The time has almost arrived for Battlefield 2042 to hit Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, with DICE's shooter set to come to the EA Play library during the game's third season. Usually, this sort of EA Play addition wouldn't affect me, as I typically buy and play every Battlefield title at launch. However, 2042's bumpy arrival — and its rough beta period — put me off last year, so I skipped launch for the first time in over a decade. After seeing what DICE has done since then though, I'm very much looking forward to getting stuck in on Xbox Game Pass.
Let's rewind things a bit. With the announcement that Battlefield was moving forward to a futuristic setting again in 2021, I was pretty bloody excited. While Battlefield 1 and 5 were solid titles, I did miss the pure chaos that ensued with the modern arsenal featured in the chunk of games that pre-dated those two. However, even if the game's rough beta period showed glimpses of promise, its EA Play trial at launch put me right off. It felt like there was a solid game hidden deep within 2042, but it needed a fair bit of work to extract.
Needless to say, I've watched 2042's progress like a hawk for the last year-or-so. I almost caved and picked the thing up on sale on a few occasions, but I felt holding out for the Game Pass launch was the right approach, especially given the player count boost that will no doubt come with Season 3's arrival. Thankfully, DICE is heading in such a direction where late adopters should benefit from some notable changes.
First off, the team has begun to re-work the game's base maps, most of which felt weirdly imbalanced at launch. DICE hadn't really got to grips with its new 128-player count right off the bat, with maps often containing huge open spaces that didn't at all enhance the flow of combat. More of these changes are coming, but what's been altered so far looks in a much better state than at launch. By the time Season 3 is done, I'm expecting a solid stable of multiplayer maps to feature in Battlefield 2042.
The team has also committed to some long-term improvements to the game, based off more fan feedback. During Season 3, the team is altering its controversial 'Specialists' character system to feel more like classic Battlefield 'classes', and I'm totally on board for that change. Battlefield's class setup is integral to its overall gameplay flow, and I reckon 2042 stands to benefit a lot from these changes.