- Jul 6, 2021
Battlefield™ 2042 is the next generation of the series’ exciting sandbox gameplay, containing three distinct multiplayer experiences. We’ve spoken about All-Out Warfare, and Battlefield Portal already, and we’re still to reveal Battlefield Hazard Zone, an all-new, high-stakes, squad-based...
Battlefield™ 2042 is the next generation of the series’ exciting sandbox gameplay, containing three distinct multiplayer experiences. We’ve spoken about All-Out Warfare, and Battlefield Portal already, and we’re still to reveal Battlefield Hazard Zone, an all-new, high-stakes, squad-based game-type for the Battlefield franchise that we can’t wait to tell you about. But before we get to that, we’re going to be talking about the narrative of Battlefield 2042 and how we’re telling the story of that world.
Multiplayer is the core of Battlefield, however, we’ll also be telling a compelling narrative through a new lens for the series. The World of 2042 will play a vital role in how we tell the story, and it's one we plan on unraveling over time.
You'll learn more about the world through the eyes of the Specialists that you play as. Each one has their own story that connects them to our ongoing narrative, and to the world itself.
Discoveries you make in the game will also expand upon the narrative, while stories that exist outside of the game itself will aid you in piecing together the pieces that make up the World of 2042.
The world of Battlefield 2042 is chaos. Resources are dwindling as violent climate change takes hold and the United States and Russia are on the verge of war. As entire countries collapse, people find themselves with no nation to call home. These nomads are known as the Non-Patriated (“No-Pats”), a diverse group of people who have bound together in clusters across the globe in order to survive the turbulent new world.
In Battlefield 2042, you’ll play as Non-Patriated soldiers with unique skills who’ve taken up arms. They are known as Specialists, tasked with carrying out military operations. In-game, each of these unique Specialists have their own specialty and trait that you can use to give yourself the advantage in combat.
The World of 2042 has been ravaged by unpredictable and volatile weather. The city of Doha (AKA the map Hourglass) knows this all too well.
Each map in Battlefield 2042 has its own story. For Hourglass, we wanted to tell the story of a city that’s not only been ravaged by sand but one where life has ground to a halt.
Extreme conditions have become part of daily life for the citizens of Doha and you’ll see these highlighted throughout the map on advertisements informing citizens what they should do in the event of a storm. Lining the streets are signs detailing evacuation procedures. You’ll notice cars that have been left behind, in the process of being claimed by the sand their inhabitants were once trying to escape. Now they lie still, providing you with potential cover from enemy fire.
Throughout your journey across the World of 2042, you may notice signs and logos on buildings and vehicles. Some of the organizations and businesses we’ve created for the world will be present in multiple maps. Within Hourglass you may notice logos of Synseco, an agricultural company based out of Egypt, featuring heavily on Renewal. What are the reasons for Synseco’s presence in Hourglass?
Only time will tell.
Other organizations you will encounter include Daesong Electronic and Four Sec, a private security company whose growth increased rapidly as the world plunged into turmoil. Some are quick to point out that they have the backing of numerous wealthy private investors, while American media outlets would likely call out their close ties to Russia.
These are just a few of the fictional organizations that you will encounter in the World of 2042, with many being specific to various maps and geographical locations.
As you make your way through Battlefield 2042’s maps, you may hear broadcasts from the America United News Network or you might hear the same story from the Russians’ point of view. Each of these voices aims to give you something to reflect upon and will help to give context to the events that are unfolding within the world we’re creating. Definitely keep an ear out...
With Battlefield 2042, we’re dedicated to building an engaging world for you to experience. All of these in-game elements will help push our story forward, playing a part in building the puzzle that is the World of 2042. Look beyond the boundaries of the game, and you will find even more of those puzzle pieces.
You know what the No-Pats are, but just who are they? How did they come to be? Why and how do they fight? This past week we published The Journey of the No-Pats, a multi-chapter narrative piece written by journalist Kayvan Bechir about his experiences while traveling with the No-Pats (as well as several Specialists) while the world’s nations fall to scarce resources, greed, and violent climate change.
