This past week, a new rumor has surfaced stating that DICE is looking to move past 64-player matches in the upcoming Battlefield game set for release later this year (tentatively titled Battlefield 6), with the new game said to be aiming for 128 players in a single match!
- Related Reading: Rumor: Battlefield 6 to Feature F2P Elements, “Levolution on Steroids,” Stick to 4 Classes
Given how EA themselves has shared that Battlefield 2021 will “feature more players than ever before,” it seems like the rumor does have some merit. Now, the big question is: should DICE even do it? Or should the studio stick with 64-player matches?
While touting 128-player matches and how it’s the “biggest team-based, online multiplayer shooter ever” is a good marketing ploy, there are a lot of drawbacks to pushing for that big of a number. Looking at it, we here at MP1st decide to dive deeper and offer explanations on why featuring 128-player matches is a bad (and good) thing.
Chief among my concerns for this massive player count is due to tech. Sure, the PS5 and Xbox Series X might be capable of handling that many players in a single map and server, but honestly speaking, DICE has never been known to release bug-free, stable games at launch. Fans have grown accustomed to it, that any technical issues, the studio will iron it out in the coming weeks and months.
Now, imagine 128 players. On one map. On one server. It’s hard enough to pull this feat alone, but if you factor in that there will be vehicles, destruction (supposedly, a step up from Levolution even), different classes, equipment, physics data and the like — it’s technical nightmare waiting to happen.
Even if DICE can pull the technical side off, there’s still another problem…
Battlefield Players Not Going After the Fucking Objective
There’s a reason PTFO (Play the Fucking Objective) has been used so much for Battlefield games; it’s mostly due to Ricky Recons and MMG prone commandos (introduced in Battlefield 5), just sitting in one corner and just mining kills. It’s bad enough that in a 64-player match, sometimes more than 10 players in one team are bush wookies (snipers), but imagine a massive map that fits 128 players, and about half of that are just up in the hill sniping, waiting and just flat out not doing anything to help you win. Not only would it infuriate PTFO players, but that would make matches boring since I assume the map would be way bigger than your standard 32v32 match.
If you’ve ever played Operation Metro or Operation Locker in past Battlefield games, you’ll know how chaotic these matches are when player counts are increased. Sure, these are “meat grinder” maps, and are seen as full-on chaos, but imagine playing these same kinds of maps and it’s 64v64! Granted, that might be fun as well, but given how the Battlefield population tend to play these maps over and over (and I plead guilty to be one of those people), prepare for 128-player meat grinds the moment these maps become available.
- Related Reading: DICE LA Working on a Battlefield Game Confirmed
While it seems we’re (or I am) against the Battlefield franchise progressing, we can’t end this discussion without mentioning why featuring 128-player matches is a good thing.
This Is the Natural Progression for the Franchise
With the Battlefield franchise featuring infantry and vehicular combat, and destructible environments, the natural progression would be to in increase the player count, since, well, that’s about it. Adding weather changes has been done in the franchise before, large-scale destruction has been seen too. And the devs can’t put dozens of vehicles on the map available at any one time or it would seriously hurt game balance. In that sense, the only sensible thing with the more powerful tech we have now is to increase the player count.
Warzone Proved Large Scale Can Work
Like it or not, Call of Duty Warzone not only revitalized the Call of Duty franchise, but it’s also the shot in the arm large scale shooters needed. The F2P battle royale game features 150 players, and this included vehicles in matches well. While there are no destructible environments, and the dynamics of a battle royale game are vastly different from that of a Battlefield game, it proved that matches featuring that big of a player count can work. Add in how internet service, networks and net speeds are now, it also proved that from a connection perspective, players around the world were ready for something this massive.
It Can Prove to Be a Game-Changer and a Prime Marketing Tool
If Battlefield 6 indeed features 128-player matches, expect EA to use that as one of the game’s primary marketing features. “128-player matches with destructible environments” does have a nice ring to it, no?
Aside from that though, if this does happen and it works, this could be the big leap the franchise needs to sort of “reboot” itself after Battlefield 5’s missteps. If pulled successfully, this will not only usher in a new era of Battlefield games, but a new standard for large scale multiplayer shooters in general.
That’s about it from us. What’s your take? Do you want to see 128-player matches in Battlefield 6 or do you want DICE to stick to 64-players? Sound off in the comments below.