It’s official: Battlefield has gone full circle... again. It all began back in 2002 with Battlefield 1942, the seminal World War II FPS that was all about character classes, teamwork, and large-scale multiplayer battles on land, sea and in the air.
Since then, we’ve travelled to conflicts both real and fictional, to the present, the future, and most recently all the way back to the trenches of World War I. The last chapter set during WWII was 2009’s Battlefield 1943.
The internet seemed to be in agreement that a return to the series’ origins was once again on the cards, and sure enough, EA and DICE today confirmed that Battlefield V is that game.
We’d forgive you for struggling to get excited about yet another WWII shooter with destructible scenery and lots of explosions, but with an assortment of new features and expanded modes, it sounds like Battlefield V will have more than enough in its locker to tempt series veterans and newcomers alike. Here's what you need to know.
1) It wants to challenge your preconceptions
If you’re a keen gamer, there’s a good chance you’ll be familiar with virtual recreations of the Normandy beach landings. One of Battlefield V’s mission statements is “unseen, untold, unplayed,” which means you’ll be fighting it out in all-new theatres of war.
Among the locations confirmed for the game’s whopping sandbox maps are the destroyed city of Rotterdam, the sweltering North African desert and freezing-cold Norway. Variety is key to the longevity of any FPS worth its sights, and it sounds like Battlefield V will have it in spades.
2) There’s no "I" in team
Although lone wolfing remains a (reckless) option, more than ever before this Battlefield is about your squad.
As you progress you’ll unlock a host of customisation options for your battle-scarred soldiers, allowing you to personalise their outfits, weapons and vehicles, as well as making them more effective in combat. If you like sticking to one class, the game will reward you for doing so, but you’re free to experiment to work out what best suits your playstyle.
When you die in-game the first thing you’ll see (after the expletive-inducing killcam screen) are the surviving members of your squad, who you’ll always respawn alongside. The enemy has the opportunity to complete a ‘squad wipe’ if they successfully off your last man standing, but you can now build fortifications and haul your downed allies behind them for medical attention to prevent that from happening. You’ll need to memorise resupply stations too, as you’ll rarely be stocked from head to toe with ammo.
3) Grand Operations sounds brilliant
While you’ll no doubt be piling tens of hours into the usual suspects of Conquest and Domination mode, the big multiplayer draw is Grand Operations. Building on Battlefield 1’s popular Operations mode, these matches consist of a number of increasingly high-stakes battles that span multiple theatres.
Grand Operations takes place over the course of four fictional days, with each map representing a day. Objectives for each one will vary, but your team’s performance on day one, for example, will directly impact the resources available to you on the second day.
It’s possible to claim victory by the end of the third day, but if it’s a close call it’ll go to sudden death in the fourth and final battle. One magazine, no respawning - everything or nothing at all. Yikes.
4) But less-experienced players are welcome too
We’re happy to admit that Battlefield V’s 64-player free-for-alls can be intimidating affairs for the uninitiated. Getting headshotted as you helplessly scramble towards cover over and over again is simply not all that fun.
Clearly aware of this, DICE is introducing an all new co-operative mode called Combined Arms. In it, you and a group of pals have to work together to complete dynamic mission objectives assigned to you on the fly.
It’s pitched as a sort of halfway house between solo and online multiplayer, and sounds like a great way to get to grips with Battlefield V’s myriad systems.
5) It isn’t ditching single-player
Treyarch’s decision to eschew the traditional single-player story from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 hasn’t gone down well with everyone, but friend-shunners will be glad to learn that Battlefield V is bring back its predecessor’s surprisingly decent War Stories campaign mode.
These bite-sized vignettes place you in the shoes of fictional men and women who lived through WWII, each one with a different story to tell.
Sadly, the developers have shown next to nothing of the mode so far, although we do know that one of the stories will focus on a resistance fighter in Nazi-occupied Norway.
6) Tides of War ties everything together
Battlefield V’s overarching online service is called Tides of War, which is where you’ll build up your ‘Company’ of elite soldiers, access new content and enter timed events.
The idea is that the service will evolve over time, pushing players new themed gameplay experiences on a regular basis to keep the experience fresh.
Each Grand Operation will start its life for a limited time in the Tides of War calendar, and you’ll be rewarded for competing with new weapons, vehicles and cosmetic upgrades.
DICE is wisely doing away with the premium pass from past entries. You can’t be emphasising the significance of squad play if one member of the squad is left out because he/she isn’t paid up.
7) It’s coming out before Christmas
Battlefield V launches October 19 on Xbox One, PS4 and Origin for PC, but those who pre-order the Deluxe Edition will get it three days earlier.
EA Access and Origin Access members, meanwhile, can play the First Trial on October 11, while pre-ordering any edition of the game with the Battlefield V Enlister offer gives you access to an Open Beta at some point beforehand.
And finally, in a friendly gesture to people still plugging away at its current titles, DICE is making some add-on content from Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 4 free for limited time. Head online now to download and keep Battlefield 1: In the Name of Tsar and Battlefield 4: Final Stand.