Planes, guns, explosions, scope: Welcome to Battlefield 2042. (EA has made very clear that these are “cinematic” pictures, not captures from real-time gameplay.)
As part of this week’s E3-like slew of game news and reveals, EA has taken the wraps off one of its most unsurprising games of the year: Battlefield 2042. But don’t get too excited. The word “reveal” should be taken with a grain of salt, as we really don’t know a ton about how the game will work—and expect that EA will play fans like fiddles via a slow news trickle until the game’s launch on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation on October 22.
For now, the game’s developers at DICE have confirmed that this is indeed a recognizable Battlefield game, complete with massive team combat, the return of popular objective-based modes, and aspirations to deliver the series’ biggest battle arenas yet. I’ve been at Ars long enough to hear that very promise three times, and to its credit, DICE’s staff tends to deliver on increased battling scope with every major installment.
The biggest change this time is finally—fiiiiinally—cranking the maximum player count up to 128 combatants on a single, super-sized map in the game’s PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5 versions. The series has famously maxed out at 64 players since its very first entry, and over the years, DICE reps have explained away the limitation by saying more players doesn’t always mean more fun. But those statements largely came before a certain 100-player genre changed everything, and last week, DICE showed high-level pans of a few upcoming maps to prove out its design philosophy: discrete zones that teams can divide-and-conquer throughout, instead of lumping that many players into hallways of death.