The Battlefield franchise is very close to my heart. It’s one of the franchises that I grew up with and it has shaped the gamer that I’ve become since the first installment in 2002, games like Battlefield 1942 and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault were the biggest games of the early ‘2000s and I sunk alot of time with them after coming from grade school.
As some sort of a lookback of the past 16 years that Battlefield has been standing strong, I wanted to delve into the history of the franchise before the new game is revealed. So join me in a retrospective and rose-tinted lookback at the franchise’s 16 year history. This list includes only PC Battlefield games.
Battlefield 1942 would be the beginning of the franchise. Battlefield 1942 introduced most of the franchise’s mechanics and the Conquest game mode. I spent alot of time after grade school coming home and playing the game, it would be one of the first ever multiplayer games that I got into. Unlike Medal of Honor: Allied Assault which was a smaller scale multiplayer mode, very similar to Call of Duty now, Battlefield 1942 immersed you in World War II with planes, tanks, and vehicles. It was a sight to see Shermans and P-59 Mustangs flying overhead as you charged the capture point, many of the mechanics we see now began here in 1942. The game would launch with two great expansions and one of them being The Road to Rome which is one of the greatest expansions ever produced.
Two years later, DICE would return to the stage with Battlefield: Vietnam and as a natural progression of the franchise, it would build upon the aspects of Battlefield 1942. It was very similar to 1942 with the way each faction had it’s own weapons and vehicles, the Americans would be incredibly loud with helicopters and M16 Assault Rifles while the VC had their own weapons and vehicles like the AK47. It had a mobile spawn point for the VC and this was to make it as real as possible to the real thing, during the Vietnam War, the Vietcong would build tunnels and move between them and for the first time, Vietnam would feature a 3D based minimap and airlifting of vehicles, a mechanic that hasn’t been seen since. I love Vietnam.
In 2005, DICE returned once again with Battlefield 2. This game was the PC Game of 2005, if you weren’t playing this then you were doing it all wrong. This was a classic PC game all around, I love this game and it’s my personal favorite out of the entire franchise. Battlefield 2 was the biggest departure from the franchise in my opinion because no longer did it take place in a historical timeframe like Vietnam or World War II but now in the confines of the modern day and introduced new mechanics that we see now including BattleRecord and Commander Mode, two features that hasn’t been since outside of Commander mode in Battlefield 4.
Battlefield 2 is set in 2007 during a world war that is not specified between various powers like the United States being aided by the European Union, Britain, and Chechen resistance are at war against Russia, China, and the fictional MEC. Battlefield 2 changed up the gameplay and introduced a XP based leveling system that we see now in modern day gaming including something that we think of when we think of Battlefield and that is Squads. Squads were formations that players were able to form to work more as a team with their friends or randoms, up to nine squads were able to be formed and each had a number and name. Battlefield 2 would go on and establish what we would later see in future games.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
EA DICE returned to the PC platform after two years of console-only exclusive games with Bad Company 2 , the sequel to the original game which launched in 2008 and a spin-off WW2 title in 2009. Bad Company 2 is one of my favorite games in the entire franchise as a whole, it continued the story of the BC crew in search of a special agent codenamed “Aguire.” who tips them to a Russian plot to invade the United States. The campaign would be one of the reasons why this installment would be so beloved
The main reason why Bad Company 2 is beloved is not only just the campaign but also it’s multiplayer and the Vietnam expansion which launched that Christmas. The multiplayer revolved around small-scale tactics and introduced Rush to the Battlefield franchise in which the opposing team has to plant the bomb while the other tram has to defend the bombsite, the mode was such a success that DICE would later implanted it in later installments. The multiplayer included the second iteration of the Frostbite Engine in which you could destroy entire buildings which is something that we wouldn’t see again as the Frostbite engine continued to evolve and iterate throughout the years.
A year later, DICE returned to the mainline Battlefield franchise which it would later stay in for the next six years. Battlefield 3 launched in October of 2011 and was a sequel to 2005’s Battlefield 2 and was set in the fictional conflict of 2014 in which the United States is involved in a conflict with Russia and Iran.
This is where the campaigns for Battlefield started to falter and arguably never reached the heights it once did with the Bad Company games. Even with the lackluster campaign, Battlefield 3 is said to be one of the best Battlefield games because of it’s epic multiplayer and epic moments that you could do within the multiplayer.
Battlefield 3’s multiplayer was the return to large-scale battlefield which wasn’t seen since 2005. It focused on large scale open maps with vehicles and jets rolling side by side with the infantry and focused mainly on Conquest. It was a return to traditional Battlefield. This Battlefield also introduced the Premium Pass system that would later be a part of the later two installments.
In 2013, DICE returned to the modern day with Battlefield 4,which was the sequel to Battlefield 3 and took place directly after it’s predecessor. Battlefield 4 takes place six years after the ending of Battlefield 3 during the fictional conflict of 2020 in which after the events of Battlefield 3, the US is still at a high tension rate with Russia due to a conflict that’s been going on for the past six years and China is on the brink of war as Admiral Chang wants to overthrow the Chinese government and if he succeeds, he will have the full backing of Russia so United States must go to war with the Chinese.
Battlefield 4 follows in the wake of the events of Battlefield 3 with much of the same characters returning. Upon release, Battlefield 4 was plagued by technical issues across all platforms throughout 2014 and 2015. As a result of these issues, EA was the target of multiple lawsuits to the point where the firm Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC launched an investigation into EA’s public statements. Shortly thereafter, another lawsuit followed from the firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP filed a similar lawsuit against EA for releasing false or misleading statements about the quality of the game.
Six months after the release of Battlefield 4, DICE LA and EA announced the CTE which let in a limited amount of players to test out multiple upcoming patches. By 2015, the game was mainly fixed and it had five expansions.
Battlefield 1 is the latest release of the Battlefield franchise. Four years after the release of Battlefield 4, DICE went to a place where nobody else has been before in the triple A space and that was the First World War. Battlefield 1 is the prequel to the entire Battlefield franchise.
Battlefield 1 represents a new era for the franchise as it changed most if not all of the franchises’ trademarks. No longer was it a large scale game similar to Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 3, it changed the map designs to something resembling Bad Company 2 in which it became a medium to close-ranged affair to mimic what occurred during World War I. It felt like it was a large game but in reality, it was a medium to close-ranged affair and it changed much of the gunplay.
DICE realized that it was okay to bring things over from Bad Company 2 and have some things influenced by Call of Duty. Majority of the maps were medium to semi-large areas with gunplay being up in your face, gameplay was brutal and harsh. It brought World War I to life, it brought this unknown war into the forefront and into the mainstream. 20th century warfare was very much different to that of the warfare of today and it portrayed the combat of the conflict accurately despite Battlefield 1 not being historically accurate at all. The game mainly was focused on Conquest Large and Operations, a new mode that appeared with this game and it was all about replicating the battles of World War I. The multiplayer was praised including the singleplayer. It launched with 4 DLC’s, a first for the BF franchise.
What’s next for the Battlefield franchise? Who knows. A rumor popped up yesterday that the reveal will be later today so we shall find out very soon enough. Thanks for delving into the franchises’ history with me, I’m quite excited to see where the franchise will go next.
Here is to you, Battlefield. Keep going on strong!