We had the opportunity to sit down with some of the principle minds behind EA Dice’s Battlefield franchise to glean some fresh details on the latest instalment in the series, Battlefield 5.
When and where is Battlefield 5 set?
With the two previous Battlefield games set over 100 years apart, there was a sizeable expanse of conflict for Dice to choose from for the series’ next major title (and of course it could have picked up where BF4 left off and taken us even further into the future). Up until the live launch event, we’d only heard rumours of when and where Battlefield 5 (styled as ‘Battlefield V’) might take place, but as it turns out, some of the strongest rumblings were in fact right on the money.
Dice is taking gamers back to the series’ origins with Battlefield 5 set during the events of World War 2. The knee-jerk reaction here would be to roll one’s eyes and sigh in exasperation as you mentally recount the endless list of video games, TV shows and films that have surely hollowed out any originality yet another medium could scour from such a bloody and destructive conflict, but in much the same way that 2018’s God of War refocussed its lens on the principal characters, so too has Battlefield 5. “We wanted to give the players something new in a world oversaturated by World War 2“, Andreas Morell, who served as Lead Multiplayer Producer on Battlefield 1, exclaimed on stage.
That’s not to say that the scale and spectacle of this latest game will give us anything less than the epic theatres of war Battlefield 1 or any of the previous entries in the series have presented us; far from it.
Whilst the game may be set in one of the most well-documented conflicts of all time, it’s hoping to tell some lesser-known stories set amongst Norwegian mountain ranges, the French countryside, the North African desert and even Rotterdam. Depending on where your school history textbooks were from, there’s every chance you had no idea that men and women fought and died in some of the locales featured in Battlefield 5.
We’re yet to see any of the levels that will appear in the game, nor have we heard of any of the official names for the maps set to feature.
Does Battlefield 5 have a single-player campaign?
Battlefield 1 addressed the issue of its predecessor’s shallow and lacklustre single-player campaign with the introduction of War Stories and the formula has been put into play once again in Battlefield 5. The game will have players jumping between the perspective of soldiers and resistance fighters all over the globe, piecing together how their respective struggles shaped the wider war overall.
Whilst details are still slim, we were given the briefest of teases for what to expect from the first of these stories. Set in Norway in 1943, you play as a young resistance fighter who has to choose whether or not she can ‘make the ultimate sacrifice’. Cryptic Dice, very cryptic.
One thing the BF5 team remained tight-lipped on was whether or not we can expect to see a return to the skies as a bird or the ability to become man’s best friend à la Call of Duty: Ghosts. Shame.
Let’s talk multiplayer
Co-op mode is back
BF5 is reintroducing co-op play, which it’s calling Combined Arms. This new mode will let up to four players team up online to tackle dynamic objectives together. Whether these missions will feature unique story elements or be tied to specific maps is yet to be confirmed.
Each iteration of Battlefield has experimented with new multiplayer game modes in order to push players into fresh combat situations and whilst signature experiences like the 64-player Conquest game type make a return, there are some new inclusions to get excited about as well. As the name implies, Grand Operations builds on Battlefield 1’s Operations game type with missions spanning multiple game modes, levels and in-game days.
The successes and failures of each opposing team can have implications for the in-game days that follow, affecting everything from the scarcity of ammunition and health supplies, to troop numbers and the terrain players fight across.
Battlefield 5’s more personal approach isn’t simply tied to the War Stories campaign but also throughout the multiplayer experience with the introduction of Companies. Through play, you can build up and customise your own company, which includes up to four soldiers of varying classes, as well as the weapons and vehicles at their disposal.
Customisations range from cosmetic to gameplay-enhancing and events within the Tides of War have the potential to yield exclusive unlockables too.
As a way to switch up strategy on the battlefield even further, players no longer enter the fight with a gas mask and instead come packing their own toolbox. Whilst support classes can pull off such actions more efficiently, the toolbox allows any player to repair vehicles (from the inside or outside) and also build fortifications.
For a game franchise that’s built a reputation on offering highly destructible terrain, giving players the option to build things back up again is a surprising twist. Whilst you won’t be repairing any existing buildings on the battlefield, you’ll instead be able to set up barbed wire, sandbags, gun emplacements and more. Your friend with the LMG will be able to hunker down in the foxhole you just created for them, flip out the bipod and let rip; which thanks to the new bullet physics also means they’ll be able to punch through structures most other handheld weapons would barely scratch. Nice.
Tides of War
To keep players engaged beyond the out-of-box multiplayer experience, Dice is introducing what it calls the Tides of War. An active online experience, ToW serves to replace Battlefield 1’s Premium Pass as a means of ensuring that all players receive a coherent experience with regards to modes, maps and player progression.
It will introduce new, dynamic missions, as well as providing opportunities for unique unlocks and items. This is where you’ll find experiences like Grand Operations and Special Assignments, which can persist across matches and game types, serving as additional ways of racking up experience and unlocking new items and abilities.
Does Battlefield 5 feature a Battle Royale mode?
At this early stage, Dice made no mention of a dedicated Battle Royale game mode, so whilst there’s still every chance the company could have one up its sleeve for either the game’s launch or as a subsequent DLC release, right now, you’ll have to stick to PUBG and Fortnite.
When can I play Battlefield 5?
Unfortunately, this initial whetting of our collective appetites comes at the cost of the game’s availability, with a formal launch slated for October 19th, 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and through EA’s Origin client for PC. That doesn’t, however, mean that true fans of the series won’t be able to play it any sooner.
Those heading out to EA Play in L.A. this June will be amongst the first to experience BF5’s new Grand Operations game mode, those who are either EA Access or Origin Access members will get to enter into the Play First Trial on October 11th, whilst anyone who picks up the Deluxe Edition of BF 5 will get to play from October 16th. Failing all that, you’ll have to wait for the global launch on October 19th like the rest of us.