Opinion : Currently, everyone is talking about a possible passage in free2play of Battlefield 2042. But making a game free is not the solution
Free snacks at department stores, free perfumes, 33% extra shampoo – and of course free games on Steam and Epic, it’s all a dream come true. It’s no wonder, then, that many people consider it the go-to solution for the struggling Battlefield 2042 game to also move to Free2Play and be offered to people for free.
I myself already broke a spear in favor of the switch to free2play when it turned out, at the turn of the year, that the first content season of Battlefield 2042 would not start until four (!) months after the release of the game (in March 2022). What else can the game do apart from Free2Play? People are leaving in droves, the Steam user score remains at abysmal levels – and even after all the mistakes, there are still times when we get our feet tripped up, like recently with the zombie mode, which was taken offline upon release, because the thing can be used so obviously as an XP farm that even the game designer has to see: I don’t know how we missed that
But Free2Play alone won’t save Battlefield 2042. Generally speaking, no shortcut can save Battlefield – just scratching the five off the $50 price tag and then hoping for jubilant thumbs up won’t be enough. To get Battlefield 2042 back on track, three areas of the game need to be overhauled.
1. new content or: the wobbly
Let’s get the obvious construction out of the way: of course new content would help Battlefield 2042 enormously. New weapons, new maps, new vehicles – and I’m sure there’s someone out there who would be happy to have new specialists, even if their tonality is as offbeat as this unforgettable cover of the flute from Titanic:
But I’m going to be painfully realistic: there won’t be more than one map for the moment – that’s what the leaks and information that have circulated so far suggest. And I understand that, because a new map at the scale of a Battlefield 2042 requires a lot of work. Assets need to be built, playtests need to be done, and layouts need to be tested – it takes time.
But people will still have traveled every corner of the new map after two or three weeks. Sadly, that’s how perception works – fans also complain that Far Cry 6 is just a mere episode of Part 5, when hundreds of people have spent years building a whole new world in it. open.
I don’t mean to open the door to a lack of creative appreciation at all, but just to state descriptively: DICE cannot count on an angry community to respect the magnitude of the work of developing a map if they don’t only receives a new card after dozens of months. This is also one more argument to say that the team may have been carried away by its gigantism with 128 players.
Hope rests on new modes, new weapons and new specialties. Given that Season 1 will mostly market the Battle Pass, I’m cautiously optimistic about how things will turn out. But you realize that this will not be enough.
2. operation health
Rainbow Six Siege once dared an extremely brave maneuver years ago. Instead of introducing new operators and a new map in an upcoming season, Ubisoft pulled the strings and said, “We’re going to take the next three months to fix our technology as it should be.”
This so-called Operation Health was a risk, as the community was left behind for a long time, but in the end, patience was amply rewarded. R6 was a significantly better game then – and a foundation for a glorious future. Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 would need this Health operation right away.
Dashboard, voice chat, squad switching, balancing issues – there are so many inconsistencies with the current version of Battlefield 2042, which drastically stand in the way of any form of future. DICE has already announced that it will be tackling bulletin board and voice chat in the near future, so there’s at least one legitimate hope in that regard: Battlefield urgently needs to iron out all these birth issues. And then everything can begin.
3. all or nothing
There are a million ways to really mess up your communication. And DICE can speak for itself after the game’s release, because the trust of many fans – and yes, of course it is hard – has been lost. What matters now are the actions. But more than ad-hoc patches, people want to see one thing: That the developers continue to believe in their game. That’s precisely what saved Battlefront 2 from sinking, saved Rainbow Six, and made Fortnite a multi-million hit of dollars. Constant updates, constant feedback.
The Random Zone doesn’t have to die as sadly as Battlefield 5’s battle royale Firestorm. Portal doesn’t have to remain a balancing wasteland of shuttered XP farms and failed zombie experiments. And All-out-Warfare needs new modes, expansions, weapons. Not just for season 2 in the fall of 2022, but already during the first season.
Is this realistic?
Honestly : If I was DICE (and DICE a person), I’d probably let Battlefield 2042 die. be more bumpy than the path to a new, better game. But hey, I’d be all the more surprised if the game managed to pull through.
Only if DICE massively changes its development model. The team needs nimble two-week sprints, quick fixes. A voice chat cannot wait until mid-April, but must arrive directly at the start of Season 1. The architecture of Battlefield 2042 is in fact designed for this: DICE was able, for example, to remove from the game broken weapons in no time after release, without having to install an additional update.
But it is also necessary that people exploit these possibilities. And I’m very uncertain about the team’s ability to set up such a system. The fact that the first season does not start until four months after the release of the album does not plead in its favor. Apparently, the mindset needed to flexibly keep a modern service game alive is still missing here. But of course I hope I’m wrong and season 1 surprises us all. In this case, switching to free2play could effectively save the game.