Electronic Arts and DICE revealed their post-launch plans of Battlefield 2042, which stretch throughout the rest of the year, pushing the release of new in-game content to 2022. As per the company’s statements, three waves of ongoing fixes will be released between now and the end of December 2021, addressing the current sorry state of one of this year’s most-anticipated games. So has the never-ending Beta become the norm within the gaming industry?
EA Games launched the first big patch for Battlefield 2042, addressing issues like overpowered hovercrafts, bugs that prevent you from reviving your allies, wildly inconsistent bullet spread that makes the in-game crosshairs as useful as a bar of soap in the Sahara Desert. This patch was predated by a smaller one, which addressed critical post-launch issues on Xbox consoles, like crashing the consoles, stuttering, and server performance issues. However, according to Kotaku, the third patch, scheduled for December, will be the biggest thus far, addressing everything from performance issues, UI bugs, and vehicle animations. Players should expect this patch in between Thanksgiving and December holidays, though no specific information was provided regarding its release date.
For those unfamiliar with the situation, the game that allows you to fight tornadoes began its Early Access on November 12 and soon started crashing the Xbox consoles. EA Games addressed the issue with the aforementioned patch, but the number of reported problems only continued to rise once Early Access went live on other platforms on November 19. Soon, Battlefield 2042 went on to become one of the worst-reviewed games on Steam in the history of Valve’s PC storefront, with players complaining about the new operator system, lack of voice chat (inconceivable for modern online FPSs) and scoreboards, and exceptionally poor performance on high setting, suggesting the poor optimization of the game’s engine.
Admittedly, EA had its fair share of problems during the development of Battlefield 2042, which could be a contributing factor to the game’s current condition. Electronic Arts suffered a data leak on June 10, when hackers broke into the company’s systems and stole 780 gigabytes of data from EA’s servers, including the Frostbite source code that powers the Battlefield gaming series. The cybercriminal group behind the hack tried to sell their unfairly acquired data on the dark web. However, after they had failed to sell the data online, hackers attempted to extort the company for an undisclosed sum to avoid having its data leaked online. EA not only refused to pay the ransom but completely ignored the hacker’s demands, which led to 751GB of compressed EA Games’ data being dumped on public torrent sites, making it available to the public.
With that said, EA Games and DICE could have easily delayed the game once again and addressed these issues internally. Battlefield 2042 was initially scheduled for an October release, but DICE delayed it a month. All things considered, it should have been pushed even further. Whatever happened to first impressions? Have companies such as Rockstar Games, CD Project RED, Electronic Arts, and their respective subsidiaries given up on quality? Are they just pumping out one superbly-marketed low-quality title after another, allowing marketing to drive up the sales instead of the quality of their releases? Are semi-completed, unoptimized games now a thing? Is the perpetual Beta now an industry norm? We might never get these questions answered. But do you know what we did get? A full shelf of poorly-made video gaming titles.