Battlefield 2042 won't include a singleplayer campaign, but you'll still be able to play it by yourself, because DICE is including AI bots this time. Aside from making solo play possible, the bots will "backfill" the 128-player servers, and you won't be able to opt out of encountering them, EA said today. The publisher told The Verge something similar last month.
There's a cap on the number of AI soldiers that will appear in any given Conquest or Breakthrough match, and EA says that, in general, "you will not experience more AI soldiers than players unless the match is still filling-up, or almost empty." Real players will displace bots as they join.
Ideally, Battlefield 2042 will be popular enough to fill every match (except for one per region, I suppose, if the number of total players isn't a multiple of 128), but DICE has apparently put a lot of energy into making these AI soldiers play decently. They were touched on during the announcement in June, and EA explains more in today's blog post:
"AI Soldiers are intended to play the game like how you would play it yourself. However they are not designed to be Specialists and cannot use Traits and Specialties. You will see them undergoing certain tasks such as using the vehicle call-in system and engaging with vehicles, or capturing objectives. Whilst they can't use the Wingsuit, they do have the intelligence to decide between engaging with you via enemy fire, flanking, throwing grenades or even reviving a downed squad mate."
Aside from helping to fill up partially populated servers, like they do in Chivalry 2 and certain battle royale games of late, Battlefield 2042's bots will make co-op or solo play possible. (You still have to be online even if you're playing solo, EA said today.)
Sometimes I just want to muck around with friends without randos getting in the way, so the prospect of co-op Battlefield has me curious.
As for bots as server filler, I suspect there won't be that many in Conquest matches, at least in Battlefield 2042's early days. DICE is working on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S crossplay, so there ought to be a pretty big player pool.
I don't mind bots as a way to keep teams full as people drop in and out, but I hope I don't frequently join in the middle of a match after a handful of players have been chewing through bots for 10 minutes—that always makes the whole thing feel like a bit of a wash.
We'll see! Battlefield 2042 is scheduled to release on October 22. At EA Play Live next week, on July 22, we're going to find out about the secret, nostalgic mode that DICE LA (now called Ripple Effect) has been working on, and after that there's yet another mystery mode to learn about, so we don't have anything like the full picture just yet. Until then, here's everything we know about Battlefield 2042.