Like it or hate it, story mode provides the emotional and thematic linchpin for most tactical shooters. Players would be frightfully hard-pressed to come across a first-person shooter without a working campaign. And for good reason: not only does it keep the game playable with or without an internet connection, it also lends appropriate gravitas to an otherwise meaningless bullet fest. Required austerity aside, the option was especially invaluable among older generation consoles with no online capability. After all, for scores of devoted patrons who grew up knowing shooters, campaigns were the only graspable way any of the games could be played. First and third-person shooters brought this time-tested tradition to newer generation consoles, but with online play expeditiously taking over, developing a separate offline campaign mode suddenly feels inessential. The numbers don’t lie: battle royales have dominated the genre for almost five years now and none of them have had to rely on a fixed narrative to attract players. Games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, and Apex Legends have survived just fine. And while Call of Duty still sees the value in a well-designed campaign mode, Battlefield 6 is reportedly doing away with it and refocusing efforts on a strong online multiplayer, according to trusted Battlefield leaker Tom Henderson.
Electronic Arts convened last week to discuss, among others, Battlefield’s prospective fiscal performance following its projected release this December. Numbers were dropped and everything seemed delightfully heaven-sent, and yet executives neglected to mention the specifics behind Battlefield 6’s story campaign, a mode previously available in other Battlefield games. Henderson was quick to pick up on such a grievous and surprising oversight. He shared his thoughts on Twitter:
Tom Henderson had previously spoken about Battlefield 6’s improved gameplay mechanics, exploring plot, themes and setting with all the grizzled confidence of a longtime insider. The world’s nations have “fallen,” and players can be any soldier they want without factions necessarily conflicting. For instance, one could choose to become a Japanese soldier and serve the U.S. army. He writes: “So it would appear that your specialist unit(s), hired by USA, will go against another team of specialists hired by Russia. So that’s how they will incorporate multiple superpowers and nations in MP.” EA will be dropping a reveal trailer for Battlefield 6 soon, but the cinematics will also be “100% multiplayer” and shot in third-person. Moreover, it won’t be teasing a campaign.
Henderson’s followers had initially mistaken this grand reveal for the specifics behind Battlefield 6’s campaign mode, but Henderson immediately corrected them, saying, “I’ve not heard there’s a campaign. What I originally heard on it was actually the plot.” He elaborated on his theory after reviewing EA’s earnings call, adding, “As I’ve mentioned for the past couple of months, I’m yet to hear of a campaign. It doesn’t mean there isn’t one, but it’s very very unusual to not hear of one in a info dump.” He also consulted with several of his sources and posted a more recent tweet about the issue:
Charlie Intel’s Liam Mackay reached out to Henderson for further comment and he confirms neither Henderson nor his fellow leakers are aware of any such story mode being developed for Battlefield 6. “It kind of leans to the fact that there isn’t a campaign this year,” he replies. Battlefield 6 is currently in the works over at EA DICE. The game is more or less completed, with a cinematic teaser scheduled to come out later this month. The company is also developing a Battlefield mobile game to accompany its flagship. The last Battlefield, Battlefield V, featured a crippled online mode; developers intend to fix this issue with a vastly improved multiplayer experience in Battlefield 6. And if the rumors are true, that’s just about what Battlefield 6 is going to revolve around — a stellar online battle royale and nothing else. Online campaigns are all the rage these days; they’re practically reshaping the genre for generations to come. Can you blame EA for assuming Battlefield has to conform?