On September 10, 2002, publishers Electronic Arts and a relatively unknown development called DICE released a multiplayer shooter called Battlefield 1942. In the 20 years since everyone involved has done quite a ride.
The game, which not only featured infantry but also allowed players to control vehicles, stood out for its scale and variety. I pretty much avoid all other online shooters – I’m talking Call of Duty and Counter-Strikewhich are reserved for the infantry—like the plague, but I always played Battlefield because i like how it lets me appear as a sniper, get killed and then figure out, you know what, i’ll then drive a tank, and maybe drive a fighter after that .
In the 20 years since, the series has changed a lot. The number of players has increased—2042 has cards that support 128 at a time, which is problematic but also amazing, while the frame jumped in Vietnam, World War I, the distant future and vice versa. there were games where you play as a cop instead of a soldierand spin-off games that were story-heavy. And that’s only the Battlefield series; DICE also published at this time two star wars games that are Battlefield in everything but the name.
And yet, that hasn’t really changed at all either. Of Battlefield 1942 at Battlefield 2042the basic principle of each game has remained largely the same. Two teams compete 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.
Every game had its issues, some technical and some design-related, and every game pissed off some veterans. fans while attracting new players. As I pointed out in my 2042 exama Battlefield the game suffering from a poor launch and then recovering via patches and updates is almost a meme at this point, something we’re experiencing in real time again as 2042 slowly recovering from his own disastrous release.
On an occasion like this, it’s only natural to look back on the show and remember the good times – something DICE marked this week with… free gifts for 2042 players, but 2042 misfortunes and the direction the series is heading has also been a source of concern for gamers when it comes to Battlefield coming.
Battlefield games were for a very long time considered standalone video games, which you bought, played for a few years, and then moved on when the next one came out. It’s clear now, at this time when the season passes and live service games– that DICE (or maybe just their publisher overlords at EA) see a slightly different path for Battlefield, a game where games are kept alive for years while fans are encouraged to constantly spend on things like expansions and cosmetic content. A thrust which, when considered as part of similar the industry is moving to other games and genreshas become both exhausting and a bone of contention for lots of players.
It’s not like the show itself is under threat; indeed it was only last week that EA announced that a whole new studio is working on a whole new Battlefield “live”while tweeting that they are “all about the future of Battlefield!”. But it’s still a troubling trend, and one that has people rightly worried about the next Battlefield game might look like.
I don’t know if anyone would have thought in 2002 that this series would continue in 2022. And I’m sure no one could have seen the twists it took in the decades that followed. Thus, any attempt to predict the future of Battlefield would probably be just as futile.
Perhaps season passes and cosmetic microtransactions will lead 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 the fundamentals focused on the economy decisions like the introduction of Sspecialists and make amends with the next game. Who knows! We can only wait and see, just as we have for the past 20 years.
In the meantime, I’m going to spend some time today playing 2021 Battlefield 2042 so that I can enjoy a remake of a map (Caspian border) from 2011 Battlefield 3which is about the most fitting 20th anniversary celebration I can think of.