Battlefield 2042 First Look Preview

Ned Jordan
In Short
Battlefield 2042 was revealed to the gaming press before it was revealed to the world, and we were able to find out a lot of details on the game ahead of its October release.

After a couple of franchise entries set in the past, the Battlefield series is headed back to the future with Battlefield 2042. In DICE’s vision of the world a couple of decades into the future, climate change has led to shortages of food and clean water igniting the greatest refugee crisis in history. Vast numbers of people leave their homes to survive and become known as Non-Patriated, or No-Pats, because no country will accept them as refugees. In the midst of this crisis the US and Russia ignite a worldwide war, and both draw upon the No-Pats to do the fighting for them.

So what does this all mean for the gameplay in Battlefield 2042? First of all, don’t expect too much more story than that. While there will be some cutscenes included in the game that will cover the major events of this future timeline, there is no single player campaign and no solo missions. You can play the game alone without queueing up for a multiplayer match, but you’ll just be playing an offline match against bots. While this won’t be a substitute for those of you who enjoy shooter campaigns, at least progression in bot battles counts the same as your progression in multiplayer matches so that you can get some practice in with the modes, maps, and specialists before taking on other players.

The future history in Battlefield 2042 also means that while there are two sides to fight for – US and Russia – the two won’t be as different as the Allied and Axis/Central Powers factions were in the previous two Battlefield games. Some vehicles may be unique to one side or the other, but overall the weapons and capabilities will be remarkably similar between the two factions.

Lastly, the near-future setting means you will fight with weapons and tech that is primarily built upon the weapon systems of today. A lot of it will look familiar, but more deadly, although there is room in the game for futuristic systems such as what appeared to be a robotic dog drone shown during the press demo.

Warfare in the year 2042

Now let’s take a look at the game modes, well, at least at the limited information that’s been shared about the game modes so far. First up is All-out Warfare. This covers the Conquest and Breakthrough modes familiar to those who’ve played Battlefield games before. If you haven’t, they’re basically team-based modes in which either one team defends a series of frontlines or both teams fight for control of map objective points. There is one big difference this time out, though. On PC and next-gen consoles All-Out Warfare will support up to 128 players (PS4 and Xbox One gamers will be limited to 64). To accommodate a player count that high, the game’s maps are the largest that have ever appeared in a Battlefield game. The devs didn’t put an exact number on the size increase during the press demo, but judging by the size comparison infographic they showed the largest Battlefield 2042 map looks to be about three times as large as the biggest Battlefield V map.

Massive battle

Since the maps are so much larger, the objectives have been grouped into sectors and clusters. You need to capture the objectives within a cluster to capture the cluster, and in turn capture the clusters within a sector to capture it. This is designed to help keep the fighting focused and to reduce the time spent traveling to contested zones. The maps are designed so that different sectors of each will be geared towards different types of combat. For example, there be an open park area surrounded by skyscrapers or an open, flat agricultural zone that neighbors a broken desert landscape. Maps also feature dynamic events that can affect the game, including weather. One weather event will feature a tornado that can literally pluck players and vehicles off of the ground and carry them across the map. I must say that I’m certainly looking forward to doing some tornado surfing in a wingsuit.

Tornado surfing

The seven maps that will be launching for All-Out Warfare were revealed during the presentation, and they will feature a good variety of environments.

Borderline is set in Egypt and has a split personality. One half is rough desert and home to a solar collector array, and the other is reclaimed farmland, green and flat.


Breakaway is set in Antarctica and features a massif in the center of the map with a base perched at one end. The base looks like it will serve as both a strategic defense location as well as a jumping-off point to assault the reaches of the map in any direction.


Discarded is set in India and features massive cargo ships that have been left grounded and are being salvaged for scrap. The center of the map features the largest ship of them all, the Colossus, which holds a stealth sub within its hold.


Hourglass is set in Qatar and includes a towering urban center butted against a harsh desert that has swallowed a lost shipping convoy. Sandstorms are a constant threat to players on this map.


Kaleidoscope is set in South Korea and Manifest is set in Singapore and are primarily urban maps. You’ll be able to enter and fight within the buildings, as well as zipline between them.


Manifest also features an active port with large cranes that will move the shipping containers to new locations.


Finally, Orbital is set in French Guiana and includes a spaceport at its center. A rocket is set on one of the launch sites, and according to the devs it can launch during a game, but the launch won’t always be successful.


