Following up 2018’s World War II epic, Battlefield V, Dice is abandoning the past and setting its sights on the very near future. Battlefield 2042 will throw players into massive skirmishes set in a tumultuous world ravaged by one of our current greatest existential threats: climate change. What does Dice have in store for Battlefield’s grand return to the modern era? Here’s everything you need to know about this much-anticipated shooter. What’s changing from previous Battlefield games? Unlike the last handful of entries in the series, Battlefield 2042 is returning to the franchise’s roots with an entirely multiplayer experience. DICE has forgone the single-player campaign and is opting to deliver all of its narrative threads through the various multiplayer components, like the maps and individual Specialists you’ll play as in battle. What’s the story behind Battlefield 2042? A globe already distressed from the effects of climate change finds itself in times of war after a series of calamities breaks any semblance of peace. Satellites littering the Earth’s atmosphere fall victim to an event known as a “Kessler Effect,” where the critical mass of machinery collides with one another, creating a cascading torrent of destruction. With more than 70% of the planet’s satellites gone, communication and location systems are largely down. Because of strains to the supply chain, Russia and the US are locked in an escalating skirmish for food and resources. Increasingly ferocious storms and overall climate conditions have forced displaced individuals called No-Pats to choose a side in the conflict. What are the returning multiplayer modes? Dice is bringing back the popular Conquest and Breakthrough multiplayer modes, which together make up the All-Out Warfare pillar of the package. Conquest, a sandbox conflict where huge teams war against one another to take over territory, will now support 128 players on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, with the numbers halved on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Breakthrough will again feature an attacking team pushing through one of 2042’s massive maps while the defensive squad has to hold their line and not let the attackers through. How many Maps can we expect? Locations and maps can be the heart and soul of any FPS experience, and Battlefield 2042 is looking to introduce a handful of new favorites while reviving some classics. DICE has prepared 13 maps for launch with seven fresh locales and six returning maps from Battlefield’s past. New maps include Orbital, a site in French Guiana which has players fighting around a rocket launch, Discarded, a stripped-down Indian shipyard, and Hourglass, a Qatar city ravaged by sandstorms. Returning maps include representatives from across the Battlefield timeline that may only be available in the game’s Portal mode. 1942’s Battle of the Bulge is here along with Bad Company 2’s Arica Harbor, Noshahar Canal from Battlefield 3, and more. Each of these classic maps has been remastered with new art assets. Why should I be excited about Portal? The second of the three pillars of the 2042 experience, Portal allows players to create their own Battlefield scenarios using maps, weapons, vehicles, and gear from throughout the series’ history. You can even make asymmetrical teams with arsenals from various eras and create new victory conditions to spice up the big team skirmishes. Want to recreate a World War II squadron with only technology available at that time and pit them against modern operators? That’s possible! How about giving everyone only knives and sniper rifles on a Bad Company 2 map? That’s also a choice you can make. Portal features a logic editor, custom modes, and other settings to tweak to build unique conflicts not ordinarily possible in standard 2042 matches. What’s going on in the new Hazard Zone mode? Your objective in Hazard Zone is simple: drop into a 2042 map as a team of four specialists, retrieve precious data drives, and get out with your lives. Complications come with all of the other groups in the area gunning for the same objectives. There are no guaranteed respawns in Hazard Zone, so once you’re down, there’s a good chance your team is down a vital member of the group. If you do manage to extract from the map with the important intel in hand, you’ll earn XP and Dark Market Credits, which will net your team better gear for taking on the subsequent extraction in Hazard Zone. The more intel you collect, the better your rewards. However, the longer you stay on a given map, the greater the risk you won’t make it out alive to reap any of the sweet rewards. Who are Specialists and do they replace traditional classes? Forgoing the traditional class-based loadouts, 2042 is introducing Specialists. These are characters you’ll play who resemble the classes you may be familiar with, but each has a unique Specialty and Trait. For instance, Maria Falck specializes in support whose Specialty is a pistol that can fire healing syringes at her allies. Her Trait called Combat Surgeon fully heals players when revived. Every Specialist comes complete with a backstory and motivation for being involved in the conflict, bringing a touch of narrative and cause to the multiplayer-only game. Returning faces can also be found on the roster, including one of the final performances of the late Michael K. Williams, reprising his role of Battlefield 4’s Kimble “Irish” Graves. His Specialty is called the Fortification System, which includes deployable cover, and an APS Shootdown Sentinel to take care of pesky aerial projectiles. Irish’s Trait, Veteran, is said to provide armor with extra bonuses from downed enemies. There are ten total Specialists to play as, and their kits are fully customizable outside of their Traits and Specialties. Will there be any “Battlefield moments?” C’mon. Do you think Dice would release a multiplayer-only Battlefield and leave out all of the cool, memorable, emergent stuff? Of course, you’ll be able to eject from the cockpit of a jet to shoot an RPG at a nearby helicopter and wingsuit into a tornado and land in another vehicle! Go wild! Because of Earth’s climate collapse in 2042, weather plays a large part in the unpredictable nature of multiplayer matches. In one match, you might only experience a slight drizzle, but in another, a raging thunderstorm complete with one of those twisters mentioned above. In true Battlefield fashion, use the raging weather to your advantage as cover, mobility, or just enjoy spinning around inside a roiling vortex. You do you. So, when does Battlefield 2042 release? Battlefield 2042 is currently launching November 19 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Early access will be available on November 12 for anyone who pre-purchases the Gold or Ultimate editions. That same day will see a 10-hour trial for EA Play or Xbox Game Pass subscribers.