DICE design director Daniel Berlin has stated that Battlefield 2042‘s inclusion of climate change and refugees as central to its storyline is purely “for gameplay reasons,” and is not social or political commentary. The interview with IGN comes just hours after the release of a new cinematic reveal trailer for the game, which reveals what the premise of the upcoming first-person shooter would be about. DICE has also opened up an official website dedicated to explaining the narrative history of the near-future shooter.
Battlefield 2042 is set in the not-so-distant 2042 where the world is dealing with climate refugees, multiple climate disasters changing life as we know it, and two superpowers vying to be the last ones standing. Everything in the game, from the seven massive maps to the No-Pats—”Non-Patriated”, stateless refugees-turned-soldiers—revolves around the background of an ever-changing climate that forces a proxy war between the US and Russia to be fought. Berlin, however, states that this background was chosen “so [the devs] could create a narrative with this world that [the devs] could create through the eyes of the No-Pats,” and that the setting is “for gameplay reasons across the board.”
Even the trailer itself showcased a massive tornado tearing into a squadron of soldiers, which DICE revealed as part of its “dynamic world,” and will be part of the gameplay. Battlefield 2042 follows a “decade of chaos” filled with “rising sea levels and collapsing economies.” Global food shortages and the disbanding of the European Union have changed the entire geopolitical landscape of the world. Governments are drilling Antarctica for oil, Qatar is trying to fend off desertification, and the US and Russia are waging shadow wars over limited resources. If that doesn’t sound like social commentary to you, then I don’t know what will.
DICE and its publisher EA aren’t the first to state that their game—which is centered on inherently political conflicts—isn’t political. Just a few weeks ago, Ubisoft stated that Far Cry 6 was not “a political game,” despite being based on Cuban guerilla fighters’ struggle against a fascist dictatorship. It later backtracked this statement, with the Narrative Director of the game stating outright that the game was, in fact, political, though still clarifying that it’s not a political commentary, despite being rooted in political themes.
A full Battlefield 2042 gameplay reveal will be presented at Microsoft’s E3 press conference on June 13th, as well as a new game mode developed by DICE LA to be revealed at EA Play Live on July 22. Battlefield 2042 launches on October 22, 2021, for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Current-gen console versions will cost $69.99, with EA Play subscribers getting earlier access via a 10-hour trial starting October 15, 2021.