When Battlefield 2042 hits PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 later this year, players will be able to enjoy cross-play functionality with other platforms. So DICE can test this functionality before it is released to a wider audience, they’ve delayed the technical test until later this summer.
The technical playtest will only be open to a small section of players who have signed up to be an EA Playtester and is not to be confused with the open beta that will be available to all players. EA has confirmed that once the game launches, PlayStation 5 players will be able to play with those on PC and Xbox Series X/S, although console players will be able to opt out of playing with those on PC. PlayStation 4 players will be able to play with Xbox One players only, so there will not be any cross-gen cross-play functionality. However, cross-progression and cross-commerce will be available across all platforms.
The team also went into more details about Specialists, maps, vehicles, and AI soldiers. There will be 10 Specialists in the game at launch and each will have their own Specialist Trait and Specialty. For example, one will have a wingsuit while another will be a combat surgeon, able to heal team mates to full health. Each will have a fully customisable loadout, though, so players will be able to choose their primary and secondary weapons, throwable item (like a grenade), and equipment (perhaps a medical crate or supply crate). Character skins can also be customised, so two players can use the same specialist but look completely different.
Seven completely new maps will be available at launch for All-Out Warfare modes—Orbital, Hourglass, Kaleidoscope, Manifest, Discarded, Breakaway, and Renewal—and more will be added post-launch. Different areas of the maps will be playable in different modes and all map effects will be available on both generations of consoles, like dynamic weather. There are two new features that will make a difference to Conquest mode. The first, Clustering, is a tactic used to “create deliberate areas of activity and capture areas”. The second is Sectors. Now, capturing a flag is just the first step towards capturing a sector. To gain full control players have to capture all flags within the sector and it is considered neutral territory until that is done.
While some vehicles will be on the map from the start, players will now be able to call in other vehicles from a team budget. Once a vehicle has been called in, that player will enter a cooldown period before they can call in another vehicle. All vehicles will be specific to the US or Russian forces depending on which side you’re fighting: for example, Russian players can use a T28 tank while US forces get an M1A5. There will be a few naval vehicles, like the LCAA Hovercraft, but naval warfare isn’t a massive focus for the team right now. There will be plenty of opportunity for aerial warfare, though.
Finally, AI soldiers will play alongside human players although they won’t be able to use Traits and Specialties. They can call in vehicles, revive team mates, capture objectives and even flank their enemies. Players won’t be able to opt out of playing with AI soldiers but there will be a cap as to how many will be present in a single match. Human players can always replace AI soldiers in the middle of a match but the aim of the AI is to help balance teams if human players are not available.
More information will be shown during EA Play Live on July 22, including the new multiplayer experience from the newly renamed Ripple Effect Studios (formerly DICE LA). This is rumored to be a Battlefield Hub sandbox experience that will come with its own set of maps, including those remastered from previous Battlefield titles.
Battlefield 2042 releases on October 22, 2021 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.