Alongside answering questions about the No-Pats’ fight for survival and how they operate, this piece takes readers on a journey through a series of locations across Battlefield 2042. Why is Doha drowning in sand? Bechir lays out the hard facts of the city’s failure to fend off desertification and the suffering of its people: bankruptcy, famine, and political strife, all culminating in a cataclysmic sandstorm assaulting an unprepared metropolis at the same time you’re waging war in the city streets. If you want to know more about what Doha and other locations you’ll be fighting across in Battlefield 2042, be sure to read The Journey of the No-Pats.
At the conclusion of The Journey of the No-Pats, we released an original cinematic piece called Exodus that explored the final chapter of the story in greater detail and reintroduced an old friend.
Battlefield™ 4’s Kimble “Irish” Graves returns in 2042 as one of the prominent leaders of the multi-factioned No-Pats and as a playable Specialist. Michael K. Williams, the original actor for Irish in Battlefield 4, has also returned to help bring the character to life once more.
In Battlefield 2042, Irish finds himself at a crossroads with the mysterious Oz, another leader amongst the No-Pats. Irish wishes to tend to his people and keep them out of wars fought by the superpowers of the world. Oz stokes the flames of war, believing that the old world must burn for the new one to be born.
Irish, as the leader of one of the groups of No-Pats, gives commands and expects them to be followed without question. He’s a man who’s been hardened by great loss who chooses to pay his respect to the fallen by using his skills to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves.
Specialty: Fortification System
As an Engineer, Irish is a great asset to any team. His specialty is the Fortification System, which allows him to place two separate items into the world – the DCS Deployable Cover and APS-36 Shootdown Sentinel.
DCS Deployable cover
You can place the cover on nearly any flat surface, creating a small protective barrier that allows your allies to see out through its bulletproof glass. This barrier can protect you and allies from incoming fire until its health pool is depleted. As Irish, you can place multiple covers on a map.
Need to revive someone? Protect yourself against a sniper attack in the open? Hold the capture point for just a few more precious seconds? Using multiple covers, you can create your own small outposts to help you buy time. Obtaining some medical and ammo crates and teaming up with Boris and his SG-36 Sentry Gun will allow you to build your own castle-like fort.
APS-36 Shootdown Sentinel
The APS-36 is a rocket’s worst nightmare. Once placed into the world on nearly any flat surface, it eliminates incoming explosive projectiles within proximity (grenades, rockets, etc), turning a once deadly weapon into a puff of smoke.
Placing the APS-36 next to a vehicle will give it automatic protection from incoming missiles while placing it behind cover can force the enemy to reposition in their attack. But beware: an EMP or savvy hack attack can put the system out of action.
Irish’s Veteran trait allows him to dig in and stay alive. He will always spawn with a small amount of body armor that can be replenished whenever he collects dropped ammo packs from defeated foes.
To celebrate the return of Irish, we are excited to announce that as an added incentive in pre-ordering Battlefield 2042, you will receive his exclusive Battle Hardened legendary skin. The Battle Hardened skin showcases the outfit he wears in the short film Exodus!
In Battlefield 2042, we’ll be telling you stories in a new way for the franchise. We decided to sit down with the Narrative team at DICE to recap (and go a little bit more in-depth) into the World of 2042 and how we’ll be telling its story over time. Grab a drink, sit back and without any further ado - it’s over to the Narrative Team!
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your role at DICE?
Justin Langley: Hello! My name is Justin Langley, I’m a Narrative Designer at DICE. I help develop the narrative for characters and game modes.
Michael Hartin: Hi, like Justin, I’m also a Narrative Designer on Battlefield 2042 working on world-building elements. I focus on the physical world - that starts with the maps, but also goes into details like in-game organisations and media outlets. If it’s a map (say for example, a city) then I’m also responsible for what advertisements, and other world building elements, that are displayed there and what they can tell you about that location.
Eric Holmes: Hi, I’m Eric Holmes, World Director on the game. I get to work with talented people like Justin, Michael Ben, and the rest of our team, and what we try to do as a group is contextualize everything in-game. So our work is ultimately about establishing and answering questions like Where are we? and What’s going on? And we’re also helping the Battlefield 2042 team at large do what they do.
