|S: $69.99
  • Gold Edition: PC — $89.99; console — $99.99
  • Ultimate Edition: PC — $109.99; console — $119.99

Pre-ordering Battlefield 2042 comes with some cool bonus features. For starters, anyone who pre-orders the standard edition of the game on any platform will receive:

  • Early access to Open Beta, which is set to launch in the months leading up to October 22. However, EA DICE has not confirmed a date yet. All players will have access to the open beta, but pre-orders will have early access.
  • An Epic melee takedown knife
  • A T-Rex Epic weapon charm called “Mr. Choppy”

Now, let’s dig into the Gold and Ultimate editions. Pre-ordering the Gold Edition of Battlefield 2042 will grant you:

  • Early access to Open Beta and game launch
  • Everything in the standard pre-order
  • Year 1 Pass: Four new specialists, four battle passes, and three Epic Skin Bundles
  • Cross-Gen Bundle

Buying the Ultimate edition will get you all of that, plus:

  • Midnight Ultimate Bundle
  • Official Digital Artbook
  • Exclusive Digital Soundtrack

If you’re a devoted Battlefield fan and someone who sees themselves playing Battlefield 2042 well into its first year, then the Gold Edition will be the best bang for your buck. Here’s why: Battle pass access usually costs around $10 to $20 worth of in-game currency. Not only will you be buying that first battle pass early, but you’ll also be able to save the in-game currency earned through the first year of Battlefield 2042. Ultimately, this hinges on Battlefield 2042‘s battle pass working like those from Warzone, Rocket League, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, and it’s a safe bet that it will.

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