Battlefield 2042 has suffered from a number of issues, some that were very obviously prevalent during the beta. It’s the lowest rated title in the series on Metacritic and is rated “Mostly Negative” by Steam users. So what happened? Though reports of trouble emerged before release, insider Tom Henderson provided an in-depth report on the development timeline, detailing where things went wrong.
As it turns out, things were looking messy from the very beginning. Electronic Arts was looking to compete with Battle Royale titles and regular shooters which resulted in many developers leaving with the release of Battlefield 5 (especially since their concepts weren’t looked at). The publisher’s memo was essentially to “copy what’s popular,” and classes would be scrapped by early 2020. Sometime between April and August 2020, it properly turned into a Battlefield title instead of a Battle Royale game with a focus on 128 players and Specialists with the originally concept being shifted to Hazard Zone.
It was only around August 2020 that production truly started, which means about one year and three months of development time on the current product. During this time, the developer faced issues with cross-gen development since hardware had to be shared remotely. Interestingly, the leaked trailer was in the works since early 2021 and utilizes Battlefield 3/4 assets.
Also, the whole deal about being “ahead of schedule” was apparently a lie (as noted by current and previous DICE developers). By March 2021, the studio was overwhelmed and sought assistance, which is around the time that Criterion was announced to be on board. Unfortunately, lack of experience along with engine issues caused problems, and as the months went by, the UI would also be a big sore point.
Following the technical test, which was noted to be unstable, Henderson started receiving details on the game’s development being in a bad state (mostly due to management issues). The closed beta, which launched after a delay, was also clearly more of an alpha. Overall, a severe lack of time along with many developers leaving DICE (to the point that it may as well be renamed since it’s like a different studio at this point) contributed to the majority of issues.
Interestingly enough, Battlefield: Bad Company 3 was also scrapped at some point since Electronic Arts felt it wouldn’t sell. As it currently stands, Battlefield 2042 is still receiving updates but EA is seemingly planning a hero shooter following a complete revamp of the series’ development model. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.