We work together as a narrative team, but we also have to function as a kind of network to the rest of the development team as well. In a lot of ways, narrative is something that helps tie all the different aspects together through context.
Ben Walke: I’m a producer and I work closely with Eric, Justin, Mike and the rest of the Narrative team. In terms of what I do: I help solve problems, work on priorities and do my best to ensure we are always hitting the quality targets we set ourselves. There’s also a lot of wrangling and acting as a shepherd at times. In short, I try to make sure that the team has everything they need to deliver on the fantastic work they do.
How did you start writing the narrative for Battlefield 2042?
Langley: We started with the central theme of adaptation in the face of crisis. Knowing that we wanted it to be in the future it had to feel realistic and grounded, which is why we ended up in 2042..
Once a timeframe was chosen we began to look at the state of the world today. We started looking for things which seemed interesting to us and began to expand upon them. Always asking ourselves, where would that thing be in 10, 15, 20 years time? Once we hit that point, we then started diving into the ideas of certain kinds of events,if they continued, how would that change the world?
We explored different avenues of how we wanted to approach that and what kind of things we wanted to do. What we found is that one event in the world, it’s a crisis; you only see it on the news for a few weeks. But when it’s multiple events happening all at once, everything becomes chaotic. It’s that chaos which creates a fun sandbox to play in, and pull from. It gave us a lot of opportunities to make the World of 2042 feel like it was changing — maybe for the better or in some cases, for the worse.
One thing that is interesting to us is how one event can seem completely different when filtered through three entirely different perspectives. In the game we have Specialists, and they all come from varying backgrounds. Although they’re all aware of these events, some have different perspectives, and some of those perspectives might differ and there might be some conversation about that in the game as well.
I think it’s important you get a lot of different voices on the ideas of these cataclysmic events because it’s so easy to get locked into a singular, superficial perspective. One of these things we’re trying to show here is that a broad spectrum of people are affected by the events in-game. And particularly with the No-Pats and the No-Pat Task Force you’ll be playing as, it’s about bringing those perspectives together and kind of unifying them to do something about it. And I think that’s a powerful message.
Hartin: One of the interesting challenges was to go with the idea that the in-game outlets don’t have to tell the truth. There’s obviously a conflict between the United States and Russia but neither side has to tell you the truth about it. If they want you to align with their point of view, they’re definitely going to hide things that they don’t want you to know about. So there’s texture there that I find interesting.
Holmes: I think we’re in a world right now where the media has never been more confusing in a global sense. Our sense of reality is diminished and there’s a cacophony of voices, and people finding their own truth. I think the real kind of genius of Michael’s work is that it lets you be in a vivid version of this game world. You can subscribe to different perspectives while you’re sharing a reality with other players because you’re on the ground seeing what’s happening.
Langley: Exactly. That’s the most exciting part to me because you’ll hear these outlets talking about something and you’ll be able to look around, see what’s going on and say, “that’s not what’s happening at all.”
But that’s the perspective they’re giving the general public, who isn’t there as an eyewitness like the player, which is a good allegory for a lot of military conflicts in the real world. That element just gives this a sort of touchstone of reality.
Hartin: For example, we have the perspectives of the Americans, the perspective of the Russians, and then we also have a conspiracy outlet that has their own sort of fun perspective on everything.
It’s a really different and fun way of storytelling since it’s all built into the level; you’ll find the narrative if you want to find it. If you’re less inclined to do that, you’ll just shoot the enemy team and move on.
We tried to build the story in a discoverable sense. So, if you’re walking around the map… maybe keep your eyes and ears on alert for some visual and audio cues.
What goes into building out the lore of a location and infusing it into the map?
Langley: That can be determined by what kind of map it is and how big it is. If you’re doing something in a dense city, you really have to start digging for all those little road signs and shops. Everything in a city tells a story.
Hartin: Yeah, exactly. The cities are some of the hardest ones. For example, on Hourglass you have the stadium, which has advertisements for events that never happened due to the city’s evacuation, like a soccer tournament coming up, a band performing, and so on. You need that to create a sense of immersion and reality.
