I want to you to answer this question honestly: “Have you ever witnessed the end of something you love?” It could be anything from a TV show, to a game, from a restaurant you loved as a kid to a store you went to all the time after school. While this is the way things have been since we can remember, its never easy to see something we love leave our life, especially when it is through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. There are times where it can be for the better (be it an upgrade, a shift in focus, or even just improving upon the thing you love). Other times however the thing you love simply begins to degrade and eventually becomes a shell of its former self where you don’t even recognize it. This brings me to the topic of this video and something that I loved for years growing up. The Battlefield Series. Once one of the most popular fps games in the business, battlefield started off as a small game that grew so much but has now become a shell of its former self. From founders leaving, ridiculous requests from higher ups and simply following trends instead of starting them, the battlefield series is no longer the series which made it special. So today we are going to talk about the downfall of the Battlefield series.
History of the Battlefield franchise
Battlefield is a first person shooter series started back in the early 2000s with developer DICE. DICE had acquired refraction games who had started work on a little game called battlefield 1942. Maybe you heard of it? Especially if you were gaming back in the early 2000s. In fact, Patrick Soderlund (who you might remember from bf3 all the way till bf5 who took on major leadership rolls) was the founder of refraction games While they made many small games back in the day, the series they soon became known for was the battlefield series. Battlefield was a military fps that combined vehicle and infantry gameplay with squads of players. Each squad had between 4-6 players (depending on the game).
Over the course of the first 10 years of the 2000s (so 2000 to 2009), dice released quite a few Battlefield games including 1942, Battlefield 2, Battlefield Vietnam, and Battlefield 2142 (not to be confused with 2042). If you talk with most of the fandom from back in those days, Battlefield was loved by all. While everyone had a favorite, there was no denying how much passion and love DICE put into those games. The concept of large battles showing off the impressive 64 player battles, the class system that until recently has been a staple of the franchise, vehicle vs infantry and maps that flowed pretty well (for the most part). Heck some games included single player missions/ stories (not as cinematic as todays games but for the time it was impressive). One thing to keep in mind for these games up to this time, they had only been released on PC. This left some wondering if the giant battles would ever grace the consoles.
In 2006 a “little” known company called electronic arts purchased DICE. Then shortly after, players saw what looked like a spin off game (not the first time for DICE) called battlefield bad company that released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2008. It had a pretty decent focus on its single player campaign but still included its signature pvp though at a lower player count due to the limitations of the consoles and the switch to the frost bite engine. There was no pc port either which pc players did not seem to mind since they were accustomed to 64 players. It also introduced a feature that players to this day consider a staple, destruction (technically known as destruction 1.0). Wanted to take down the wall your opponent was hiding in? Go right ahead. Take that rocket and show that building you mean business. Then things changed that some even called the golden age of battlefield with the game that kicked it off, Battlefield Bad Company 2.
Golden Age of Battlefield
Released in 2010, Bad Company 2 was a continuation of the bad company campaign along with the staple multiplayer and it was also released on pc. This game brought with it improved gun play (burst fire was the name of the game), a bigger focus on rush, a bigger story, the carol gufstoff and destruction 2.0 Bad company 2 was a huge success. Players from all over loved it. While not perfect today, like lack of strafing and other modern concepts, there is a reason many still look at it in a positive light. Heck it can still be a blast to go back and play even to this day... Is what I would like to say but EA has unfortunately shut down the servers as of 2023. If you are on a PC there are some ways to keep playing but for console, it’s the end of an era. Which makes it even stranger when we see headlines like this back in 2017 where dice is “confused as to why players like bad company 2”?
While only a year after bad company 2, it would be over 6 years for those looking for a sequel to the fan favorite Battlefield 2. Battlefield 3 felt like the big next gen title of the time. Top of the line graphics, the return of jets to the battlefield, modern movement and gun play, and even new features like suppression and more. Based on the sales numbers, the game sold pretty well I guess (ha sarcasm!). While things like dedicated maps for modes like rush took a back seat this time around, destruction being toned down and suppression killing your aim in the games early life, no one could deny bf3 had succeeded. And while it did not do something like beat call of duty in sales, it was still pulling some major numbers. Heck, I remember playing a ton on ps3 back in college with friends. Must have put in over 700 hours during my junior year alone. Things like tanking, flying a heli, gun play on maps like Seine crossing and Damavand peak. Anyone remember your first peak jump?
Trying to ride that success while keeping up with a certain fps franchise, dice soon released bf4 in late 2013 after the final dlc map pack finished for bf3. I know I did not touch on the dlc as map packs back then were kind of the norm. One thing bf3 introduced was premium. A paid service that gave you priority in servers, early access to map packs and more. It is also believed that this is where the crack in dice started.
As mentioned above, Battlefield 4 was released soon after 3. Dubbed Battlefield 3.5 by many in the beginning, bf4 had a terrible launch. Crazy bugs, minor graphical upgrades, broken systems, terrible servers, crashes and more. While the base game did have some nice updates like boat combat and more destruction on some maps, it was a far cry from complete. Enter DICE LA who entered to help dice right the ship that was bf4. They included things like the community test environment which gave birth to bf4 cte. After a long time, bf4 finally reached its peak and today is considered an amazing game by many in the community. Heck the CTE allowed for the community map project where the community helped dice design a map released to everyone for free (this was after the final dlc and was not required by their promises of the base game). Though I won’t discuss it much, during this time the spin off cops and robbers game made by visceral games called battlefield hardline released. While considered a giant dlc by many, it did add some features we wish were in the franchise still like taking ammo off your teammates who happen to be support.
