Battlefield 2042's first season delayed to focus on addressing player criticism

Image for Battlefield 2042's first season delayed to focus on addressing player criticism
(Image credit: EA)

Battlefield 2042 players have had a lot of gripes with the military FPS since it launched, and developer DICE has responded with balance tweaks, bug fixes, and the promise that it's listening. Here's the part where all that listening becomes listendoing: Battlefield 2042's first season has been pushed back from spring to early summer while the studio incorporates player feedback on the UI, squad dynamics, specialists, and the stuff coming in the upcoming season itself.

In a blog post today, BF2042 senior producer Ryan McArthur said that DICE will use the extra few months to make "extensive fixes" and add new features. Three of those features, which are coming "as soon as possible," are voice chat, player profiles, and a redesigned scoreboard.

The new scoreboard won't look exactly like the prototype we were shown recently, which some players criticized for not fully emulating the classic style. DICE plans to separate the teams into their own columns for the version releasing in the next update, and a later version will include death counts and an end-of-round report. It's going back to how it was in previous Battlefields, in other words.

That's been the general request from most Battlefield 2042 critics: Make it more like Battlefield 5. I personally like Battlefield 2042's big 128-player maps, sparse as they can be, but they've been accused of being too big, and the addition of specialist characters has been maligned as well. DICE says that every grievance is being looked at.

The studio's plan is to tackle topics one at a time, explaining what it's thinking of changing and why, observing the player response, and then presenting a revised plan (the scoreboard was perhaps a test run of that process). A team is currently "analyzing specialists" for possible changes, but the next big topic will be DICE's plans to address feedback on "openness and lack of cover" in upcoming maps. 

It feels significant that changes to specialists in general are being considered, although the end result could just be tweaks to individual traits and gadgets. Specialists certainly aren't going away. Each of Battlefield 2042's four planned seasons will introduce a new specialist, and that's still happening—Year 1 is just starting later than expected. Those who own the Year 1 Pass will get some exclusive cosmetic items in the next update to apologize for the delay.

DICE says it'll also be working on gun balancing and developing a "refined ping system" and "an improved reward loop for when you and your squad play the objective." Battlefield Portal, the make-your-own-mode tool, will continue to get updates from Ripple Effect Studios, too.

We expect to hear more about Battlefield 2042 and the season one delay during EA's earnings call later today. It's pretty routine news—Battlefield 5's first big content update was also delayed—so I don't expect any spit takes from investment bankers. 

I also don't anticipate any kind of free-to-play announcement, which was the subject of some speculative reports recently. EA CEO Andrew Wilson did say a few months ago that a Battlefield "free-to-play component" makes sense in the future, but by all appearances EA is moving forward with the original Battlefield 2042 plan.

EA is ramping up production of Battlefield stuff under the watch of Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella, who knows a little something about free-to-play games, so it's certainly still possible that Battlefield could pull a Warzone and release a stand-alone free-to-play spin-off at some point. Maybe that's what Ripple Effect is working on, but if it happens at all, I wouldn't expect it soon.

As for Battlefield 2042, you can read DICE's plans for the first half of 2022 in the season one delay announcement.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.