There wasn’t much information revealed on the other two modes that Battlefield 2042 will support at launch. The first is Hazard Zone, which is a squad-based mode that is “a modern take on the multiplayer experience that is distinctly DICE.” And, no, it’s not a Battle Royale mode. The final mode wasn’t even named, and all that was said about it is that it will be new to the franchise while also feeling like home to long-time players. This mode will be revealed at EA Play Live on July 22nd. And, no, it’s not a Battle Royale mode.

The player class system will also be getting an overhaul in Battlefield 2042. The game will feature Specialists, and while each will have their own unique Trait and Specialty (i.e. weapon or gadget), after that they are fully customizable. None of the Specialists will be barred from using any weapon, attachment, or equipment in the game, so you can customize them to your heart’s desire. That being said, the Specialty and Trait for each definitely lend themselves to a certain playstyle, so look at this system as a way to play with unique, customizable subclasses.

There will be ten Specialists available for play at launch, and the first four were revealed during the press event.

Maria Falck is the Support Specialist, making her a base for medic builds. Her Specialty is the S21 Syrette Pistol, a tool that allows her to deliver healing to allies from a distance. Her Combat Surgeon Trait allows her to revive fallen players to full health.

Maria Falck

Pyotr Guskovsky is the Engineer Specialist. His Specialty is the SG-36 Sentry Gun, an autonomous weapon than can target players and drones. His Trait is Sentry Operator, which allows turret weapons to acquire targets faster and increases their rate of fire whenever he is near them.

Pyotr Guskovsky

Webster Mackay is the Assault Specialist, your frontline, boots-on-the-ground warfighter. His Specialty is a Grappling Hook that will allow him to quickly cover ground, and his Trait is Nimble, which allows for faster movement while aiming down sights.

Webster Mackay

Lastly, we have Wikus Van Daele, the Recon Specialist, AKA the sniper class. His OV-P Recon Drone Specialty allows him to spot enemy players and his Movement Sensor Trait lets him know when someone is trying to get the drop on him.

Wikus Van Daele

Once you select your Specialist, you’ll also be able to select an additional Specialty and your weapon loadout without any restrictions. You’ll be able to select multiple attachments for your weapons, and then switch them on the fly to meet your current tactical situation using the game’s new Plus System.

Battlefield 2042 will also feature a full range of vehicles, but in Battlefiled 2042 you don’t have to go to the vehicles, the vehicles come to you. Players will carry a tablet that allows them to call in a vehicle via airdrop. The devs didn’t quite say what vehicles can be called in by tablet, but they did indicate that the ability would be limited to “land vehicles.” There were also a few interesting tidbits to pick up on if you were listening closely. The first is that creative players can use the airdropped vehicle as a weapon by, say, calling in an APC on top of a sniper’s position. The second is that as the vehicles are being airdropped, they are vulnerable to enemy fire. No word on spawn limits or other restrictions on the on-demand vehicle system yet, though. However, it was revealed that vehicles will include specialized seat roles so that 1) vehicles become more capable the greater number of players that they carry, and 2) you don’t have to worry about a vehicle containing a driver, a gunner, and four other idle, bored players. Details were sparse at this point, but it was mentioned that some seats would have spotter, anti-air, and specialty weapon seats.


The developers then discussed their plans to offer Seasons with four planned for the first year after release. There will be a Battle Pass available with each season that will give access to a premium tier unlock track in addition to the base one. It wasn’t entirely clear what would be offered along the tracks, although there were indications that cosmetic items would be plentiful. Each Season will also introduce a new Specialist, maps, and additional new gameplay content.

That’s everything about the gameplay that was revealed to the gaming press during DICE’s preview event, but before closing down the festivities they offered a roadmap of what’s next as we march towards the October launch date. There will be a technical playtest in early July, but it’s a private invite-only event limited to players identified as “Battlefield veterans.” Maybe play a lot of Battlefield this month if you’re interested. Next up is EA Play Live on July 22nd, which is when we will learn more about Battlefield 2042’s other modes. This will be followed by a Hazard Zone beta (no word on how to qualify for this one, yet) and a pre-launch open beta, with early access available to gamers who pre-order the game.

That’s all the information we have for Battlefield 2042 for now, see you in July when more will be revealed!

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Transmitted: 3/30/2023 8:29:31 PM