8 unanswered questions from the Battlefield 2042 reveal

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Battlefield 2042 has been revealed, looking like a rip-roaring return to a modern/near-future setting for the franchise as DICE dramatically expand their multiplayer game to include 128-player battles, huge weather effects, new ‘specialists’ that are class-based characters.

We’ve got a full breakdown of all the game’s new maps, features, modes and more, but for this article, we’re reading between the lines. Following the presentation, DICE had a Q&A session during which there were a number of topics they were unable to discuss. Of course, any kind of non-answer to a question will have many of us wondering if there’s even more changes to Battlefield that DICE are just pushing back to another time.

So what is it that DICE aren’t yet talking about yet with Battlefield 2042?

Will there be a Rush mode?

So far, DICE has detailed the 128-player modes of Conquest and Breakthrough that are set in their All-Out Warfare experience. Alongside that is a tease for Hazard Zone, a mode that is completely 100% not a battle royale, and another mode from DICE LA that will be revealed at EA Play Live in July and is aimed at long-term players.

While Breakthrough is an evolution of Rush mode, there are still diehard fans of the latter. When asked if it would be in the game, DICE’s Daniel Berlin brushed the question away instead of stating that the mode would not be in Battlefield 2042. Cross your fingers, Rush fans…

Will there be cross-play, cross-progression and cross-gen play?

Cross-play is all the rage these days, letting players team up across multiple platforms and play together. It helps keep servers populated, keeps matchmaking times down, and can extend a game’s viability multiple years down the line. Then there’s cross-progression, letting players take their levelled up profile from one platform to another.

For now, DICE are not yet prepared to talk about either of these possibilities… though there was not an outright denial.

One added wrinkle to discuss here is that this is a cross-gen game. Similar to Battlefield 4, the last generation consoles are limited in scope, scaling things back to 64-player maximum and with smaller maps available. The possibility of cross-gen play was not discussed during the Q&A.

Is there going to be a Free 2 Play mode?

Here’s a bit of a fishing expedition, especially as Battlefield 2042 is a fully paid game, but it’s one that is certainly within the realms of possibility. When Call of Duty has the free to play Warzone and Halo is looking to make its multiplayer component free to play, EA could be looking to bring the game to as many people as possible, especially with Battlefield 2042 having a battle pass. What if there’s an additional mode alongside the paid game that can be free? What if a Battlefield battle royale is developed and released separately, instead of being thrown into the package months after the fact as it was for Battlefield V?

Well, there’s “nothing to share today” about a free 2 play Battlefield mode, though studio General Manager Oskar Gabrielson did acknowledge that there have been free Battlefield games in the past, like Battlefield Heroes.

Will there be more weather events?

Battlefield games have gone all in on spectacular level-changing events since Battlefield 4, and Battlefield 2042 will be no different. So far, DICE has revealed the tornado, a violent weather event that rips through a level, picking up debris, vehicles, people, and whisking them away – great if you’ve got a wingsuit and fancy relocating.

The tornado seems to be able to spawn on any of the maps shown, and even in combination with a major map-specific weather event, the huge sandstorm that can roll into the Hourglass map set in Doha, Qatar. It blocks out the sun, colouring the world reddish-brown, but within that, the tornado can still rip through the neon-lit city and elsewhere.

Will there be other weather events? Almost certainly, but DICE are keeping mum about what these are for the time being.

Will there be an infantry-only map?

Here’s an even bigger fishing trip. Will there be an all infantry indoors only map like Operation Metro and Operation Locker? From the seven maps that we saw revealed for Conquest and Breakthrough, there is not, but these meat-grinder maps were always a stretch at 64 players, let alone 128…

However, that doesn’t mean it’s a design challenge that DICE can’t overcome. DICE has only revealed the largest scale maps and game modes, but within these maps are different areas, clusters of objectives that cater to different styles of gameplay. For smaller game modes, it could well be that one of these areas fits with the Operation Metro ethos, and it’s certainly something they could explore through the game’s life as a live service.

Who are the other unannounced Specialists

For the game reveal, DICE has only discussed four of the new Specialists, new characters that conform to the classic class archetypes that we know of old. So far there’s been one of each Assault, Support, Engineer and Recon, each with a specific primary gadget that is specific to that Specialist.

That means there’s six more specialists to go, but we already know one of the primary gadgets or traits that one of these characters has: a wingsuit. As in previous games, all players have access to a parachute, but only one Specialist will have the wingsuit. Expect DICE to make a big deal out of them and the others in the build up to release.

Are Squads getting a shakeup?

Squads have been an integral part of Battlefield ever since Battlefield 2, letting players group up together and better coordinate their efforts to capture points, but they’ve also regularly changed over time. Squad sizes have fluctuated between four, five and six-players – it’s currently four in Battlefield V – and there’s been varying emphasis on having a squad leader that may or may not have extra abilities.

Given that 128-player battles will be more chaotic than ever, you have to assume that there will be changes coming for Squads in Battlefield 2042. Squads could get bigger to support the complimentary Specialists, DICE could bring back the Commander Mode from previous games, and so on. For now, DICE aren’t saying, but we do know one big change: any player can summon a vehicle, not just a Squad Leader.

What is Hazard Zone?

Alongside the two game modes found in All-Out Warfare, DICE has also teased Hazard Zone, a new game experience that is categorically not a battle royale. It’s described as “an all-new, high-stakes, squad-based game-type for the Battlefield franchise that is a modern take on the multiplayer experience”. That doesn’t really give us much to go on, but it could be a kind of battle royale adjacent mode that pits multiple squads against one another, while the objective is something other than simply being the last players standing.

There’s a lot of room to play around in this kind of gameplay idea, and Hazard Zone’s reveal is sure to be a major beat in EA’s marketing plan, alongside the unnamed DICE LA game experience that will be revealed at EA Play Live on 22nd July.

Obviously, while we’re bursting with questions and reading between the lines over what hasn’t been talked about, we don’t begrudge DICE for wanting to keep a few things back to talk about later. This is just the first step into the light for Battlefield 2042, and DICE has chosen to focus on the game at its biggest and most brash to start their marketing campaign. Battlefield 2042 will be out on 22nd October 2021 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One and PC. 

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