With the imminent announcement of Battlefield 4, it is only appropriate to take a look at the history of the game and what it has turned into over the years.
Digital Illusions CE provided PC gamers with the first Battlefield known as Battlefield 1942 in 2002. It was a World War 2 shooter that was praised by both gamers and critics. It was not the single player campaign that won over the audience but rather its unique conquest mode and overall multiplayer mode with teams of 32 and different playable classes earned the game various PC game of the year awards.
Rather than porting the game over to other platforms, Digital Illusions CE decided to create additional content for the game in the form of expansion packs. The expansions included Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome, Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII. The expansions mostly focused on new maps, weapons, and vehicles.
Battlefield: Vietnam was released in 2004 and ran on a tweaked version of the original Refractor Engine. It improved on mechanics of the original and added the entire new setting of the Vietnam conflicts of the 1960s.
The summer of 2005 was the series’ first true sequel, even though it was the developer’s third full release. Battlefield 2, still developed by Digital Illusions CE, ran on the successor of the original Battlefield engine, Refractor 2. The game took a departure from the series’ focus on previous wars and shifted towards modern military combat. The game’s plot is essentially the war between the US and Europe versus China and the Middle East. True to Battlefield’s nature, the attention is all on the multiplayer. The game expanded on its 2-sided conquest mode where forces focus on capturing points on the map. In this version of the multiplayer, players were able to apply for a commander position that allowed for them to strategize with squads consisting of other players that they controlled. It also gave them access to assets that only they could deploy to help assist their team.
Players were able to earn ribbons, badges, and medals. These rewards gave them the ability to demonstrate their rank and receive priority when applying for a commander position. It also allowed for them to unlock access to certain weapons.
The game received its own expansion pack and what DICE called “booster packs.” The first expansion pack was Battlefield 2: Special Forces this expansion narrowed the combat from less armored vehicle warfare to more on-foot combat. The booster packs were simply a combination of weapons, vehicles, and maps.
A console version of Battlefield 2 was released and given the name Battlefield 2: Modern Combat. It was an entirely different experience developed solely for consoles such as Xbox, PS2, and Xbox 360. 2006 was the year that Battlefield 2142 was introduced. It was to Battlefield 2 what was BF: Vietnam to Battlefield 1942. The game was set in the 22nd century and players were able to side on either the European Union or the Pan Asian Coalition. Players were introduced to futuristic weapons and vehicles and the game introduced a more refined award and leveling up system. The game was unique and well-liked, however the game did not have the same impact that its predecessors had. It goes without saying that this game also had its expansion pack, Battlefield 2142 Northern Strike.
Up to this point the series’ attention was clearly aimed at the multiplayer. in 2008, DICE decided to change that. Battlefield: Bad Company ran an entirely new engine, Forstbite, and on an entirely new concept. This game tried to make players care about the single player. DICE introduced characters that were genuinely interesting and made environments destructible. Players were able to command the squad and explore huge environments. The game’s multiplayer did not suffer at the expense of the game’s singleplayer. It was still well-received by fans.
The game did so well that they expanded on their new found success in form of a sequel, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and an expansion to the sequel, Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam.
Battlefield 3 was the franchise’s 12th take on Battlefield. It was a culmination of both a strong multiplayer and a strong single-player campaign experience. The franchise had been shadowed in the mainstream by Activision’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare franchise. It swung for the fences in all aspects with an all-new engine, Frostbite 2. The game did very well for EA and DICE. The game’s multiplayer was still unique and bigger than ever. Although the game’s single-player did not impress many, it was still a very solid experience. EA and DICE introduced Battlefield Premium which allowed players to gain early access to the game’s expansion content and a variety of cosmetic items that allowed players to display their Premium membership.
The series has sold about 23 million between all of the games. It should be well over that by now. The series has been all over the place with its brand with other games such as Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield 1943, and Battlefield Play4Free. This upcoming week the world will be introduced to the next true sequel, Battlefield 4. Just make sure you…