State of the Union: Battlefield 2042

Spoiler: it’s not pretty.

Ahhhhh EA. You managed to do it again.

In case you haven’t been aware or don’t care (rhyming accidentally), Battlefield 2042 released November 19th, or November 12th if you paid extra (more on that later), and it’s getting ripped to shreds.

I’ve done these types of posts before, and today’s post is going to follow the same pattern. For the newcomers, “State of the Union” is where I cover the past, present and future of a game to see where it all went wrong and what can be done moving forward.

Today’s subject: Battlefield 2042.

Preface: If you are enjoying this game, continue to do so. This is not me targeting the audience this title was intended for or for the people who enjoy this.

End preface.

*insert heavy Battlefield trailer music*

The Lead-Up

Not going to lie, I don’t really remember much of the cycle leading up to 2042’s release. Here’s my best recap!

April 2020: Dice/EA announced the end of their support for Battlefield V after what was pretty much a rough life cycle for the title. The game started showing significant promise after a ton of support, but Dice pulled the plug in June 2020 as they shifted towards their next Battlefield game.

November 2020-October 2021: News came out throughout the time leading up to the release, some of it good some of it bad.

Good news included: 128 player counts, dynamic weather cycles, return to modern day setting, Portal mode (which allows you to make fully customizable game modes from previous Battlefield games), the Plus system (customize your weapons real time) and more.

Bad news included: battle pass system, season system (think Call of Duty) no single-player campaign, specialists* (more on this later) and some reduced features on previous generation consoles (64 player counts and smaller maps), having to reiterate that there would be no battle royale (keep this in mind).

The full reveal trailer dropped a pretty decent amount of hype. Go look at the comments section, and fans were pretty hyped. That was until…

October 2021: The beta launches, and the flood gates opened. Fans were quick to point out the game’s performance on PC and next gen consoles with bugs, poor graphics and netcode. The Specialists system wasn’t good (minus the guy with the grapple hook that reminded Apex Legends fans of a pre-nerf Pathfinder) and didn’t reward teamwork, and the map they chose for the beta (Orbital with the rocket) was ripped apart. I played 2 matches and was bored out of mind. The biggest bomb was that the beta was supposedly an older build of the game, which is fine and all, but if the older build was that bad, what the hell were people going to get in the full game after a handful of delays.

I think the most shocking part of the pre-release was the pricing of the game. Console (at least the PS5 version) was $70 for the PS5/PS4 version. Above that was the $100/$120 bundle that gave you 7 days early access (November 12th instead of November 19th), varying cosmetics and battle pass access for a year. I held off, as tempting as it was to pre-order it, but needless to say people dove in and spent their money towards pre-orders.

November 12th came, and Battlefield 2042 hit the masses with those “only in Battlefield moments”.

Early Access and the Release

November 12th came, and I don’t think anybody was happy. The Battlefield 2042 Reddit was full of every bug, every glitch, every error, every detailed lack of enjoyment. If you can think of anything negative, it was probably on that page. Here’s a few of the noticeable issues (there’s a lot) that were mentioned:

  • No scoreboard
  • No voice chat
  • Lack of modes. The game launched with Conquest and Breakthrough, Hazard Zone (similar to Escape from Tarkov) and Portal (the throwback mode featuring custom modes with various assets from the older titles)
  • Hit registration was horrendous and bloom was introduced making every gun damn near usable unless it was that dang PP-29
  • 22 guns at launch which was the lowest for any Battlefield game at launch
  • Vehicles were stupid, most notably the Hovercraft
  • Glitching through the ground and not being able to get out of it the entire match
  • Disbanding lobbies a la Call of Duty
  • Horrible frame rate hence the nickname that floated around “Battlefield 20-42 FPS
  • Specialists were awkward and made the game’s backdrop feel silly
  • The user interface was atrocious
  • No destruction/horrible collision experience with vehicles
  • Audio is garbage

Those were some of the common complaints the subreddit had, but there was much more. Fans were pissed and rightfully so. In this day and age, games have a bad habit of releasing with day 1 patches or busted because they can just patch them up over time. No day 1 or day 8 patch was going to fix this game though.

The official launch date arrived, and Steam users let Battlefield 2042 have it.

This game launched in such a terrible state, I couldn’t even list all everything that people were unhappy about.

Post Release/The Future

The Steam bombs that were being dropped on it gave the title the honor of being number eight in Steam’s top 100 worst reviewed games of all time. Looking through that list, I don’t think I recognized any of the games that Battlefield shared this honor with.

