Forget how silly the name is, Battlefield V is coming later this year and it’s shaping up to be one of the biggest steps forward that the series has made in a long time, redefining squad play, ramping up the physics based destruction, adding elements of construction and embracing a seasonal approach to post-launch content. Oh, and as has long been rumoured, it’s returning to World War II.
Ahead of the announcement stream – the gameplay reveal will have to wait until EA Play on 9th June – we got to sit down with a long and in-depth behind the scenes look, and have broken all of this information down for you below.
What’s the release date?
The game’s official release date is 19th October, but as EA are want to do, you can get in on the action early.
Buy the Deluxe Edition and you’ll be able to play from 16th October with early access, while the EA Access and Origin Access subscriptions on Xbox One and PC will let you play several hours of the game from 11th October.
An open beta has been confirmed, but dates have yet to be announced.
Here’s the trailer
The setting and single player
The game takes us back to World War II, where the series originally started in Battlefield 1942. However, DICE are keen to focus on battles and fronts that haven’t featured in previous war games and films.
The War Stories form of single player will return, with shorter stories and narrative styles jumping between different characters – they’ve put out a laughably short teaser trailer of someone falling into water – while some of the locations that they name dropped were a devastated Rotterdam, the arctic circle in Norway for the Battle of Narvik, fighting through the French countryside and the North African desert.
OK, maybe most of the locales will be new…
Changes to the core gameplay
There’s a lot of changes coming to Battlefield V compared even to Battlefield 1. There’s a whole new animation system that adapts depending on the terrain, so there’s bandy-legged running through water and impactful bumping into cover, and grass and foliage will move in reaction to players. Going prone, you can lie on your back and turn on your spot in a more natural fashion, as well as diving and aiming to the side.
This ties in with more accurate physics throughout the game. Weapon recoil is more predictable, bullet penetration returns (and LMGs have much deeper penetration than other guns), and building destruction now depends on the forces at play, so internal explosions send debris outward.
Destroyed buildings won’t necessarily stay destroyed, though. Where all players in BF1 had gas masks, here they have a toolbox and can construct defences and emplacements in the Fortifications system. That could be sandbags, tank traps, replacement walls (in a clearly new fabricated style), and gun emplacements. On an objective, you can construct resupply and health stations, really creating a defensive stronghold around it.
Spotting and marking players has been reworked so that you can no longer spam the spot button and then shoot at targets, though DICE haven’t explained how the new system will work.
You’ll spawn with fewer resources to start with, so just a few clips of ammo, maybe one grenade, and your survivability will be low without scavenging from enemies or resupply.
You will play as a squad (and you will like it)
A renewed focus on squad gameplay wants to keep all players together as much as possible and you will default to a squad – lone wolf players can still opt out. To cement that squad play, all players will be able to revive squadmates, but the Medic will be much more efficient at doing so and give you max health – you’ll also be able to drag friendly players back to safety before reviving them, which is now a much more involved animation. Similarly, you won’t spawn with as much ammo or as many grenades either, but your support buddy can top you up.
When you die you’re shown the kill card of the player that got you, before returning to your body and waiting for a revive. If you time out, you will default to an over the shoulder view of your team mates and can spawn on them when they’re safe.
Sticking together and executing commands, playing the objective, reviving each other, and so on, all adds up. These unlocks squad reinforcement rewards that could be a support barrage, a supply drop, squad specific vehicles and even a V1 rocket.
New multiplayer modes
Good old Conquest, Team Deathmatch and Domination will return – no mention of Rush, sadly – but Operations are now taking a more varied approach to their hour-long battles, exploring a new narrative style to the unfolding battles.
Grand Operations, as DICE now call them, are more than just the capture and defend Onslaught mode. Split across up to four days, they’ll mix together different game modes on different maps, each battle having a knock on effect on the next. This directly ties into the new Tides of War seasons of content and events.
- Day One – Airborne assault of Rotterdam to try and sabotage and destroy artillery ahead of the main artillery. This is a new “Airborne” mode where attackers spawn in planes and parachute when they want.
- Day Two – Main invasion force attacking the same map in Breakthrough game mode from BF1, with spawn tickets for the attackers dependent on their success on day one.
- Day Three – Battle moves to destroyed part of Rotterdam, switching to Conquest Assault of Frontlines mode from BF1. If a decisive victory is achieved, the Operation ends here.
- Day Four – If day three was close, Final Stand mode is a team-based sudden death mode. Players spawn with one magazine and no respawns – medics and squadmates can revive – fighting until the last man is standing.
Co-op returns in Combined Arms
Last seen in Battlefield 3, co-op is back in Battlefield V with Combined Arms. It puts four players into the situation of being paratroopers behind enemy lines with dynamically generated objectives to try and complete. You’ll have few resources to start with, so will need to weigh up a stealthy approach with all out action, and can choose to extract early.
This isn’t a clan system, but rather your in-game progression which is shared across single player, co-op and multiplayer. Within this, you have more control over creating and modifying the soldier classes, weapons and vehicles available to you in battle.
You have separate customisable soldiers (classes) and can pick a particular archetype (loadout) that acts as a specialisation of that class. So an Assault soldier can use the Grenadier archetype as a basis, before then tweaking which weapons, gadgets, perks and abilities they have.
Weaponry is unlocked directly by you using an in-game currency, and then the various attachments and customisation options are earnt through play with that weapon – some cosmetics can come through the Tides of War events, however.
Vehicles can also be customised and levelled up, unlocking options for heavy armour that trade speed and mobility for armour. This gives a visual customisation as well as a change to gameplay.
While DICE aren’t clear on how many options you can have active in your Company, they suggest that you could have a second of the same type of gun or vehicle and, using shared progression to your first, create a distinct and separate loadout.
Tides of War and post-release content
Post-release, Battlefield V will adopt a the live game model and seasons of content, which they’re calling Chapters. There’s a little reading between the lines on how they intend to run this, but there will be a mixture of player milestones leading toward special skins and cosmetics and DICE remixing the game’s content in different ways.
Assignments will be both daily, which DICE intend to be easy enough that everyone can achieve them, as longer term Special Assignments and chains of assignments to follow. It seems you’ll have to actively queue up assignments to earn progress toward them, but will have multiple ways to complete them, either through skill or time and effort.
Each Chapter is set to be multiple months in length, but within that a calendar of limited time events will take place. The centre piece will be the Grand Operations which DICE will use to either explore history or propose ‘What if?’ scenarios. That could see paratroopers be used in theatres of war where they weren’t, or go the other way and restrict weapons, classes and vehicles to only include those that were available for a particular historical battle.
The first Chapter starts in November, shortly after the game launches, and will continue through to early 2019, themed after the fall of Europe.
Is there a Premium Pass?
There is no more premium pass. Post-release support will come via Tides of War and the live game updates.
So is there a Battle Royale mode?
Nope, but between being able to parachute from a plane and being able to construct fortifications, it still wouldn’t take much to turn this into one.
Is the V a number?
Yup, it’s a roman numeral, not a symbolic V for victory or ventriloquist, or anything like that.
There’s a female soldier on the game cover, and she has a claw-like prosthetic hand. She has a cockney accent.