Battlefield 5 will launch with two playable factions, more will join as the war unfolds

Electronic Arts laid out its long-term plans for Battlefield 5 in a new blog post on the Tides of War, the name it's using to describe the "evolving journey" that players will take through the course of the Second World War. Players will create Companies of soldiers, weapons, and vehicles, all of them customizable and available in all multiplayer modes and Combined Arms. Players can have one Company per faction, beginning with the British and Germans, the two multiplayer factions that will be available at launch. 

Soldiers will be broken down into four basic classes—Medic, Scout, Support, and Assault—that can be further customized with loadouts and cosmetics. Earning experience through gameplay will unlock Archetypes, which are essentially specialized classes: The Support soldier can opt to be an Engineer or a Machine Gunner, for instance. New Archetypes will be added as the Tides of War rolls on, and "exotic Archetypes" like Paratrooper Recon will enable even more focused specialization. 

"Tides of War will be an evolving journey featuring a new narrative every few months. Each chapter of Tides of War will focus on a particular aspect of the era, with unique gameplay experiences to drive players forward," EA said. "We will use content, soldiers, visuals, and narrative to immerse our players deeper into the gameplay."

Of particular importance are timed events, including multi-week Grand Operations, Special Assignments, and new Missions, which "will push further into the unexpected and influential battles of WW2 over the course of Battlefield 5." 

EA emphasized that all Tides of War content will be free: "There will be no Premium Pass. Your Company will evolve side-by-side with Battlefield V. We want to keep the entire community together through this journey." 

Starting with just two multiplayer factions might seem limiting, but (with all due respect to France) it reflects the big-picture fall of Europe, the first of Battlefield 5's "themed experiences of the war." More information about how the Tides of War will progress from there will hopefully be revealed at E3, but quibbles about "realism" vs "authenticity" aside, the promise of moving through the war in a somewhat linear fashion (remember, we went from this to this in the span of half a decade) sounds really interesting. 

Battlefield 5 is set for release on October 19. Here's a rundown of everything we know about it so far. 

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.