With Battlefield 6, EA and Dice are stepping into a battle they can’t afford to lose. The Battlefield fanbase appeared at one point to be dwindling as gamers move to headline-grabbing Battle Royale shooters. Now, this storied first-person shooter franchise has a chance to show why it has endured for nearly two decades.
To do so, it will need to avoid past problems, many of which were self-inflicted. Battlefield 3 launched in 2011 with severe glitches; Battlefield 4 in 2013 was in even worse shape, and Battlefield: Hardline was an odd departure from the traditional war-based games. The latest entry, Battlefield V, followed the well-received Battlefield 1, but was unfairly bashed by fans in the buildup and failed to reach sales estimates.
It didn’t help that the Battle Royale mode, Firestorm, arrived late, and while it was a good addition (with some flaws), it failed to gain enough traction to be sustainable. Try entering a round today and you’ll face long load times, which isn’t the case with the traditional conquest modes.
Despite recent bumps in the road, Battlefield fans have reason to be excited about Battlefield 6. DICE, the studio behind every entry to date, is taking its time, opting for a two-year development cycle instead of the typical annual release. DICE isn’t being shy about hyping the game, either, throwing out bold claims, like that it will reach an “unprecedented scale.”
We already know a lot about the game, though some critical details are missing, some of which may be revealed in a Spring 2021 announcement (via GamesRadar). Until then, here is everything you need to know about Battlefield 6.
Battlefield 6 release date
There is no confirmed release date yet, but November 2021 is our best guess. We know the game will launch in the 2021 holiday season, per EA CEO and director Andrew Wilson. That narrows things down to a late-October-to-early-December release date.
Looking at past Battlefield launch dates, late October or November seem the most likely release months. Battlefield V arrived on November 20 while Battlefield 1, Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 3 were all released in late October.
Given delays across the industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we would expect Battlefield 6 to arrive at the end of that timeline, in late November. However, the game may, in fact, be ahead of schedule.
“The team is focused and the game is ahead of our internal milestones,” Wilson said during a February earnings call. “We will reveal the game in the spring and deliver a defining Battlefield experience for our players in holiday 2021.” EA CFO Blake Jorgensen expanded on that claim, saying DICE is “way ahead of where we were in prior product cycles.”
Helping DICE with the creation of Battlefield 6 is Criterion Games, the makers of Need for Speed. With Criterion assisting Dice, the next Need for Speed entry has been delayed until 2022, according to EA’s chief studio officer Laura Miele.
We hope EA uses any extra time and resources to iron out bugs and make Battlefield 6 the most stable launch yet. We should get a proper release date any week now, with the big reveal arriving in the spring.
Battlefield 6: Is it on PS5 and Xbox Series X?
“The technical advancements of the new consoles are allowing the team to deliver on a true next-gen vision for the franchise,” Wilson said.
Battlefield 6 will almost certainly be available on last-gen consoles as well. That shouldn’t come as a surprise — supply shortages mean only a fraction of gamers has upgraded to the latest systems. According to Eurogamer, EA chief Andrew Wilson told investors that BF6 will be available on “both current-gen and next-gen” consoles to ensure the largest player base.
Of course, if you want to the best experience, you will need to play on PS5 or Xbox Series X as they will benefit from improved physics, AI, and a more “immersive nature.”
Battlefield 6 trailers
Dice and EA have not yet released an official trailer for Battlefield 6. We will update this article with the latest clips and trailers when they become available, which could be as soon as May.
Until then, Dozens of photos were uploaded to Imgur supposedly showing still images of a gameplay trailer. Before you press on the link, be warned that whoever posted these put obnoxious watermarks over most of them that conceal a good bit of detail. If you want to see how the trailer might look, someone stitched these photos together to create a stop motion style video.
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Moreover, BF6 was briefly featured in an EA Play 2020 clip. In it, we see a collapsing building and some remarkable character animations with so much detail that you can see the blood vessels moving in a soldier’s eyes.
The latest news suggests an official trailer could be released in June. In a teasing tweet, the Battlefield 6 official account wrote: “Words that rhyme with Soon. June. Boom.” This all but confirms a trailer for next month, and if we had to put money on it, we’d guess it will arrive during the virtual E3 between June 12 and June 15.
Previous rumors suggest the trailer will show some type of rocket launch happening on an island in Japan. The point of view is from a helicopter and there are some fighter planes approaching. If this is accurate, BF6 will likely take place in modern warfare or in the near future.
Battlefield 6: Maps, weapons and destruction
What can the PS5 and Xbox Series X do for the franchise? Wilson said Battlefield 6 will “bring massive and immersive battles to life with more players than ever.” We can only assume that means large-scale warfare with bigger maps and possibly larger teams.
The Battlefield franchise has long pitted two teams of 32 players against each other, creating hectic 64-player battles. Based on recent leaks (via leaker Tom Henderson), Battlefield 6 maps are being “designed with 128+ players in mind.”
Maps will apparently have “unprecedented scale” and the next version of Battlefield takes “all the destruction, player agency, and vehicle and weapon combat that the franchise is known for and elevates it to another level,” Wilson said.
Along with more players per round, we can expect Battlefield 6 to take destructible environments to a new level. Henderson, whose Twitter account is currently suspended, posted photos that supposedly showed buildings in Battlefield 6 before and after a battle. The images suggest players will have the ability to destroy entire cities.
