Battlefield 2042 recently had a disastrous launch, joining a long list of other launch-day disasters from other games that span over the last five years, if not longer. Broken games at launch nowadays have become a given, and with the price of AAA titles increasing with the newest generation of consoles, it’s no wonder consumers are tired of getting burnt by game development companies. Every year, multiple AAA titles will get released to the market in an incomplete state. The most recent entry to the Battlefield franchise was released at launch with multiple game-breaking bugs and even a lack of vision for the game overall.
The game was developed by DICE and published by Electronic Arts (EA) and it’s the first Battlefield developed for the newest generation of consoles. Unlike previous titles, it doesn’t have a single-player campaign and focuses its efforts instead on a fully multiplayer experience. It, however, does have a story that complements the futuristic theme of the game. The story will be delivered to players incrementally through free and paid battle passes throughout the first year of release.
The story takes place in a dystopian future when the world experiences its first Category 6 hurricane. Along with rising sea levels, the natural disasters spark the collapse of several world economies, leading to the displacement of over a billion people who no longer have a place to call home. Eventually, the world begins to rebuild, but a conflict between the U.S. and Russia is imminent. Food and fuel shortages start a shadow war between the two countries with the displaced people, now branded as “no-pats,” in the middle of the conflict, and they must now fight for their future. More details of the game’s synopsis can be read from EA’s website.
Battlefield 2042 was first revealed to be in development in 2019, and along with DICE, three other development studios were recruited to help create the game. The three studios needed to set aside other projects such as the next Need for Speed installment and discontinue support for games like Star Wars Battlefront II in order to work on the new game. According to a manager at DICE, it was the “biggest team ever on a Battlefield game for console and PC.”
The official reveal was made on June 12, with its first trailer — much to the excitement of the fanbase. The official gameplay trailer was then dropped the next day, showing off fast-paced gameplay, beautifully detailed maps and the variety of vehicles that could be used to traverse the large maps. More marketing around the game was subsequently released over the next few months, including a short film and a blog expanding more on the game’s storyline.
All seemed to be going well on the hype train until October when leaks started coming out from an anonymous source from DICE, outlining a troubled development around the game. The leaks happened after EA announced the game would be delayed for release from Oct. 22 to Nov. 19.
These leaks also happened after EA opened up the game for an open beta, which began on Oct. 6 and lasted a few days. Many beta testers reported issues with bugs, and one Reddit user even created an “Updated Beta Trailer,” showing a lot of the random in-game glitches and ragdoll physics prevalent in the game. The trailer hilariously contrasts with the Official Beta Trailer released by the game’s official YouTube channel, which somehow shows off much more polished and bug-free gameplay.
Back to the leaks, it was revealed that the build used during beta testing was only completed a mere two weeks before it was launched. The reason for the rushed development, the source claimed, was because the management was more concerned about getting the game out on time rather than having to delay its launch any further to fix the remaining issues.
Despite the leaks and the worrying state of the beta, however, players were hopeful most of the issues would be resolved. Critics’ reviews were also coming in with somewhat favorable scores with PC Gamer giving the game a score of 80 and IGN giving a score of 70, neither review giving any hint of the broken state of the game.
When Battlefield 2042 did launch on Nov. 19, players who had bought the game were immediately made aware of the overwhelming number of issues, a number of which were previously present in the open beta. The game was immediately bombarded with multiple negative user scores with a rating of about 2/10 on Metacritic across all platforms and over 48,000 negative reviews on Steam.
Many players’ games kept crashing during launch day, and some even had the game consoles themselves crash while playing. Other players reported terrible frame rates and began referring to the game as “Battlefield 20-42 fps.”
The number of issues is extensive, but EA is currently keeping a log of known issues reported by players, which are planned to be fixed in future patches.
Some players also note the lack of creative vision in the new game. Battlefield had always set itself apart from other first-person shooter games, most notably the Call of Duty franchise. In Battlefield 2042, however, the developers removed features such as the class-based system in favor of specialists, which many players say fundamentally changes the core of the franchise. An exhaustive list was created on Reddit, detailing many other features that were changed or removed entirely and also arguing that Battlefield 2042 has actually regressed compared to previous titles.
It’s difficult to really understand why game development companies continue to push out games to the market long before they are ready. Beta tests are useful and should be used to gain player feedback in order to improve the game. AAA game development companies seem to use beta tests more as a way to make money by granting “early access” to titles before the official launch date. And everyone hates to hear it, but delaying games should be a must if the games aren’t even close to being finished by the initial launch date.
Battlefield 2042 had the potential to be an excellent addition to the series. But since its launch, the player base for the game has quickly diminished. It’s curious to think about how different the outcome might have been if the game’s launch had been pushed back six months or even a year. It’s often difficult for hyped-up games to recover their former player bases as shown by previous disasters like No Man’s Sky, Fallout 76 and Cyberpunk 2077. But as long as consumers continue to preorder games from companies with woeful track records, companies will continue to turn a blind eye, and the issue will probably continue to persist.