History of the “Battlefield” Series
With the release of Battlefield 3 set for this fall I figured it would be a good time to brush up on the history of the “Battlefield” series and see just how far it has come.
To begin, a lot of people don’t realize that Battlefield 1942 was in fact not the first of the Battlefield Series, not officially at least. The first game wasn’t even called “Battlefield” but instead it was called Codename Eagle. This was the first game to use the Refractor Game Engine. This engine was later sold to Digital Illusions CE (DICE) who then modified the engine with the original creators, “Refraction Games”, to co-develop the Refractor 2 Engine. This was in fact the engine that drove the rest of the “Battlefield” series as we know it today.
The first official Battlefield game to be released was Battlefield 1942 on September 10, 2002. This was the game that set new boundaries for open-world shooters. It introduced combat that included not only infantry but also gave players the ability to fly various World War II fighter aircraft and bombers, navigate capital ships, submarines and aircraft carriers, man coastal artillery defenses, drive tanks, APCs and jeeps, and take control of anti-aircraft guns and mounted machine guns. This and that fact that the game was just sheer fun to play is what set the Battlefield series off into the right direction and why today people still avidly play Battlefield 1942. Not to mention there were two expansion packs later released for BF1942. The Road to Rome on Feb. 3, 2003 and The Secret Weapons of WWII on Sept. 4, 2003. Both of these expansions added more weapons, more vehicles and more maps to add to the overall experience.
The second full fledged Battlefield game was Battlefield Vietnam released on March 14, 2004. As with any Battlefield game this one had authentic maps, weapons, and vehicles based off of the real Vietnam war. The largest new innovation to BF:Vietnam was the introduction to something known as asymmetrical warfare. This is what lead to the gameplay being drastically different depending on which side you chose. Instead of both sides having an equal opportunity with each weapon and class you had to learn how to use the weapons you had in your arsenal and create your strategy accordingly. At first this wasn’t welcomed greatly by the community but as you can see today that a lot of games have taken this idea and used it themselves noting that the gameplay is largely varied in doing so. Side note, later released was Battlefield Vietnam: Redux which was the original game with all the extra patches and maps that were added through them. No official expansions were released.
The third game in the series was simply called Battlefield 2. It was released on June 21, 2005. For those who don’t know Battlefield 2 is still played by many people today and the current version of 1.5 was actually updated back in just Sept. 2009. Battlefield 2 was the first of the series to bring you modern combat. This was the first real “Modern Warfare” game. Battlefield 2 introduced gameplay aspects such as squads, the “commander” position, awards and unlockable weapons. Also new to the series was the Battlefield recorder which allowed for you to view your recently played game with quite a bit of controls such as free camera view, selected player view, and speed. However, the video was done within the game engine so no rewind feature was available. This acts very similar to the Source Engine demo ability widely used today to take video of Counter Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike Source matches as well as other Source Engine games. Later introduced on Oct. 24, 2005 was Battfield 2: Modern Combat, the first of the series to be released on consoles. While the name was Battlefield the gameplay was quite different then its PC counterpart. Speaking of the PC version, there was one official Expansion Pack called Special Forces released on Nov. 22, 2005. Special Forces added more maps, more vehicles, weapons and more awards. Later on two “Booster Packs” were released. These included the Euro Force and Armored Fury. The difference between BF2 Expansion Packs and Booster Packs were booster packs were free and meant to simply add to the gameplay and not stand on their own. Battlefield 2 is still a very highly praised game today, even though by today’s standards the graphics aren’t up to par, the gameplay and fun factor is still there.
The next in the series was known as Battlefield 2142. The game was released Oct. 17, 2006 and was the first game set in the future. The game itself got decent reviews as it still had that large open world battlefield feel but the addition of futuristic weapons and vehicles wasn’t welcomed by the gaming community and brought about a slew of mixed reviews. There was one booster pack released on March 8, 2007 called Northern Strike. Once again it added more vehicles, maps, and unlocks to the original game. Today there is still a much larger following of BF1942 and BF2 then there is with BF2142. To be honest you just don’t hear about it much.