WWII-Themed Battlefield V Drops October 19, Abandons Paid Expansion Model
After years of using the paid-expansion-pack model for delivering new post-release content to Battlefield players, DICE is going a new direction with Battlefield V.
Today DICE revealed Tides of War, a new live-service approach to content for Battlefield V that promises fresh challenges, modes, maps, narrative moments, and rewards every few months. This event-based model clearly takes inspiration from other shooters like Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege, which have continued to grow and expand their player bases with a steady trickle of new content. The benefit of this approach compared to the old paid-expansion model is it keeps the community together instead of fragmenting them into haves and have-nots. This should keep servers busier for more maps. DICE plans to roll these out in a chapter format, taking players to new fronts set in World War II, expanding their knowledge of the great conflict, and introducing new experiences that fit the theme of the chapter.
The lost revenue from abandoning paid expansions isn't paltry, so EA must make up that money elsewhere. Battlefield V hopes to accomplish this by dropping the battlepack loot-crate system and introducing a dramatically expanded player-customization infrastructure called The Company. Under this new menu, players can tweak the look of their soldiers for the various classes from head to toe, as well as the designs of their weapons and vehicles. DICE plans to continually introduce new soldiers' outfits, face paint, weapons skins, and vehicle skins via regular content drops. For example, if one Tides of War update focuses on the Battle of Narvik in Norway, the newly available items could be winter themed. Players can earn everything in the game by playing, but you can also spend real money to acquire an in-game currency for unlocks. DICE stressed this system is purely cosmetic; nothing that affects gameplay will be for sale.
Live services typically don't release new content at the same pace or breadth as paid DLC models. For instance, Rainbow Six Siege has only released 18 maps since it launched in 2015. By comparison, Battlefield 1 has 32 maps, despite having released a year later. When asked about how the move to a free live service affects the number of maps, design director Daniel Berlin wouldn't commit to a number. "I can't say anything in terms of numbers, but we are really f---ng dedicated to making sure that this journey in Tides of War is something we're really leaning into," he said. "I can't talk specifics, but there's going to be tons of stuff for you guys."
The Battlefield V Play First trial begins October 11 on Xbox One and PC. Players who buy the deluxe edition can join the fray on October 16, and the standard edition launches on October 19 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. To learn more about the game, read our in-depth preview here.