Beginning of the End
It was at this point in 2016 when we the breaking point of the series with battlefield 1. Now don’t get me wrong, bf1 not only sold amazing but the graphics, atmosphere, and feel of WW1 was amazing. Many loved this game, including myself for a while. However, after a while, the lack of weapons and other items in the game started to show the game’s downsides.
Then the big one. Battlefield 5. Where to even start with this game. The debut trailer, the confusing messages from developers and top brass “well if you don’t like don’t buy it” anyone? The lack of maps, the focus on battles that no one knows about, the lack of maps, features missing, and so many more. If you were gaming during that time, then you probably saw something about Battlefield 5. Even with the alpha (closed) and open beta, the community just was not interested in the game. The lack of maps and modes soon after release also did not help. The sad thing is, the final dlc taking place during the pacific war was actually a great dlc. However, it was too little too late. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the battle royale. While it had some interesting sections, it was behind a pay wall (which killed it) and the battle royal scene was dwindling if you were not Fortnite or call of duty.
Finally, we get to the latest game, Battlefield 2042, and the present day. Ya... I still have bad memories of this game. From the terrible mis leading trailer and news coming out of EA (this is why you don’t trust EA and other big company talking points) to lots of veteran developers leaving the company (some of this happened during bf5), from the lack luster closed alpha and the beta where EVERYONE pleaded with DICE to delay this game for polish. And you know what they did to their credit…. For 1 month (sigh) Then the game was released and oh boy what a shit show. It was like battlefield 4 all over again except worse. Plus, there were a ton of missing features. I could list off every single one, but we would be here forever. And before any defenders go into the comments, yes these do matter.
DICE has a terrible track record of making a new game and leaving out a bunch of features from the previous game that were amazing. Then most likely due to schedules and working on the frost bite engine they have to leave these features out. One of the biggest factors in 2042’s downfall is that it was going to be a battle royale. The base maps in the game clearly show that. Also 128 players was a huge mistake. Old dice tested this years ago as shown on screen and concluded it was not fun and can’t be balanced. 10 plus years ago they tried this and yet now… Especially with the tornadoes and events in the map. I will leave a huge deep dive into what happened courteous of Tom Henderson.
He goes into the people being hired, people leaving, where the “biggest team” and “extra time” terms came from they used in their marketing to hype people up. Spoilers, they lied. Straight up. After the initial release, fans turned against DICE. Demanding refunds, questioning why they made so many changes to the battlefield formula, why all the noted features were missing and just WTF happened. After that DICE had to go into death cone 1 mode and spend the next 6 plus months fixing basic things, servers, adding a lack luster score board and other features.
One thing I discovered after watching Tom’s video I mentioned was half of that development time was updating the engine during 2020 and with a ton of new developers who did not know how to work on the engine since some many veterans left who made the frost bite engine. Then as seasons finally started, they had to devote a bunch of resources to “fixing” the maps for balance and due to the fixes in the beginning meant new content had to be delayed even more.
There is a ton more to go over, but I think you get the idea.
So that brings us to today. While Battlefield 2042 is technically still alive its clear dice does not fully have confidence in it. Regardless of what they say. Season 6 was announced close to its release, yet they refuse to announce anything past that. Heck the game is free on PlayStation plus and has had tons of free weekends which has seen some players return but looking at the current steam numbers now, it’s a far cry from the first weekend. Its honestly sad to see a great franchise reduced to this. And to any “but the future looks bright since they brought on Vince Sempella and have those new battlefield departments to really focus on the franchise” that does not do anything for me. Been burned too many times. Plus, with all the talent that has left, that resulted in 2042 being the way it was. Vince Sempella, for those who don’t know, worked on tons of great fps in the days including Respawn’s Titanfall and even some of the better Call of Duty games.
This is where I will finish up this discussion with my personal thoughts. Some bits might sound like a rant but hopefully this video/ article has shown you why it might be that way as I love this franchise and only want the best for it.
Where is the DICE that innovated and did not simply follow trends? Really? A Battle royale? Taking classes away? Heck, you doubling down on those pathetic class replacements just to sell micro transactions is just eye rolling. Yes, I know business and such. But that can’t just be the go to excuse. As with any video/article like this, I do not blame the ground floor developers one bit. They have to follow the orders of the higher ups. I know it can not be easy to see your game ripped apart online and not be able to change anything/ talk about it due to contracts.
A very unpopular opinion but I was actually ok when they announced no single player. The only good single player for a Battlefield game was bc2 and the franchise just started online. I know some people will say “no we need it” or “what about those with no internet”. If given time they could do a single player mode to help teach the modes of the game. Unless its Bad Company 3, don’t even bother. Wasted resources. But that means the pvp really needs to deliver. I’m talking at minimum 15-20 maps. Get back to the focus of modes per map and good balance. Not every mode has to fit on one map. Have the customization of bf4 but not the terrible layout of 2042. The graphics of 3 and 1, I mean 2042 looks alright... Finally start innovating again. Don’t follow trends. We play battlefield because we want to be in squads as military characters. Not one line quippy heroes.
Alright I have rambled on long enough. What do you think? Is the battlefield franchise done for? Can it make a comeback? What would you like to see from the series? Let us know all your thoughts.