Wake Island has returned to the world of Battlefield and brings a wave of nostalgia. This map first appeared way back in Battlefield 1942 and has gone on to become a fan favourite. Its horseshoe shape creates unique soldier encounters whilst the surrounding seas are an ideal place for territory-defining ship battles. Its return in Battlefield V has been much anticipated, and as a final announced map for the Pacific update shows a real turning point for Battlefield V.
A Slow Start
The latest Battlefield entry hasn’t had an ideal start to life. The tech behind it made it feel a little too similar to Battlefield 1, and the differentiating factor that was World War 2 felt undercooked. The game aimed to showcase lesser-known battles of that era, but fans wanted a more classic World War 2 experience. The battle royale mode also didn’t launch until months after release, and core multiplayer updates were slow too. Changes were scrapped, new modes cancelled before release, and the whole thing became a bit of a mess. However, DICE has refocused over the last few months and the Pacific Theatre content has given BFV a lease of life.
A little over six weeks ago, Pacific-themed content began to roll out for Battlefield V. The initial wave included two maps, two new factions, a bunch of classic weaponry and more. The menus were overhauled too and the Pacific Theatre felt like a relaunch of sorts. This was the first time Battlefield V felt like a proper World War 2 shooter and with 2017’s Call of Duty WW2 skipping Pacific-era content, it filled a nice gap. Of the two maps, Pacific Storm looked and played brilliantly on Xbox One X, with Iwo Jima giving another classic map a new lick of paint. Now, the daddy of Battlefield maps has rounded out the Pacific trio and the update shows us what Battlefield needs to do in the future.
Remember the Past
The first lesson learned with this content is how Battlefield should keep in touch with its past. Spin-offs like Hardline and the initial vibe coming from BFV became awkward phases for the franchise rather than fresh new takes on the formula. Hardline just didn’t feel like a Battlefield game at all with its “cops n robbers” theme, and Battlefield V has only just begun to feel like a World War 2 game.
Battlefield’s core identity is about authentic military combat on a large scale and DICE must stick to this mantra to keep hardcore fans around. Battlefield V certainly has the foundations for this, and the Pacific content shows that with the right direction, things can improve. The developer recently announced that a new entry in the series won’t launch until at least April 2021. That gives Battlefield V a chance to further develop into a WW2 entry that can sit alongside the likes of Battlefield 1942 and Xbox 360 arcade’s 1943.
We Need a Plan
The most crucial lesson DICE must take forward though, is to have a proper post-launch plan. The first few months of BFV were rough, where meaningful additions and changes seemed to take months to release. This was the first time that Battlefield moved away from its “premium” DLC model since Bad Company 2, and it showed. Modern Warfare has gone down a similar route this year and has already done a better job at releasing content. Battlefield V took almost six months to release one core multiplayer map earlier this year where Modern Warfare has already released four maps, with more to come within its first season.
The style of release seen with the recent Pacific update is definitely a step in the right direction from DICE, but we need to see this more going forward. Forget just BFV; Battlefield on next-gen must do a better job at supporting itself in the modern age of games as a service. If it does, a modern Battlefield entry could really thrive on next-generation consoles.
So, there we have it. Wake Island is now live in Battlefield V and puts a nice lid on the Pacific Theatre for BFV. It remains to be seen where updates go from here, but we’d love to see even more iconic WW2 era locations. Perhaps a few new War Stories could be added too. This would bolster BFV’s single-player offering, but we’re not holding out for that one. However, we’re still over a year away from a new Battlefield game, and we hope DICE can surprise us between now and then.