Battlefield turns 20 and needs to remember its roots

Battlefield turns 20 and needs to remember its roots
Battlefield turns 20 and needs to remember its roots

It’s been a bittersweet birthday for Battlefield. This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the iconic war shooter series Battlefield 1942, which debuted on the beaches of Normandy and on the DVD drives of thousands of PC gamers. DICE has every right to do something special to mark this moment, to look back on the good times, ignore the bad times it’s going through, and look to the future in a way that makes me, um, a little skeptical.


To join the 20th anniversary celebration, series general manager Byron Beede made an announcement that covered quite a bit. It has launched a new studio, Ridgeline Games, led by former Halo designer Marcus Lehto, which will be working on a new “storytelling campaign” for Battlefield (which won’t be part of Battlefield 2042). Meanwhile, Ripple Effect Studios is creating “a whole new Battlefield experience that will complement and build upon the franchise’s foundation.” This allows Battlefield’s core team at DICE to “further develop Battlefield’s unique Multiplayer Kit”.

Before we go any further, can we take a moment to collectively cringe the multiplayer battlefield experience (you know, the actual game!) as a clinical reference for the “kit”? It sounds like the game has been condensed into a drab collection of mid-2000s writing procedurals, and doesn’t quite fill me with confidence because the current leaders there know what the series has been through since the turn of the millennium, and so many others The man fell face down in the dirt.


It sounds like a lot of mysterious new stuff, all condensed in a connected battlefield universe. Honestly, this sounds a little intimidating because it involves a lot of greyed out menu options that only unlock when you exchange cash for “Battle Tokens” or “Dog Tags” or any in-game currency for full currency. On the battlefield, the service game is called. Amid all these projects and terrifying new concepts, it feels as if Battlefield — once a grand and simple idea, with two teams of 32 battling for supremacy on a richly realized battlefield — has lost and Get caught up in a trampled buzzword blitz.

The announcement further mentions that DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson, who has been with the company since the Battlefield era in 1942, will be leaving after 22 years. This marked the final appearance of the old DICE Battlefield – a mass exodus that began sometime after Battlefield 1 in 2017 (since then, the identity of the series has happened tangible, and most would say negatively, Variety). . Leading the series into the future will be former Call of Duty heads Byron Beeder and Vince Zampella, which may be more important to investors and shareholders than those of us who have been on the battlefield since the beginning more exciting.


So in DICE, the old goes out and the new comes in. The problem is that everything “new” that DICE has done in recent years has taken the series further and further away from its roots, and perhaps on its 20th birthday, it’s better to look back at what the series has done over the years and it’s really great rather than using A bunch of vague marketing talk and thought-provoking news of the departure of a franchise veteran bombards us.

The essence of Battlefield is the name. Everyone will have their own opinion on when the series is best, but for most it will be somewhere between 1942’s Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 1 (we could even narrow it down to Bad Company 2 – Continuous Battlefield 1). The great thing about the series so far is that it’s such a unique focus on the battlefield itself. There are no designated agents trying to add unnecessary personality to the game, no misguided battle royale modes, no attempts to connect each game to the wider “universe”, and no distractions from the core experience. gimmick. A lot of people have praised 2042’s portal mode, but people prefer this mode, which largely replicates the experience of older Battlefield games, which speaks to the current state of the game.

On the one hand, it’s great to hear that DICE has been allowed to focus on the multiplayer experience (please stop calling it a “kit”). It doesn’t sound like DICE is being phased out internally, but with two other Battlefield projects in the pipeline for the subsidiary studio, it sounds like the franchise itself is being phased out. EA’s Battlefield budget and focus is clearly at odds with the core experience that fans have been building around, and it should be. Twenty years later, Battlefield is known for what it’s always been: a condensed battlefield that brings together 64 players for a combined arms shootout that manages to connect cinematic immersion with thrilling online mayhem.

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She is the editor of The Desk Game. Previously, she was editor-in-chief at other news sites. Juliana has also in her career been an editor for several websites and has more than 5 years of experience in the industry.

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