EA and DICE pulled the curtain off of Battlefield 5 today, bringing the large-scale shooter back to World War 2 after its successful foray into World War 1. It looks, from what we’ve seen so far, like classic Battlefield with some new twists and the promise of continuing stories told over the course of several months, something made possible by the fact that the game will have no paid maps/modes. Unlike most World War 2 games, the developer wants to place the focus on some of the less well-known battles of the conflict — most of what we saw today looked European, but there would always be room for the Pacific theater later.
Combined Arms Mode
The most interesting part of the reveal was probably the new Combined Arms mode, a cooperative mode that places the player in a squad of 4 and complete various tasks before extracting: from what it sounds like, there’s a risk/reward mechanic about whether to press on or extract, something that sounds a little like The Division’sDark Zone.
There was a rumor that Battlefield 5 would have a battle royale mode to match Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, not to mention Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. That rumor turns out to be true and not true. If players manage to fight to a stalemate in the Grand Operations mode, it will trigger a final, fourth round called Final Stand, where resources are running low and soldiers are left with one clip, fighting until “the last man standing,” in the words of the developer. It sounds an awful lot like a kind of battle royale, but it’s part of Grand Operations rather than its own mode and might not even be triggered in a given match.
It’s clear that DICE is keeping the trend at arm’s length, whether intentionally or not, something that longtime fans will probably be happy to see but that might limit its ability to generate excitement in this post-Fortnite world. Activision hasn’t exactly been shy about the fact that it’s following in the footsteps of PUBG Corp. and Epic, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be rewards for doing so, particularly because it’s looking like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will have the only true battle royale mode from an established shooter this fall, and people are bound to turn up to see what it’s like.
More to Come
We’ll hear and see more about Battlefield 5 when E3 and EA play come around, but for right now it feels like it might have a hard time moving outside of its established, if considerable, fanbase. Battlefield 1 generated a lot of excitement with its novel WW1 setting, especially up against a general sense of fatigue from Call of Duty’s sci-fi efforts. This year it’s hard to say what people really have to hold on to, something that a battle royale mode could have helped with.