Hi, this is Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett, one of the 17 people on the planet regularly enjoying the game, reporting live from Battlefield 2042.
If you haven’t played the game during its first 12 months—and really, it has had problems, who can blame you!—EA has decided that now is the time to try and convince you by offering Battlefield 2042 for free (during the first few days of December, across all platforms) or at least as part of the subscription fee you’re already paying for Game Pass.
They’re doing this for two reasons, of course. The first one is that nowhere near enough people bought this game in the first place, so the playerbase has been at times tragically low (here in Australia, for example, only a single multiplayer mode is ever populated enough to get regular games). The second, and this is related, is that Battlefield 2042 has cosmetic microtransactions, so the more people EA can get playing the game, the more they’re hoping to make off weapon, vehicle and player skins.
I’m now going to tell you that you don’t need to buy those skins, the ones you unlock are fine, and I am also going to tell you that you should play this game! Battlefield 2042 launched with a lot of problems and a lot of changes, both of which upset many long-time players, but like I said at the time there was still good (or at least potential) in what it was trying to do.
Now, 12 months later, after a ton of work and (remaining) fan feedback, developers DICE have the game…at the point it should have been at launch. Which is a low bar to clear, I know, but this game was developed right through a pandemic, it’s going to free (or basically free on Game Pass), and clearing low bars is exactly what those kind of services and weekends are for.
It’s also gotten pretty good! The original maps are being reworked, the new maps are great and a lot of the stuff older fans were missing at launch—from scoreboards to the class system—have either been reintroduced or are about to be.
In announcing the free/Game Pass availability, DICE also dropped a video and blog today outlining new weapons, map changes and specialist tweaks coming as part of Season 3, along with a very brief hint at something else coming beyond that, which they’re pitching as something more substantial. That something else is discussed over a cinematic of soldiers looking at ominous weather, so given the game is set in a near-future climate apocalypse (and already features in-game storms that can wreck your shit), it’ll be interesting to see if this something else makes dramatic changes to the way weather shapes and affects the maps.
Battlefield 2042 will be hitting Game Pass when Season 3 launches soon, while the free weekend/week will run from December 1-4 on Xbox, Dec 1-5 on Steam and Dec 16-23 on PlayStation.