Battlefield 2042’s Hazard Zone mode is a twist on multiplayer squad combat

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DICE and Electronic Arts showed Battlefield 2042’s third multiplayer mode, called the Hazard Zone, where players can take part in a new kind of squad battle.

In this mode, up to 32 players in each of the four squads will compete to recover intel from crashed satellites. Players can choose to escape about halfway through the match or stay until the end when everyone must gather in the same place to escape. The twist is that the squad with the most kills is not necessarily the winner. Rather, those who get away with the most intellectual win. And if you get killed at the last minute before your team gets anything out of it, then you lose.

It’s a completely different kind of experience than the usual Battle Royale mode.

“We have been very clear in our revelation that Hazard Zone is not a battle royale mode,” Danny Berlin, senior design director for Battlefield in Electronic Arts’ DICE studio, said in a news conference.

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DICE has already shown two other modes. All-Out Warfare has two different types of combat-conquest or breakthrough-where up to 128 players square against each other in cross-platform multiplayer battles. In these battles, two opposing sides fight against each other across huge maps with dynamic events like tornadoes.

The second mode is Battlefield Portal, where players can create their own scenarios and invite people to play. In these scenarios, players can anachronistically combine soldiers of different ages into different “what ifs” challenges, as if a bunch of World War I infantry could take out a modern tank. Portal is a community-driven platform where players change the rules of war.

“You start as a four-man team and you have to locate and retrieve the critical data drives scattered across the battlefield and you will do this while fighting opposing teams, all sharing the same goals as you,” Berlin said. “They will fight tooth and nail for these data drives.”

Battlefield 2042 is released on Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on November 19th, with early access from November 12th.

The back story

Above: Here is a view of one of the maps of Battlefield 2042.

Image credit: EA

By the year 2040, a worldwide blackout event will reduce the total number of satellites by 70%. Tensions are rising between the United States and Russia. In the wake of this event, temporary low-lane satellites became the new method of gathering intel for both sides. These satellites collect aerial photography, heat map images, ID scanning and other valuable types of intel.

These temporary satellites are launched and then brought down into US and Russian-controlled territory so that the occupying forces can collect intel, which is stored on radiation-cured data drives. For No-Pats, intelen is valuable for their own safety and the safety of all other non-fighting No-Pats. Hazard Zone can be played on all start cards confirmed for All-Out Warfare.

As a No-Pat Task Force, you and your group set out to acquire these valuable data drives while the satellite capsules were brought down. Up to 32 players can play on the PC, Xbox Series X / S and PlayStation 5. And 24 can play on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Berlin said specialists are limited, your squad may not include more than one of the same specialist. Making the right choices here can give you the edge in different stages of the fight. Tornadoes will be relatively rare, but they can appear in a fight and add more excitement.

If you are down, you can crawl to safety. But if you are killed in this state, you are placed in the spectator’s screen. Your teammates can get you back in the game using a Reinforcement Uplink, which can be found scattered across the map or as a tactical upgrade.

What is unique

Battlefield 2042 has a rather powerful two-seater helicopter.

Above: Battlefield 2042 has a rather powerful two-seater helicopter.

Image credit: EA

The Hazard Zone combines tense, squad-focused survival experience with the best of the Battlefield sandbox, Berlin said. You and your teammates will not only fight rival squads, but also forces like the tornado as well as deadly occupying forces that try to protect
data drives. These occupying forces can quickly achieve a goal and they will focus on self-preservation. A long-term commitment with them can drain your resources, not to mention warnings near player teams.

Your goal is not to kill, but to extract live from the Hazard Zone with as many data drives as possible, Berlin said. In total, there are two, time-limited extraction options within a match. They occur at different times and in different places. This means that only two teams can come out alive from the danger zone, or possibly none at all.

There is more emphasis on the choices you make when you and your friends build your team. Choosing the right mix of specialist, weapons, gadgets and tactical upgrades is the key to survival. You can create an offensive squad with members who can use grab hooks or quick pulls. Or you can use a defensive squad with things like an SG-36 Sentry Gun. You choose from different special characters.

Metagame

One of Battlefield 2042's maps.

Above: One of Battlefield 2042’s maps.

Image credit: EA

Hazard Zone metagame assigns data drive values. Each data drive that you successfully extract is converted into a special, Hazard Zone-specific currency called Dark Market Credits. You then use these Dark Market Credits before each battle to purchase and equip weapons, gadgets, and tactical upgrades unique to Hazard Zone.

There are four main components of metagame: If you pull out successfully, you will be rewarded based on the number of data drives collected, they turn into XP and valuable Dark Market Credits that can be used to make you strong for the next round. You need to strategize and equip before a match. You get an orientation at the beginning. Then insert your team on the map at a predetermined location. You will then need to download data drives using tools like an Intel Scanner. You need to make sure a member of the squad has it.

Occupation forces – often found protective data drives – and opposing teams will make your journey difficult. In the middle of the game, new satellites will fall from the sky and contain more data drives, making these satellites more valuable than those that previously crashed. You can then move to the first extraction point and escape aboard a CV-38 Condor.

If you choose to stay, your only option is the last extraction. The window to it opens approximately 10 minutes to 12 minutes after the start of the match. The remaining troops must fight for the only, last extraction zone. If you’re all back, you’ll lose everything
you have collected. But even if just one of you comes up with something, you will all be rewarded for it.

Berlin said that this opportunity to use the last extraction is “extremely risky.”

“All decisions count in the danger zone,” he said.

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