Battlefield 2042's 'Zombie Survival' mode pulled after it immediately turns into an XP farm

Battlefield 2042 Zombie Survival
(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Just a day after featuring a Zombie Survival mode in Battlefield 2042, the developers removed it from the official playlist because players were using it to farm XP that can be used to unlock weapons, ribbons, and other in-game content in other modes.

Zombie Survival was launched in Portal, where both Battlefield 2042 players and devs can design and host custom game types ranging from serious to silly. XP farming in Portal isn't new. We wrote about XP farming in November 2021, after the Gold and Ultimate editions of the game went live: Small teams of human players on XP farming servers would square off against large hordes of bots with minimal health and no weapons, mowing them down en masse for quick and easy character advancement.

The Zombie Survival mode sounds like essentially the same thing: A squad of four players has to hold out against 60 zombies for an hour, the catch being that the zombies are actually infinite: There are only 60 at a time, but it's impossible to kill them all. As GameSpot described it, the zombies in the mode look like standard AI-controlled soldiers, but they can't sprint and can only attack with knives. 

It was meant to be a time-limited event, available until January 27, but EA pulled it the day after it launched when it became apparent that players were grinding out ridiculous amounts of XP, throwing the rest of the game out of whack.

"We've removed the Zombie's mode and replaced it with Gun Game," tweeted Justin Wiebe, senior design director at Ripple Effect. "Hopefully we can fix it in the future and keep it in alignment with standard game progression. We've also tightened out review process to make sure this doesn't happen again. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

"I think there was potential for the mode but [it] needs to go back into the workshop for a bit," Wiebe said in a separate reply tweet. "Regardless, we need to be focusing on more important issues like improving core XP progression for BF Portal." EA revealed the first round of changes coming to Battlefield Portal's XP system last week.

Wiebe also admitted that the mode shouldn't have been passed by EA's review process, saying, "I think our desire to create a fun zombies mode clouded our ability to see such a simple thing like the impact it would have on progression."

Players in the Battlefield 2042 subreddit were disappointed by the removal of Zombie Survival mode, and not just because it was an easy way to hammer out XP: Multiple redditors said it was also quite a lot of fun to play. There's also widespread acknowledgement that the mode was letting players crank out way too much XP way too quickly, however. 

Outside of Portal, Battlefield 2042 developers are tuning the "core XP progression," rolling out a new scoreboard next month, and also have issues with All-Out Warfare matchmaking and all-platform VOIP to deal with.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.