Battlefield 2042 – with humility and hustle, DICE might yet win the war

March 9, 2023
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“Be a class above,” goes the tagline of Battlefield 2042’s new season. Just a month ago, that sentiment would have been salt in the wound. By that point, longtime players had suffered through more than a year of DICE’s disastrous Specialist system, which smashed apart Battlefield’s traditional, fixed roles in favour of COD-style open customisation. A class above? Players would have settled for any class structure at all.

Their dismay wasn’t rooted in mindless nostalgia for the days of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Team Fortress – when the babies of PC gamers were assigned the role of medic, engineer, tank or sniper at birth. Rather, it came from an understanding that Battlefield’s very integrity had been compromised.

At its core, Battlefield is a strategic team shooter that doesn’t force you to don a headset and coordinate closely with your peers. It offers fleeting connection and the gleeful chaos of large-scale engagements, without demanding the commitment and community-building of more hardcore, collaborative shooters. This balancing act is both the reason that DICE is among the wealthiest developers in the FPS genre, and the reason that its stumbles are so painful. When you’re walking a high wire, any misstep is a major incident.

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