(Pocket-lint) - Battlefield is one of the grand old dames of the online shooter scene - it's been wowing fans with its huge-scale battles and adrenaline-pumping blend of vehicular and infantry combat for years and years now.
It's also jumped happily around into different time settings, from its origins in the Second World War, back to the First World War, and of course into both modern combat scenarios and even futuristic science fiction.
Now, developer DICE is hard at work on Battlefield 6, the next entry in the series. We've rounded up everything we know about the next Battlefield game, right here, so that you can stay on top of things. Keep checking back, as we'll update this story whenever new details come out.
Battlefield 6 release date
It's key to stress that, for now, there's not a lot of marketing information to go on when it comes to the next Battlefield game, including when it comes to its release date. We know a few concrete facts, though - DICE is definitely working on the game and has been putting more and more of its resources into the project in recent months.
In fact, in mid-2020 both Battlefield V and Star Wars Battlefront II, the studio's two big existing multiplayer shooters, saw end-of-life updates released, which confirmed that content will no longer be produced for either title going forward.
This was, according to those familiar with the studio, partly in order to free up those staff members who were working on the games' content calendars, letting them move over to Battlefield 6 to accelerate matters on the new project. On the one hand, that means it's a work in progress, but on the other, we've had no formal announcement about the game.
Our main source of information has been EA investors' calls, in which EA CEO Andrew Wilson has repeatedly confirmed that the game is slated for a Holiday 2021 launch - in fact, his most recent revelation in February 2021 was that the game would be unveiled in Spring this year, so we're hoping that we'll be seeing gameplay very soon.
That's been corroborated (if you can call it that) by serial leaker Jeff Grubb, who says his sources are indicating that a May reveal is pencilled in at present, where the game will be completely shown off (although we're wary that there might be no gameplay in the first look!). The most recent update from EA says that the reveal trailer is nearly ready, in fact, so it should hopefully drop imminently.
A recent rumour, interestingly, says that the game will be called simply Battlefield, ditching the numericals to act as a reset for the franchise - we'll be very interested to see if that comes true when it's revealed.
Battlefield 6 setting and gameplay
With each Battlefield game comes a key question - when and where is it set? Given that previous entries have had seriously diverse settings, a lot is up in the air on this front.
However, most of the rumours we've seen point toward a more modern setting. With Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V, DICE went back to both World Wars to explore an earlier form of combat, but the likes of Battlefield 3 and 4 showed years ago that it can excel at modern combat scenarios, too.
That's being confirmed by more and more leaks, with various sources indicating that Dice is looking to recapture the magic of Battlefield 3, and that the game can almost be considered a soft reboot of that era in the franchise's past. In fact, the latest info is that the game will act as a hub for previous games, letting custom games evoke different eras according to the weaponry they allow.
Either way, this is a detail that DICE will be guarding closely until it's ready to fully unveil Battlefield 6 - a huge amount of the hype surrounding the game will likely be triggered by when and where it's principally set. We'll keep our ears to the ground on that front.
However, when it comes to gameplay we can make a few more leaps. We know that Battlefield's core formula is unlikely to change, so you can expect big maps, big player counts and vehicles aplenty.
The manner in which the likes of Call of Duty: Warzone have upped the player count to highs of 150 and 200 in recent times also makes us hopeful that we could see some truly huge battles unfold in Battlefield 6, and the extremely limited test footage DICE showed at this year's EA Play looks like it promises just that.
Featuring a huge building collapsing, and whitebox footage of hundreds of soldiers on-screen at once, it's an exciting glimpse of things to come for Battlefield fans.
Since then, we've again heard that increasing the player-count for gamers is a priority at Dice right now, from a leaker who's been proved right a few times before.
Battlefield news; Maps have been designed with 128+ players in mind. But 32 vs 32 will also be a standard playlist.— Tom Henderson (@_TomHenderson_) August 13, 2020
That's an encouraging idea, and Henderson also went on to say that Dice could be considering whether to add a free-to-play Battle Royale portion to the game, mirroring the successful tactics Activision has used with Call of Duty: Warzone.
