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Evolution of Battlefield


Guns, ammo and explosives are a staple diet of any FPS gamer, and few games have managed to attract as much attention as the Battlefield series. Starting out with Battlefield 1942, Dice created a masterpiece allowing epic warfare with teams of players battling it out in planes, tanks and jeeps, equipped with a variety of lethal projectiles and all things that go bang; it was simply so easy to become enthralled that you forgot about the outside world.

With the recent release of Bad Company 2, the 9th Battlefield release, 6th on PC, it seemed as good a time as any to revisit the previous generations and look at how the game has progressed.

Battlefield started out in the historic setting of World War II, 1942 to be precise, where you could play as either the Allied or Axis forces, battling for territory in a variety of settings. A rarity in it’s time, 1942 promoted large scale teamwork in bringing down the opposing team. Players would have to do what is best for the team as opposed to what is best for their scores. This dramatic shift in gameplay has lead to some of the more team-focused games we see today.
In this newly established conquest mode, players would battle it out for control points on a map. Each control point allowed the controlling team to spawn in, giving a forward command post and a means of subduing the enemy. The increased use of tactics and planning involved in this style of gameplay granted a new sense of tension. By overwhelming the opposing team you could capture their base, giving them nowhere to spawn and thus ending the game. Alternatively, this could result in forces being spread too thinly resulting, in a few opposing soldiers sneaking in behind your front line. Successful teams would leave a few men behind to hold the fort – despite it being a boring task for moments in the game, it could mean the difference between a triumphant battle and being base-raped faster than Usain Bolt with his laces tied.

The increase in tactics and large-scale, long-lasting battles offered something new to gamers – throw in planes, jeeps and tanks and it’s one of the most addictive, epic war games around. But where can you go from 1942? Vietnam of course!
Battlefield Vietnam was much of the same, with updated vehicles, weapons and an awesome soundtrack. Now with the added choppers, you could fly around, pick up vehicles and drop them where they were needed, or as people discovered, you could fly around, pick up enemy tanks and drop them on each other like a giant game of conkers! Another bonus was the ability to blast out 70s rock as you fly off into the sunset – classic.

After a slurry of expansion packs, the games did start to age somewhat and the Battlefield series needed a revamp. Whilst many believe COD: MW brought the old school shooters into the modern setting, it was actually BF 2 that made the leap first, and much like the shooters that have subsequently followed suit, it was met with a great reception. With the modern setting and added commander mode, BF 2 became a retail success, selling around 2.2million copies and revitalising the series. Modern weapons, tanks, Apache helicopters, jets and boats were added to the franchise, including a new squad feature allowing squad members to spawn on the squad leader and communicate through VOIP, elaborating on the already well established team-gameplay.

The commander mode allowed a single player to place orders from an RTS like interface, offering supply drops, weapons and artillery strikes at locations across the map while simultaneously spotting enemy troops. A good commander often resulted in a win, although solid teamwork and a little bit of luck often overcame it.
BF 2 was also a landmark for the series, being the first game to offer rewards and Pins for your valour. All of your stats and awards were saved online to show the world how good you were, along with your kill statistics, guns unlocked… pretty much every stat you would ever need to know was available and even offered in handy graph form!