Not surprisingly, soon after launch (November 24th aka the game was only out for 5-12 days) DICE published a lengthy blog post titled “BATTLEFIELD BRIEFING – LAUNCH UPDATE & THE ROAD AHEAD” going into discussion about expected fixes and issues that were going to be addressed in future updates. One of the more interesting points was early in the post as DICE said:

We also want to give you the assurance that we’re carefully evaluating your desire to see legacy features return. End-of-match Scoreboard, Server Browser, and features like Voice Chat are big topics for us to cover all at once, and we have plenty we want to say around them.

Battlefield Briefing, November 24th, 2021

Okay what the hell is that about? “Legacy features”?

Disconnect aside, 2042’s suffering hasn’t ended. December 2nd brought Update #3 that was intended to fix a bunch of issues. However, while fixing some issues, it destroyed mouse aiming on PC with many players reporting loss of horizontal mouse input.

But wait there’s more.

Dwindling player count and company shakeup aside (although Vince Zampella taking over leaves me no hope for a new Titanfall game), there’s more to this game and it’s not good. If you look past the issues, this game seems rotten to the core, and even feels like it was destined to be doomed from the start.

Specialists with hero abilities, shockingly low amount of guns, very large maps meant for 128 players with four man squads, no scoreboard…

Was this meant to be a battle royale?

One of my favorite conspiracy theories floating around is how this game feels like it was meant to be a battle royale meant to compete with the likes of Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone or to capitalize on the formula Apex Legends created in the heavy BR scene. If that’s the case, then what a sad predicament to put the Battlefield franchise in.

As for the game’s future, it’s pretty much in the air right now. The above shake ups are interesting to say the least, and as more time passes, we will get more information about how the game struggled during development. Expect more patches and quality of life changes, but at the end of the day, the core is just not good, and that cannot be changed at this point. If this game has a future, it’s going to take a long time to get there, but who even knows if there will be enough players that stick around for the long haul. Maybe the bots will be there.

In my personal opinion, I’m shocked but also not shocked. I started playing Battlefield when the PS3 launched and fell in love with Battlefield: Bad Company. I spent years convincing my friends that Battlefield was a good game, and I thought it had a core good enough to challenge Call of Duty for king of shooters. I realized how wrong I was when Battlefield 1 was revealed with a World War 1 setting while Call of Duty went fully into space with Advanced Warfare (and one of the most down voted trailers of all time). While Battlefield 1 was great, if they did the same thing but modern, we’d be in a different timeline where Battlefield reigns supreme and EA realizes the potential the series has. 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a modern day setting and Battlefield V was World War 2, Call of Duty: Vanguard is a World War 2 setting and Battlefield 2042 is… bad.

It hurts looking at the multiple wasted opportunities especially because Call of Duty has lessened in quality over the years, and Battlefield is legit following in suite. It’s almost like “Hey copy my homework, but make it look different so we don’t get in trouble” but you copied the wrong homework and it’s all wrong. Also, they’re not even focusing on the issue with an article talking about how EA wants to build a connected Battlefield universe which suspiciously sounds like the Call of Duty setup with Warzone. Or how the next title is rumored to be a refinement on the Specialists system and be akin to a hero shooter. Like what are you doing? It almost feels like the Marvel Cinematic Universe versus DC Cinematic Universe “rivalry” where DC completely choked by rushing their universe instead of taking the time to develop a coherent cinematic series.

Concept art from the development cycle of 2042. Check out more here.

Quite unfortunate to see, but Battlefield 2042 is the latest of games to launch completely unready for the players. If the last two years of gaming has taught you anything, think with your wallets folks.

Quick point that was briefly floating around is the distrust content creators and media outlets have created. Leading up to release, EA partnered with loads of streamers/creators to showcase and hype up the game. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them stayed quiet as the game was clearly not ready. While this isn’t anything new, it’s disappointing to see how they act like the product was good. Not to mention, the media outlets are just blind pushing out high ratings when the game is nowhere near deserving of said ratings (IGN gave 2042 a 7/10 while they gave Battlefield V a 7.5/10, and 2042 had an awful launch).

Okay final point (I’ve gone back and edited this a thousand times over adding bits and pieces).

This briefly came up with the release of Modern Warfare and the great Skill Based Matchmaking debate. This game has a specific audience in mind, and you can tell with all of the questionable changes to the beloved formula. Battlefield seems to be following the path of chasing the “casual” player while burning the fans who helped build up this franchise. EA/Dice is playing with fire though; EA’s reputation has taken a severe hit over the past few years, minus the saving grace of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Apex Legends (Conveniently both from Respawn Entertainment). When the fans complain about an EA product, I’m more intent to take them seriously than the CoD community. Crazy thought; make a damn good game and watch the money pile up.

If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend this video by well known leaker, Tom Henderson, describing the timeline of Battlefield 2042 development hell and the future.

This post is pretty lengthy, and I do apologize.

We’ll see you in 2042, when the game might be ready.

Also games as a service is a load of shit.


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