DICE has officially unveiled the Hazard Zone mode for Battlefield 2042, and it’s looking quite different to what we were expecting!
Although DICE has been clear from the start that Hazard Zone isn’t a Battle Royale, we still expected it to bear some sort of resemblance. Instead, the developer seems to have taken inspiration from survival FPS games like Hunt: Showdown and Escape from Tarkov.
So, how exactly does Battlefield 2042’s third mode work? Let’s break it down.
What’s the backstory?
Daniel Berlin, the Senior Design Director on Battlefield 2042 gave us an excellent explanation of the backstory for Hazard Zone:
‘In the year 2040, a worldwide blackout event reduces the total number of satellites by 70%. Because of this, tensions rise between Russia and the US. In the wake of this event. temporary low orbit satellites become a new method for gathering intel for factions.
‘These temporary satellites are launched and then forced down in either US or Russian controlled territory. This allows occupying forces of the area to collect Intel, which is stored on radiation hardened data drives found inside these crash satellites.’
Hazard Zone uses the idea of Non-Patriated soldiers and disastrous weather effects to create a mode that’s never been tried before in a Battlefield game. But how does it actually play?
What’s the aim?
As a squad of four specialists, you’ll spawn onto one of the seven included maps in Battlefield 2042. Your task is to roam the map in search of fallen satellites. There, you’ll find the coveted disk drives that contain the intel information you sorely need. The aim is to collect as many of these drives as possible before making an extraction.
However, other squads on the map also have the same goal, and only two squads can make it out of the round alive. You’ll have to fight hard to keep the loot you’ve found, or take it from someone else. The fun will be found in deciding whether to go all guns blazing or take the stealthy approach.
There will be two points during the match in which you can extract with your disk drives. These will occur at different times during the round and also at different locations. You have the choice to either extract early with what you’ve collected or risk holding out until the end.
There will be eight squads per round on new-gen and PC, and six squads on Xbox One and PS4. However, Hazard Zone is also a PvE experience. Alongside other squads, you’ll also be going up against occupying forces controlled by AI. That explains why DICE has put so much effort into creating AI to backfill multiplayer servers!
DICE is keen for players to understand that killing is not the primary goal in Hazard Zone. Instead, players should ultimately focus on extracting with as many drives as possible. Why, I hear you ask? I’m getting to that bit.
It’s all about the meta-game
All of this effort is in pursuit of the Hazard Zone specific currency known as ‘Dark Market Credits’. These credits are spent before each match and can be used to purchase new weapons and equipment. Apparently, these will be unique to the Hazard Zone mode. One of these unique gadgets will be an ‘Intel Scanner’ which will give players an approximate location of nearby disk drives.
Before each match, squads will be presented with a Mission Briefing screen. This will provide you with a vague overview of the area you’re dropping into. Information like the location of potential occupying forces and disk drive locations will be displayed here. All of this will help you decide your insertion location which you’ll need to decide at the start of the round.
From there, you’ll then be asked to pick a Specialist, weapon, equipment, and Hazard Zone specific tactical upgrade. Squads are limited to only one of each Specialist, so you’ll need to coordinate to build a team that compliments each other.
The fight is not over completely if you die. Squad mates can revive you from a downed state, just like in All-Out Warfare. If you die completely, you’ll be placed into a spectator screen. However, your squad can bring you back into the round by calling in reinforcements from an Uplink station scattered around the map, similar to Apex Legends.
If players don’t manage to extract by the end of the round, they’ll lose all of the Dark Market Credits that they’ve accumulated. However, squads will only need one member to complete the extraction for their points to be counted.
Will it hold up in practice?
All of this sounds incredibly exciting as a concept for the Battlefield series. DICE stumbled with its Battle Royale implementation in Battlefield V – Firestorm just didn’t cut the mustard for a lot of players. Hazard Zone feels like a much more niche approach to a multiplayer mode, and it’s one that fits much better with the squad based gameplay that Battlefield is known for.
My main concern is how DICE intends to balance the meta-game. If Dark Market Credits are used to purchase more powerful equipment, surely successful players will end up with a distinct advantage over new players? Maybe I’m missing something here.
Either way, we don’t have long to wait to see the mode in action. Hazard Zone will be available to play on day one when Battlefield 2042 launches on November 19th.
What are your thoughts on Hazard Zone so far? Let us know across our social channels.
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[Featured Image Credit: EA/DICE]