EA has also indicated that the game will have unprecedented scale on the destructibility side (hard to believe in comparison to the high watermark of Bad Company 2), and Henderson has popped up again to hint more on that front, too:
Showcasing a famous "Levolution" event from Battlefield 4 involving the collapse of a huge skyscraper to change the map, he's heavily implying that levels in Battlefield 6 will contain multiple such enormous buildings that can be levelled. If it's on the mark, this could be super exciting, as that scale of destruction would indeed be pretty much unprecedented in a mainstream multiplayer shooter.
Finally, it's also recently been confirmed that DICE LA, a sister studio to the Stockhold developer, is working on Battlefield as well. Whether this is the same game, or expansion content for it, is unknown, but we've got confirmation that something's in the works there from developer Justine Wiebe on Twitter.
It’s wondrous I get to work on a game I fell in love with almost 20 years ago! The sandbox play of 1942 was just amazing for its time. I look forward to hearing from all of you what you loved and hope for in a future BF game.— Justin Wiebe (@JA_Wiebe) February 8, 2021
In fact, it's not just DICE LA - EA recently made a statement confirming DICE LA's involvement and also announcing that racing experts Criterion are moving over to support Battlefield's development, to ensure that the game releases as well as it possibly can. It seems EA is doubling down on the next Battlefield game, which is music to our ears.
World War 3 setting?
A slightly older rumour appeared on Reddit suggesting that Battlefield 6 will feature a World War 3 setting with battles taking place between NATO and Russian forces using near-future weaponry including advanced drones and vehicles.
Like other recent Battlefield outings, Battlefield 6 won't have a single-player campaign but instead will have "War Stories" with small, episodic experiences for players to enjoy. The Redditor claims that one of these will see you thrust into the boots of an American soldier fighting off Russian forces in American suburbs, while another will feature a British spy infiltrating Eastern Europe.
In terms of the multiplayer experience, there will be the usual 64 vs 64 player combat with modes including team deathmatch, domination, conquest, breakthrough and grand operations.
Grand Operations in World War 3
The rumours suggest that Grand Operations has been updated for Battlefield 6 and will now take place over a five day period. Each battle in the campaign will take place on a different day and the winning team will have the upper hand on the following day.
Each day of the operation will also take place on a different map. This experience is described for us at length, so we'd recommend heading to the post to read it in full, but the system effectively updates Grand Operations a little, to have more reinforcements in the form of vehicles and respawns if a team is struggling - replacing the likes of the Behemoths from Battlefield 1, for example.
It's worth taking all this with a pinch of salt as it's just rumoured at the moment.
Battlefield V's battle royale mode, Firestorm, was beset by both delays and the burden of not being free to pay, and while it was a really fun option, it's almost completely dead now, with few players and long matchmaking times.
However, the genre is just as popular as ever, and the huge success of Call of Duty: Warzone has likely given Dice and EA a template to follow - a free-to-play battle royale attached to a premium multiplayer offering. That's the rumoured plan for Battlefield 6, although the BR part of things is apparently still likely to launch later, in 2022.
That sounds promising, and hopefully can translate to an ecosystem that has a healthier player base a year or two down the line.
Battlefield 6 platforms
Interestingly, at a time like this with the next generation of consoles finally on the market the question of which platforms something like Battlefield 6 will support doesn't so much concern the new consoles, but the older ones.
DICE has confirmed that it's making the next Battlefield game with next-gen in mind, which is obvious from the fact that both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are out in the wild. However, it hasn't gone so far as to confirm that this definitely means we won't see Battlefield 6 on current-generation hardware.
That question aside, we know that we'll see Battlefield 6 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, and we'd expect it to take full advantage of the new graphical capabilities of those consoles. DICE has long been a specialist in eking out spectacular graphical fidelity from consoles, so Battlefield 6 is likely to be an envelope-pusher on the graphics side of things, and indeed in the realm of sound design too.