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The Next Battlefield Game Needs to Make Sure It Doesn't Repeat Battlefield 2042 Mistakes

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  • Posted on 08th Apr, 2022 19:35 PM
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While EA DICE has its work cut out fixing Battlefield 2042 in its current state, the next game in the franchise cannot make these same mistakes.

p>Battlefield 2042 did not have a great release. There is a huge list of technical problems, bugs, missing features, and more that continue to plague the game, and as a result 2042 is regularly overtaken by Battlefield 5 and even Battlefield 4 on the Steam game charts. At one point, more people were playing Farming Simulator 22 than Battlefield 2042, which is an outstanding achievement for all the wrong reasons.

DICE recently released a blog post announcing its intention to fix Battlefield 2042 to meet the expectations of its fanbase and deliver on feedback. The post covered everything from pathing (how players get between objectives) to vehicle balancing, cover, and more. But the post was still criticized as being too small in scope, too late on arrival, and for scheduling upcoming changes at an undefined date. Considering 2042's poor performance as a live-service game, it is in dire need of updates and changes within a shorter timeframe, something that will take significant development time. With the news that the next Battlefield game is in production, DICE has an even greater challenge.

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Admitting to Battlefield 2042's Mistakes

It is nearly impossible to list all the missing features, technical inconsistencies, and gameplay issues in Battlefield 2042. With reviews of the game being so low, and with players struggling to find matches in 2042 due to a lack of players on both console and PC, the game is approaching the same situation as BioWare's Anthem. Despite the announcement that DICE is planning to do something about the games' situation, its issues seem to continue growing each month.

The introduction of 128-player matches has caused major issues with technical performance and stability in Battlefield 2042, the specialist system has been poorly received, and the empty maps fall flat compared with the iconic designs of previous titles, particularly with their approach to art direction and style. These are just a few of the major areas that need to be fixed or potentially reworked - none of which seem likely to be addressed for months.

These areas, which have received extensive community feedback since launch, have been said to be issues with player expectations rather than how EA and DICE marketed the game or failed to meet basic requirements in a crowded live-service market. Apologizing or admitting to these missteps would go a long way to rebuilding trust with the community, something that will be vital for a new Battlefield game. If DICE and EA want those disillusioned by 2042 to come back, they will first have to convince the community that they understand and acknowledge feedback is coming from more than just the expectations of "some" players. It will also have to stop blaming other games like Halo Infinite for its own failures.

Changing Battlefield's Formula

That's not to say changing the franchise is inherently a bad thing. The Battlefield franchise has always iterated on its previous games, rather than significantly changing its own formula, usually by introducing a new setting or time period and complementing that with other improvements such as Battlefield 1's advanced movement and map design (which was left out of 2042's "Portal" mode).

Battlefield 2042 seems to have walked down a completely different path, one that removed parts which made previous games so successful and introduced others that seem at-odds with its own core formula. This gave Battlefield 2042 an identity crisis to go along with its other issues. With 2042 introducing so many downgrades from previous Battlefield titles, particularly when it comes to map design and destructibility, it's no surprise the community has fractured in response.

Quick Wins and Lessons Learned by Battlefield 2042

With a new Battlefield game in development, EA and DICE can get some quick wins when shaping the game by looking back at what made previous titles great. Bad Company 2 was adored for its destruction and soundscape; Battlefield 3 has remained a fan favorite for its map design, realism, and voice acting; and Battlefield 1 continues to be praised for its immersion and attention to detail.

These games are still being played today by dedicated communities, which is perhaps why 2042's "Portal mode" is by far its most popular and well-received addition. DICE and EA have shown they can identify and present what makes the Battlefield community tick through Portal, and 2042's clever marketing trailers highlighted the franchises' renowned "only in Battlefield moments" (such as planting C4 to a bike and driving it into a helicopter). While this campaign was well received by the community, the actual game veered away from this.

The development team says it has "learned valuable lessons" from 2042, so hopefully those lessons will be implemented into the next title. But there needs to be a longer look at what makes the Battlefield franchise unique, fun, and a rewarding multiplayer experience if a new title were to succeed. The success of "Portal" and the franchises' older games out-performing 2042 should be a clear indicator of where to start. Acknowledging, rather than circumventing, community feedback will be just as important in bringing back disenfranchised players and selling them a new title.

Battlefield 2042 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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