On September 10, 2002, publishers Electronic Arts and a relatively unknown developer called DICE released a multiplayer shooter called Battlefield 1942. In the 20 years since everyone involved has been in for one hell of a ride.
The game, which not only featured infantry but also allowed players to control vehicles, was notable for its scale and variety. I avoid almost every other online shooter — I talk Call of Duty and Counterattackwhich is for infantry only—like the plague, but they always played Battlefield because I like the way it lets me go in as a sniper, get killed, and then figure out, you know what, I’ll drive a tank after that, and maybe pilot a fighter after that.
In the 20 years since then, the series has changed a lot. Player numbers have increased—2042 has maps that support 128 at a time, which has issues but is also amazing—while the setting has jumped to Vietnam, the First World War, the distant future and back again. Games have been played where you play as a cop instead of a soldierand spin-off games that had a long history. And that’s just it Battlefield series; DICE also released two Star Wars games that are Battlefield in all but name.
And yet it also hasn’t changed at all. From Battlefield 1942 to Battlefield 2042the basic premise of each game has largely remained the same. Two teams battle it out on a large map, trying to grab 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 these vehicles are slow and carry passengers, while others are fast and don’t.
Each game had its issues, some technical and some design related, and each game pissed off some veterans fans by attracting new players. As I pointed out in mine 2042 reviewone Battlefield The game suffering from a bad launch and then recovering through patches and updates is almost a meme at this point, something we’re reliving in real time as 2042 he slowly recovers from his own disastrous release.
On such an occasion, it’s only natural to look back on the series and remember the good times – something DICE marked this week with…free goodies for 2042 players — but of 2042 The woes and the direction in which the series is headed has also caused concern among players when it comes to The battlefield future.
Battlefield Games were for the longest time thought of as standalone video games that you bought, played for a few years, and then moved on from when the next one came out. It is clear now though, at this time of the season it passes and live service games— that DICE (or maybe just their publisher at EA) sees a slightly different path Battlefield, where games are kept alive for years while fans are encouraged to continually spend on things like expansions and cosmetic content. An impulse which, when considered as part of similar the industry is moving into other toys and genreshas become both exhausting and a bone of contention for many players.
It’s not that the series itself is threatened. Indeed, it was only last week that EA announced that a brand new studio is working on a brand new one Battlefield “experience”while also tweeting that he is “all in for the future of Battlefield!”. But it’s still a worrying trend, and one that rightly has people worried about what’s next Battlefield the game may look like.
I don’t know if anyone would have understood back in 2002 that this streak would still be going on in 2022. And I’m sure no one could see the twists and turns it has taken in the decades since. So any attempt to predict the future for Battlefield it would probably be equally futile.
Maybe the season will pass and the cosmetic microtransactions will drive the series into the dirt. Maybe DICE will learn from the things people hated 2042—not the bugs or things that could be fixed, but basically economy driven decisions such as the introduction of Sexperts—and make amends with the next game. Who knows! We can only wait and see, just as we have done for the past 20 years.
In the meantime, I’ll spend some time today playing 2021 Battlefield 2042 so i can enjoy a remake of a map (Caspian Border) since 2011 Battlefield 3which makes for the most fitting 20th anniversary celebration I can think of.