Walke: It’s definitely a task you don’t finish in one go either. We can’t say “Okay, we start today and within three months we’ve done it all.” A lot of the work continues to evolve over the production timeline of the map.
Langley: And when it comes to sculpting characters and their backstories, we want to make sure these characters fit into the wider narrative but also in the minute-to-minute story.
Michael and I take the elements and work together to make sure there’s some cross-pollination occurring. The end result is one where characters of the world don’t feel like they’re from a completely different world than the one they’re going to be fighting in. They belong here.
It’s a lot of fun.
How do you go about building new characters?
Langley: Once we have a character design to work with, the next step is to ensure that the character fits into the world.
We'll take a look at the timeline of events that we’ve put together and see if there are any natural points that pair up nicely with the new character. Some of these events are the ones you’ll see in-game, others you might not, while some might appear later in the game’s life. Our timeline is a narrative roadmap that we utilise to ensure that things fit authentically.
We then start to consider the other characters we already have in the game. It’s also important that not only does any new character fit within the world, but they also need to have a good dynamic with our existing characters.
Everyone is different in the world and we want to make sure we represent that aspect with different perspectives and personalities. Some people are aggressive, some people are friendly. Some are optimistic, others pessimistic. We want to create this broad range of characters that can play with one another in a dynamic way.
Once these pieces start coming together we then begin to work at a more granular level on the character. What kind of personality do they have? We’ll start diving into their background, their histories, the country they’re from, their age. It ends up being a long time in spreadsheets and documents trying to map everything together.
It’s important for us that none of our characters end up feeling like a stereotype. If anything, we try to break that stereotype where we can. We’re just trying to make the strongest character possible, and then presenting that in an interesting way.
Walke: As an example, going back to the reactions from players first learning about the Specialist, Navin Rao. Seeing the validation from players from India or with an Indian background letting us know we’ve done this character justice and we’re not just leaning on stereotypes. It validates getting these characters right, and the importance of it.
What are you most excited about for players to experience in this world?
Langley: One of the things I think is the most fun is that because this takes place in a fictional future, I’m excited to see players explore that idea of What If and that they get to experience that. It was really fun to create that kind of fantasy for them to play in. I really hope they look at the map and wonder about the story behind it, the reality behind it. That What If factor is something I love to invoke in our players.
Hartin: There are seven locations at launch but it’s a massive world that we’re in, with possibilities in every single location. My hope is that we capture our players’ imagination and they say “What’s happening at X or Y?” Because obviously we’ve thought a ton about what’s happening inside the world but I’d love to see more requests like “show us what’s happening at this location” and then having the chance to do that is what I’m most excited about.
Holmes: It’s about creating a world with possibilities that you haven’t seen before. We have a blank page. We still want to have all the same value of previous Battlefield games: immersion and believability, but as a part of answering what we want on that page, we can surprise people in a new way. This world, this setting, what we’ve got going on in 2042 with our environments and characters lets us do things you haven’t seen before. And that’s exciting.
Walke: For me, it’s going to be really exciting to see how players start to pull all our interconnected threads together as they play the game. I’ve always thought the best stories, and at least the best worlds are those that leave a little hidden behind the curtain. I like that we’re not coming out and saying everything. You’re not going to load up the website and see a full wiki breakdown of the world, although I’m confident someone out there in the community is already working on this.
As a narrative team, is there anything you’d like to say to the community?
Walke: CT When? Or would that be BB When?
In all seriousness though, we’ve seen the reactions within the community so far and the entire team has been blown away by them. Launch is getting ever closer and we can’t wait to step onto the battlefield with you all. From a narrative point of view, we’re incredibly excited to be telling the story of our world in 2042, the setting, characters and everything in between, we hope you enjoy it.
That’s all for today. These past weeks we’ve given you a closer look into the World of 2042 with Journey of the No-Pats and the Exodus Short Film. The story will continue unfolding as we head into Battlefield 2042’s release and live service, and we can’t wait to see your reactions to the world we’ve built for you.
Stay safe, No-Pats.