EA's gambit to have a Battlefield 2042 free weekend as Modern Warfare 3 got its multiplayer beta seems to have paid off. First noted by PCGamesN, the multiplayer FPS, which was lambasted by fans when it launched in 2021, nearly matched its all-time peak player count on Steam—102,009 according to SteamDB, just shy of that 2021 high of 105,397.
It's an impressive showing from a shooter many had all but written off, but there's a lot to recommend 2042 at this late date aside from it having been temporarily free. Back in March, PCG's resident FPS aficionado, Morgan Park, found 2042 to be a redeemed shooter. The reintroduction of the Battlefield series' classes, new maps, and fresh Specialist roles all contributed to a vastly improved game.
It also doesn't hurt that Battlefield and BattleBit Remastered's style of high player count, less rabidly competitive shooter is pretty singular in today's sea of comp queue esports and battle royales. Battlefield and BattleBit are, god forbid, multiplayer shooters you can load up on the weekend with a few friends and just have fun with.
And, lest we forget, it wasn't even all doom and gloom back at 2042's rocky launch. PC Gamer executive editor Tyler Wilde awarded it an 80% in our review, declaring that "This is a bolder Battlefield than we've had in a long time, and I'm having far more fun working through what's good and bad about its extensive changes than I ever did arguing about what Battlefield 5's average time-to-kill should be."
So, even though the free weekend is coming to a close, it doesn't seem like a half-bad time to jump back into Battlefield 2042. Steam player counts aren't the be-all and end-all, but this weekend's little triumph feels like a notable milestone in this shooter's redemption arc.