Henderson says the 128-player maps will be available only on the newest generation of consoles, so Xbox One and PS4 players will be stuck with the standard 32 vs. 32 game modes, which will also be available to PS5 and Xbox Series X owners. Those playing older hardware will see visual downgrades and less destructibility.
There are no confirmed maps so far but the leaked screenshots and trailers show an island setting, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have played previous entries. Wake Island alone has been featured in six official Battlefield games since appearing in the original Battlefield 1942. Also shown in the trailer are dense urban landscapes similar to those found in Battlefield 2 or Battlefield 4.
Battlefield 6 setting: Modern or future warfare
From what we’re hearing, Battlefield 6 will most likely be set in the near future. Again, we turn to Tom Henderson for these claims. He says Battlefield 6 will be a spiritual successor to Battlefield 3, the acclaimed entry released in 2011 that was set in the modern era with maps placed throughout the world. Those were located in Paris, Tehran, Iraq, New York City, Wake Island and other areas of the Persian Gulf.
I suspect a return to modern warfare will be welcomed by the Battlefield faithful. Some of the best games in the franchise — Battlefield 2, Bad Company, Bad Company 2 — were played on a modern battlefield during a non-specific conflict rather than a past war (Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 1, etc.).
Going modern also gives Dice more flexibility when it comes to weapons, skins and other customization options. The studio received unnecessary flack for the historical inaccuracies shown in early Battlefield V gameplay. The game was also subject to sexism from those who thought the inclusion of woman soldiers damaged the authenticity of the game. These criticisms will be avoided if DICE opts for a non-historical conflict.
We can almost guarantee Battlefield will be set in a modern era although sometime in the near future seems even more likely. The leaked trailers show drones, quadcopters and military robots that look very similar to the robotic dogs in the Black Mirror episode “Metalhead.”
Will Battlefield 6 support crossplay?
Yep, Battlefield 6 could support crossplay, meaning PlayStation, Xbox and PC gamers could play against each other.
Henderson says BF6 will feature crossplay between all platforms and possibly last-gen consoles. While I’m personally against allowing PC players into the equation, crossplay should expedite matchmaking, especially with rounds featuring 128 players.
One of the major problems with Battlefield V’s Firestorm Battle Royale mode was the time it took to enter a match. Long wait times could resolve with crossplay as it opens the door to a wider player base.
What about Battle Royale?
This is another gray area. A Battle Royale mode, called Firestorm, was released for Battlefield V several months after the game launched. It was well-received (after multiple updates) but long load times caused by not enough players queuing up ultimately killed the mode.
Battle Royale remains a hot genre and exists as a game mode in Call of Duty and the delayed Halo: Infinite. Criterion was the primary studio that worked on Firestorm so we wouldn’t be surprised if it were tasked to create the Battle Royale mode for Battlefield 6. We just hope the mode arrives when the game launches, not when it’s too late.
What we want in Battlefield 6
Skip the campaign
There is no need for a campaign. Take the Battlefield Vietnam route and put every effort into the multiplayer experience. Apart from the Bad Company games, Battlefield campaigns have failed to leave a mark. Battlefield V’s vignette-based story mode was at least a unique attempt to share the untold stories of World War II (in the same way Battlefield 1 gave an interesting perspective on WWI). But the campaign was short, linear, and didn’t contain anything you couldn’t already do in the multiplayer modes.
Add a Battle Royale mode
I can already see the Battlefield faithful rolling their eyes at me. While I’m a Conquest player at heart, I really enjoyed playing Firestorm for the few months after release, when enough people were queuing up to play. It wasn’t perfect, but some of my best memories of Battlefield V were outlasting others in a squad filled with friends. Oh, and if EA does include a Battle Royale mode, make it free so it can be enjoyed by as many players as possible.
The return of modern warfare
DICE achieved what it set out to do with Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V, but it’s time to return to the modern era. Games based on historical events are inevitably restricted by the weapons, vehicles and terrain seen in those conflicts. The sky is the limit with modern warfare — you can fight in skyscrapers, stadiums, in dense urban jungles, or in gorgeous environments anywhere in the world. Moreover, DICE can let its creative juices flow with unique skins, weapons, add-ons, and other upgrades.
Split up the Conquest modes
It took several months but DICE finally split its Conquest modes into Strategic and Tactical conquest, so players could choose between a group of smaller or larger maps. Strategic includes larger maps with vehicles while Tactical has more dense, infantry-heavy maps. DICE should do the same in Battlefield 6 (if players aren’t given server filters) but keep an umbrella Conquest for those who want to cycle between every map.
Fix the “bleeding out” mechanic
The “bleeding out” mechanic was the single most frustrating element of BFV at launch. If you’re unfamiliar, in BFV, you don’t immediately die and go back to the redeploy screen when you run out of health. Instead, your soldier goes down injured and waits for a squad member or medic to revive them. Your only options are to make the respawn time counter go faster or slower depending on your odds of being revived. It has its perks — if you are revived, it doesn’t count as a death and you don’t need to respawn at an owned base or a squad member. But bleeding out too often feels clunky and could use revisiting.
Don’t listen to the haters
It’s OK Dice, you can go crazy with the customizations. We don’t need 1,000 shades of green boots because there wasn’t any color in World War II. Ignore the haters, and give us all the customization and upgrade options you can think of (so long as the weapons remain balanced) — doing so will increase the replay factor and have people sinking 100 hours into the multiplayer to unlock that dope weapon skin. I know I will.