battlefield 2042's last mode seems like exactly what the beta was missing

© Screenshot: EA Soldiers walk toward a helicopter at sunset in Battlefield 2042.

DICE has long insisted that Battlefield 2042, its forthcoming first-person shooter, wouldn’t have a battle royale component. Today the company detailed the game’s third and final gameplay mode, Hazard Zone, in a blog post, and it is not a battle royale. But it’s not not a battle royale either.

When Battlefield 2042 comes out next month it’ll eschew a campaign in favor of those three multiplayer modes. The first, All-Out Warfare, is very much like what’s defined previous games: two teams, massive battles, lots of chaos, very little structure or direction. It’s what we checked out during last week’s beta. The second, Portal, is a community sandbox mode wherein you get to customize your own rulesets. Today—at the same exact time Activision Blizzard unveiled the zombies mode for Call of Duty: Vanguard, by the way—DICE pulled back the curtain on Hazard Zone, which has been known by nothing but name for some time.

Here’s a trailer:

Hazard Zone focuses on squad-based, multi-team combat. It’s far smaller and less overwhelming than the 128-player All Out Warfare, featuring just eight teams of four. (That’s on PC and next-gen consoles. On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the playerbase is limited to 24.) Your goal is to accrue specific items and bring them to extraction points, of which there are two, both of which are time-limited and show up at different times during the match. Only two teams can “win”—one at the halfway point of the match, and one at the end. Also, when you die, you’re actually down, unless a teammate is able to revive you, something they can only do if they’ve procured an item that allows them to do so.

See? Not a battle royale. But not not a battle royale, either (mostly because of the whole “die and you’re actually dead” thing).

There are some other wrinkles, too. For one, AI-controlled troops will roam the map in a manner and at a frequency that DICE says is “unpredictable.” For another, at the start of each match, you have to spend pre-allocated currency to customize your loadout. Further, your hot streaks will carry over between rounds. So if you’re winning match after match after match, the cost of weapons and perks will drop. (The prices will reset when you lose.)

Personally, I’ve always been drawn more toward the intimate fights in Battlefield games. The large-scale conflicts in last week’s beta were a blast, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t quite click with me the way previous Battlefield games have. Maybe Hazard Zone will be more my cup of tea.

Battle(not-royale)field 2042 comes out on November 19 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It’ll be available via early access to members of EA Play, and to members of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate as well.

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