Has it Been Nearly 20 Years Already!
Can you believe Battlefield 1942 launched a whopping nineteen years ago? It paved the way for one of the biggest franchises gaming has ever seen. Whether you are fresh to the face of gaming or just old like I am with thirty years of video games experience. Then you may find the history of the Battlefield series interesting. With sixteen iterations of Battlefield titles spanning across many eras throughout history and a few instalments sliding off on a slight tangent. Join me on a reminiscent journey of the behemoth of the first-person shooter world. In the run-up to Battlefield 6 towards the end of 2021.
Battlefield has been through several transitions throughout the past two decades with slight studio changes, ups and downs, but the majority of the time ups. In my opinion, there are no other games like this in the genre. Monumental all-out warfare with a massive group of online players with vast open maps on a scale never matched on other games in the first-person shooter world.
It all started way back in 2002 with the above mentioned Battlefield 1942. This is where the first-person shooter was observed in a different light and also where the world-famous Conquest mode blossomed. It traded traditional capture the flag and team deathmatch modes for Conquest. This was instantly more appealing with players competing in firefights across several capture points across the map.
Without delving too deep into the early titles in the life of Battlefield, because I could talk about them all day long; the game became an instant hit with incredible reviews across the board. Sadly back in those days if you wanted to join in with the action you had to own a reasonably decent specified gaming PC. With internet connections only just breaking into the low-end birth of broadband it was challenging to say the least. Console players couldn’t experience the magic of Battlefield until October 2005. This is when Battlefield 2: Modern Combat was developed specifically for the PlayStation 2 and the Original Xbox.
Battlefield 2 Paved the Way Forward for the Series
My experience with Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is a memory that will remain with me for my entire gaming life. Hand on heart one of the greatest games I ever had the pleasure of playing. I was twenty years of age, no responsibilities with hours and hours of spare time to just engage with the game. The younger generation truly won’t understand how lucky they are with the infrastructure of how stable internet connections and servers are now in comparison to the mid-2000s. WiFi didn’t really exist and the PlayStation 2 which I was playing on at the time had to have a network adaptor screwed into the rear with a coin.
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat along with Halo 2, I truly believe these two titles opened up the world of online gaming for consoles. Not only was this the first Battlefield game to grace consoles, but it was also the first I’d seen to accommodate 12 players per team online. This doesn’t sound a lot in today’s way of thinking, but it was a really big deal back then. My mind was blown at the time to see a game where I could compete online with players across the world in a first-person shooter and experience the gigantic maps and the combination of aircraft and vehicles.
This was at a time where downloadable content and patches weren’t in existence. You paid for the game, you got on with the content you had available and it worked. Sure there was lag and server issues but little did I know this would be just the start for an ever-evolving series of fantastic games. But Battlefield 2: Modern Combat consumed me, my time and robbed me of around 4000+ hours of time but I don’t regret a single minute and I’d rewind the clock to discover that game again for the very first time and relive my excitement for it.
There was a considerable gap in a Battlefield title arriving for console again and it wasn’t until almost three years later when Battlefield: Bad Company landed on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. To fill the gap EA DICE had developed and published Battlefield 2142 for the PC and also launched an updated version of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat for the Xbox 360. Again, they were smashing these titles out of the park with the review scores and each one improving with scale, destruction and environment.
The Arrival of Battlefield Bad Company!
This first period of approximately six years is what I’d consider the first wave of fantastic titles in the Battlefield series. We saw a significant change in the tone and build of the games. Battlefield: Bad Company would see an entirely brand new engine introduced known as Frostbite 1. 2008 was the year and when Frostbite was first shown to the world, it was super impressive featuring HDR audio and Destruction 1.0. This allowed players to destroy environments and take out chunks of buildings. This was a giant leap forward and really added to the atmosphere of large scale wars.
Bad Company also had an excellent campaign mode with some comedic stand out characters and I’d go as far as to say probably the best campaign in the series by far. There was a little criticism though with the multiplayer and this was the fact that it launched originally without Conquest but with a new mode known as Gold Rush. Gold Rush focused on two objectives which had to be exploded by planting a bomb and with each successful area detonated, the map would open up even more with two new objectives. It was a love or hate game mode for most, it made for choke points with a lot of engagement. Conquest was later added to Bad Company and improved the multiplayer massively.
In 2009 we saw Battlefield 1943 arrive on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and whilst a real solid entry to the series, there were only three maps with no scope for expanding the game and also no campaign mode. This was eased with the fact it was a low-cost title and more of an arcade experience with smaller maps. It was a gap filler until the arrival of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in 2010.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 returned bigger, better and even more destructible with the Frostbite Engine being upgraded to 1.5. This enhancement allowed structures to fully demolish rather than just chunks flying off the walls. The realism was captured much more intensely and, as a game nearly eleven years old, it was super impressive. The game featured yet another engaging campaign mode following on from the success of the first instalment and yet again getting high fives from reviewers. I went back to the game recently and it surprisingly still holds up well and has a small gathering of hardcore fans still ploughing away online.
Battlefield 3, 4 and more!
