The Battlefield 2042 maps together represent a loud, proud mission statement on the kind of experience that DICE wants to offer players with its multiplayer-only FPS later this year. What does that mission statement say? Put simply, this is classic Battlefield, reborn; the operatic, all-out sandbox warfare that the series made a name for itself on, now revitalised by the lessons DICE learned from Battlefield 5, and the power of the next-generation hardware itself.
During a presentation ahead of the Battlefield 2042 reveal trailer, which debuted today, design director Daniel Berlin guided us through a deep dive into the Battlefield 2042 maps, which can host up to 128 players on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S, and of which there will be seven available when the game releases this October 22, 2021. We've outlined everything you need to know about each one below, giving you a taste of what to expect, and why they suggest that this Battlefield could be the most significant entry in the series to date.
With a surface area of 5.9 square kilometers, Breakaway is the biggest Battlefield map in the franchise's history, epitomising DICE's commitment to bringing back the large-scale, sandbox warfare that fans know and love from the series' past. Breakaway is set in Antarctica, and thus offers plenty of topographical diversity to match its geographical scale, as players fight over mountain ranges, mining facilities, and frozen tundras.
"One of my personal favourite areas on this map is the Outlook," says Berlin. "It's the perfect wingsuit launch position. It brings me back to that moment on Damavand Peak from Battlefield 3; you jump off a massive mountain and dive towards the industrial buildings below. Quite simply in terms of gameplay opportunities and pure landmass, this is the biggest and most sandbox-enabling battlefield that we have ever built."
Kaleidoscope is the smallest map in Battlefield 2042, but that doesn't mean it won't offer the cinematic scope and scale DICE is known for in the competitive multiplayer space. An urban cityscape in South Korea, Kaleidoscope is bright and beautiful, with an emphasis on vertical warfare. Berlin explains that it is in this usually peaceful city where "forces clash to control a quantum powered disinformation hub after an attack threatens the global network".
"This hub features multiple floors, and outside you'll find canals where amphibious vehicles can manoeuvre," Berlin continues. "At the edge of the map, you'll find multiple skyscrapers, including a TV station, all of which you can enter. You can also use zip lines to go from rooftop to rooftop as you fight to gain control over multiple skyscrapers."
You will have likely spotted a scene from Manifest in the Battlefield 2042 reveal trailer, where a team of soldiers are ambushed by the enemy amidst a claustrophobic squalor of shipping containers. According to Berlin, these containers will play a big part of the Singapore-set map, forcing players into the kind of up-close-and-personal combat that brings to mind Battlefield 3's Close Quarters expansion, since "the containers themselves act as funnels for the players".
"The fighting here can get really intense," he adds, "particularly when you're playing with 128 players. There are massive automated cranes, which will actually pick up and move the containers as you play." We're already worried about the kind of tense cat-and-mouse encounters that these roaming containers might play host to, then, but it sounds like shotgun fans will be more than comfortable navigating Manifest's industrial labyrinth, hip-firing fingers at the ready.
To immediately address the question that's on everyone's mind; no, you cannot ride the rocket in Orbital and take the fight to space… at least as far as we know, anyway. Instead, this conflict in French Guiana simply takes place around the launch site of said rocket, rather than its destination, but – as part of Battlefield 2042's new and improved Levolution system – you can have a hand in determining whether the take-off goes ahead without a hitch.
"Orbital is a medium sized map by our new 2042 standards," explains Berlin. "It features a lot of action around the rocket launch sector and its surrounding structures. Here you'll find both the launch pad containing the rocket itself that you saw on the reveal trailer. And yes, the rocket can take off, and no, it doesn't always go as planned!"
Set in Alang, India, Discarded is the kind of water-heavy map that has appeared in almost every Battlefield game to date. These maps tend to be hit or miss, usually dependent on the balance and viability of the game's watercraft, but Battlefield 2042 hopes to make Discarded a fan favourite with what Berlin calls one of the game's many Clusters, "areas on the map where we focus objectives into a concentrated space."
"In the middle of Discarded, you will find the Colossus," he explains of Discarded's own distinguishing Cluster. "It's a massive ship hiding a stealth submarine within its stomach, and it's a great area for close quarters combat." No word yet on whether that submarine is drivable, but we can imagine a lot of blood being spilt within its metallic corridors either way.
Renewal is a map of two halves. "The first thing you'll notice when entering is the massive wall that goes across the entire map," says Berlin, explaining DICE's intention to "actively split the play space into two very distinct areas."
Set in the eastern desert of Egypt, players will be fighting over groundbreaking agricultural tech that has turned half of Renewal's battlefield into futurist farmland, leaving the remaining half a dusty landscape of dilapidated buildings and towering canyons. While it's hard to predict how any of Battlefield 2042's meta will establish itself at this point, we can imagine Renewal being fertile hunting grounds for the sharpshooter, with plenty of open terrain to catch out vulnerable players moving between points of interest.
Doha, Qatar is the setting for one of Battlefield 2042's larger maps, where – according to Berlin – "rolling sand dunes allow for high speed vehicle-to-vehicle combat across vast open spaces." Hourglass also plays host to another dynamic weather event guaranteed to shake up combat across its mix of rural and urban sprawls. During matches, the map can become overwhelmed by rolling sandstorms, greatly obscuring your sightlines while also providing new opportunities for flanking enemy holding points.
"Hourglass features the neon city to the east, and its cluster of skyscrapers will light up as a massive sandstorm passes through to level," says Berlin, explaining how the map's various points of interest are affected by the weather. "On the other end of the map you'll find the stadium, which has been overrun by sand, and right at the centre are these massive arches overlooking a huge highway intersection where a convoy has run to a stop, and the vehicles have been abandoned."