Battlefield V is an expected sequel that brings unexpected new ideas to the table.
Let’s go over the basics: There is a campaign mode. There isn’t, as far as we know, a battle royale mode. Premium passes are dead because new maps and modes are going to be free add-ons from now on, and loot boxes, while still unseen, are probably going to be a thing.
A lot is changing in the next Battlefield game, after direct information from DICE this week it seems that the reveal is only scratching the surface of what this game will offer on release. Here’s a little rundown of the reveal and what is to come.
The Big Stuff
In Battlefield V, developer DICE returns to a familiar theatre of war: World War II. The campaign mode borrows from 2016’s Battlefield 1, sending players through a series of discrete “War Stories” campaigns that each focus on different individuals and their exploits.
DICE isn’t sharing much about the particulars of Battlefield V’s War Stories just yet. The studio shared a teasing look at one of them during Monday’s briefing, but the short video smounted to just a few seconds from a cutscene in which we see a women underwater.
That particular chunk of story is called “Nordlys”, the Norwegian word for “Northern Lights”. It’s set in Norway, in the year 1943, and it follows a young resistance fighter as she fights to save her family from an as-yet-unrevealed threat.
Battlefield V’s most visible new addition, Combined Arms, is similarly shrouded in mystery. It’s an entirely new cooperative mode for up to four players, and it draws its objectives from some kind of random mission generator.
According to DICE, Combined Arms is meant to offer campaign-focused players a bridge into Battlefield V’s online multiplayer modes. So while little is known about how the mission generator works, it seems like a safe bet that it draws its randomised variables from the competitive side of the game.
Speaking of which, Battlefield V revamps its predecessors multi-map “Operations” mode with “Grand Operations”. These 64-player showdowns span multiple rounds and maps, complete with voiceover narrations. Each team’s performance during one round has an impact on the next one.
In one example DICE ran through, you might start on day one – each round is a “day” – as a paratrooper. Your mission is to drop in behind enemy lines and take out a group of artillery emplacements, in the hopes of giving the main invasion force, arriving the next day, an edge.
Let’s then say the mission was largely a failure, as you managed to sabotage only one of the four artillery emplacements. On day two, the next round, your invasion force must contend with fewer respawns and diminished access to vehicles.
In this hypothetical scenario, days two and three go much better. Although weakened, your invasion force manages to push forward and gain some ground on the enemy. Not enough to win, but not enough to lose.
When Grand Operations come to a standstill at the end of day three (which DICE guesses will happen roughly one-third of the time), both teams are forced into a fourth “last stand” day that operates under different rules.
Everyone participates, no one respawns. If you’re gunned down and don’t get revived by a medic or a squadmate, that’s it. You’re out. The team with the last soldiers standing, wins.
The Invisible Stuff
Wrapping around all three modes – War Stories, Combined Arms, and online PVP – is this new concept of a “Company”. This is the bucket under which all of your in-game progression plays out. Your top-level profile can level up, but so too can your individual soldier classes, weapons and vehicles.
As you’ve probably already guessed, this is where cosmetic items and (again, speculatively!) loot boxes come into play.
Battlefield V is very intentionally embracing the “games-as-a-service” (GaaS) approach to post release business. DICE hasn’t detailed exactly how you’ll be able to spend money on the game above and beyond your initial purpose, but maps/modes will be free and premium passes are a thing of the past. Post-release development needs to be funded by something.
DICE did reveal that Battlefield V’s post-release life will be driven in large part by a “Tides of War” calendar of events. It’s not clear exactly how this will work, but from what we can gather these themed events will last for a set period of time and stick to a pre-ordained timeline.
Each event offers players the opportunity to interact with the game in new and different ways. That might mean new maps and modes, or variations on existing content that tie into the overarching theme. Each event will also bring its own set of new unlockables, including weapons, vehicles and cosmetics.
Similar to games like Overwatch and Destiny, these limited-time unlockable offerings will disappear once each event ends. DICE hopes that the ticking clock will motivate players to keep coming back for more in the months after Battlefield V’s release.
However the new focus on delivering GaaS kind of experience isn’t the only major under the hood change. DICE is also making a number of changes to the foundation of the Battlefield experience, all of which revolve around the idea of grounding the game in a physical world.
One example: In past Battlefield games, actions like resupplying your ammo or receiving heals from a medic required some suspension of disbelief. Stand near a dropped medpack or supply pack and watch your health/ammo recover like magic.
Battlefield V turns these types of actions into a manual process. A medic might drop a pack of heling items on the ground, but you’ll need to actually pick one up and use it. Same goes for ammo.
When you die and then Respawn, you won’t necessarily hit the ground with a full warmaking kit at the ready. You’ll have some ammo and your basic building tools, but if you really want to gear up, you’ll have to head to your home base or a captured flag and manually resupply, or scrounge on the battlefield for a downed soldier’s equipment.
This resource scarcity places added importance on your home base and captured locations, and that’s where another new feature comes in: fortifications. In Battlefield V, every soldier is equipped with a tool kit. You can use this to build resupply stations at capture points as well as fortifications like sandbags, barbed wire and foxholes.
There are a host of other, smaller changes as well. Soldier classes have been rethought around discrete specialisations. The four main classes – Assault, Medic, Support and Scout – are still present, but there’s a deep set of options (skill trees included) for tailoring each one in different ways.
There’s a lot to digest, and DICE has really only touched on the top-level ideas at this point. Expect a lot more details to surface at E3 2018 and in the months to follow.
Battlefield V will host a “Play First” trial for EA Access subscribers starting Oct 11. Those that buy the deluxe edition will then be able to dive in with the full game on Oct 16, with standard edition owners getting in on the fun a few days later on Oct 19.
See the reveal trailer below:
We don’t know about you but these new additions and changes to the gameplay has us incredibly excited and we cannot wait for E3 to find out more. Of cause we will keep you posted after E3 with all the latest.