In 2011 and 2013 we had another boost to the engine with Frostbite 2.0 with the launches of Battlefield 3 and 4. Destruction was on a new scale with skyscrapers tumbling down and changing the map completely, enhanced visuals, jets, modern weaponry and more. This is where you really felt the Battlefield games pushing consoles to their absolute limits and really producing the best that the Xbox 360 had to offer at that current time. Battlefield 4 was extremely watered down on the 360 in comparison to the new generation of Xbox One at that time. This was the very first time we witnessed the player base doubled and utilising the power and potential of new hardware.
Times haven’t always been rosy for the developers and publishers, Battlefield 4 suffered torrid times on launch for Xbox One and Playstation 4 with servers suffering and countless bugs and glitches. It was completely unplayable for many months which pushed some of the player base away. I can recall being very unhappy with dropping £100 on the deluxe edition with all the downloadable content only to be unable to play.
DICE and EA hats off to them, really kicked on and promised their fanbase that these issues would be rectified and cured and they were eventually. Battlefield 4 evolved into one of the most popular and active titles in the series and still performs well to this date with a large number still battling it out to date. This taught me a lesson that sometimes a game doesn’t go completely to plan and you have to give developers time to plaster the cracks and make it what it should be, just look at Cyberpunk 2077.
Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V and the Return to the World War Era
2016 came along and the world rejoiced at the first trailer of Battlefield 1. I recall an absolute mind-blowing gameplay trailer with a special edition of 7 Nation Army by White Stripes. It really gave me goosebumps and chills down the spine at the time. The return to the World War era was welcomed with open arms after this trailer. There was a distinct lack of titles in this genre at the time. It was refreshing to play this on an Xbox One with 64 players online. With its vast open maps and beautiful visuals. It was the first Battlefield title to feature animals. Horses were featured and rideable to allow you to take big strides across the map in quick time. Charging towards enemies with a bayonet became super satisfying for instance. It oozed authenticity and echoed the first World War with class.
Last but not least and after a two-year hiatus, Battlefield V showed its face and was a return to the World War II era. Strangely the game wasn’t very well received by the Battlefield community. With a lack of content on launch with only around five maps available from the get-go. If I remember correctly it became stale very quickly. However, the advantage and promise were that DICE would bring any future downloadable content free of charge for game owners.
A smart move and allowed togetherness of the community wouldn’t fracture the player base when new maps arrived. We also saw the introduction of Firestorm. Which was their very own iteration of Battle Royale in a heavily congested time of games of this type. Clearly, player numbers dropped off extremely rapidly. The battle royale experience was sat behind the paywall of purchasing the game whilst similar experiences were free to play. It fell to the floor like a lead balloon with some major bugs and a poor loot system.
Personally, I felt there to be a slow introduction of new maps. In addition to a battle royale experience that should have been marketed differently, a low-level cap at launch and the game borrowing very heavily from Battlefield 1 in terms of its weaponry and levelling, these all really hampered this game and the Battlefield community were extremely vocal about it. Players were complaining about the historical side of the game not matching World War II events. With female soldiers being merged into the experience, they didn’t feel the values were true.
It is a real shame it got off to this staggering slow start. If you visited the game now you would find a swarm of new content. Featuring 19 maps in total, and around 6 or 7 different modes. Also a horde of new cosmetic items and unlockables for soldiers. Firestorm is still there albeit very quiet but it functions much better than its release date. Level caps have been raised and I would say it really is up there as one of the best Battlefield titles I’ve ever played. It warmed my heart to see DICE didn’t let their ambitions drop and tried to satisfy the players.
The Future of Battlefield!
The Future Of Battlefield is Upon us
2021 sees the launch of the next Battlefield title at the tail end of the year. Recently the news was announced that the Need For Speed series would be placed on hold. Whilst the developers at Criterion jump on board to help with the upcoming Battlefield project.
DICE and EA are keen to get this instalment over the line before the end of this year. Whilst they stated they are ahead of schedule at the moment. It is always ideal to have more hands and experience on board with a title as massive as Battlefield. Laura Miele, EA’s chief studio officer gave fans the news that the next version of Battlefield is incredible. Also, she mentioned that the team has been working incredibly hard from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also added that the team is fatigued. It was added that the help from Criterion games would allow for the weight to be taken off other devs.
Battlefield has a window of launch in Holiday 2021. My prediction is that we will see a return to the modern-day setting. This is after two previous titles saluting both World War eras. Laura Miele also signed off her statement with the following. “A love letter to our fans” and a game “We want to be great”. There have been strong rumours filtering through. One is that this would be the first Battlefield experience on the console to feature 128 players online. Whilst this has not been confirmed I am hopeful. Surely the teams at DICE, DICE LA and Criterion Games will want to push the boundaries to the next level. After the lacklustre response and harsh criticism of Battlefield V.
Many fresh faces are working on this Battlefield game, which can only be a good thing. A mixture of experience and new ideas will give the series a huge lease of life after a three-year break. With the gaming world evolving to free to play experiences with battle pass systems. Could we see the first Battlefield game that will span several years? One that is constantly updated with only optional financial outlay. This is a huge possibility from a business point of view. Let us just hope that if they are working on a new Battle Royale this time. That it doesn’t hinder the core game for the veterans of Battlefield. For more news on all things, Battlefield stay tuned to Rapid Reviews UK!
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