EA has officially unveiled Battlefield 2042, the next game in the beloved FPS series. Based on previews and what EA has shown, it’s shaping up to be a worthy successor that on some level takes aim at Activision’s Call of Duty franchise.
But Battlefield 2042 has a lot to prove when it launches this fall. Not only does it have to go up against the upcoming Call of Duty: Vanguard, but it will also need to compete with Call of Duty: Warzone, Activision’s free-to-play battle royale game. Warzone has accumulated over 100 million players since launch, and it continues to grow. But these two franchises share a lot of overlap in terms of player base.
Battlefield 2042 is looking strong so far with its emphasis on massive-scale firefights, ever-changing weather, and storytelling in a multiplayer setting.
Here are five things Battlefield 2042 needs in order to compete with Call of Duty: Warzone.
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5. A commitment to a balanced arsenal of weapons
Currently, Warzone has 77 primary weapons, but only around half of them are used in any capacity (maybe even fewer than that). Raven Software has shown signs of balancing the arsenal and has even improved many underused weapons to give them a boost. But still, the majority of weapons aren’t even touched.
In Battlefield 2042, we’d love to see a large yet balanced variety of weapons from snipers and SMGs to assault rifles that are all useful in their own ways. This will keep the weapon meta fresh while allowing for experimentation and more unique but still viable builds. If there are only a handful of weapons that dominate the playing field in any game, things will get stale quickly, as evidenced by Warzone when the Cold War integration occurred in December 2020.
4. Frequent, compelling in-game events
Warzone has made a name for itself with in-game events, a strategy cribbed mostly from Fortnite’s history. Most recently, it held its Season 3 nuke event that culminated with the transition to the then-new Verdansk ‘84 map. This event garnered a lot of attention, particularly because of the hype around it.
Battlefield 2042 needs to have similar in-game events with high stakes that motivate players to check in with some frequency. Based on early reports at a character-driven narrative told through the Specialists as part of the multiplayer experience, this feels like a necessity already. Perhaps certain events could give exclusive rewards, or maybe they could depict the evolution of a fan-favorite map. It’s not enough for a game to have fun gameplay and a rewarding loop — in-game events pull players in, and if done correctly, will keep players around.
3. Free additional content
One of the reasons Warzone is so successful has to do with being free. Sure, it still needs to be a good game to keep players around, but it’s a much easier pill to swallow when the cost is zero. Battlefield 2042 is already lagging behind on this front, as it’ll cost $60 on previous-gen consoles and $70 for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
From a pure monetary sense, it’s easy to see why players might gravitate towards Warzone even if Battlefield 2042 is excellent. For that reason, Battlefield needs to come with a hefty amount of free additional content to satisfy players’ wallets. We already know Battlefield 2042 will feature a Battle Pass, which is a step in the right direction, but it needs to do much more than that to get players hooked. Perhaps just offering a higher volume of additional content could do the trick or even more maps at no additional cost.
2. Be more friendly to newcomers
Despite Warzone’s massive player-base, it’s not the easiest game to get into. That evidently hasn’t stopped many players from trying, but it would be nice if it were friendlier for newcomers. Currently, Warzone has a lot going on, from the ins and outs of the gameplay itself to the overwhelming amount of weapons (and their attachments), the game’s contracts, the perks, the map layout, and more.
Battlefield 2042 could certainly be just as complex, but the onboarding process should be simplified to make it easier to grasp. Maybe if it had a standalone mode that only focused on taking down other players without objectives (like Deathmatch), it could be easier to get into. That, or having a cleaner tutorial system could greatly increase player retention.
1. A heavy emphasis on anti-cheat
Finally, and arguably the most important point, Battlefield 2042 should prioritize anti-cheat. This might seem like a no-brainer, but Warzone is notoriously awful about its number of cheaters. Even today, it’s common to run into a handful of cheaters in any given play session, which is unacceptable, especially for one of the biggest battle royales in the world.
Certain Warzone players use “aimbots” which allow them to instantly lock onto an opponent’s head. They also use “Wallhacks” to easily shred players through walls, making them unstoppable. The problem is so bad that many more players have decided to cheat themselves, just to combat the other cheaters! It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be addressed, and Battlefield 2042 can use this as an opportunity to outshine against Warzone.
We’ll see how Battlefield 2042 competes when it launches on October 22, 2021.