EA and DICE show a trailer about Battlefield 2042’s Hazard Zone mode. In this relatively small-scale mode, squads must acquire data disks and reach the only two extraction options to leave the perilous battlefield.
The background of Hazard Mode is a battle between the United States and Russia in 2040. There is talk of a global blackout event where the number of satellites is reduced by 70 percent. Temporary satellites in low Earth orbit have become the new method of intelligence gathering. The satellites collect aerial photos and data based on heatmaps and other data. These temporary satellites are being shot down in areas controlled by the US and Russia so that the occupying forces can obtain intelligence in the form of the special data drives aboard the falling satellites.
Hazard Zone has up to 32 players on Xbox Series X and S, PlayStation 5, and PC; on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the maximum is 24. The mode is formed by squads of four members where only one of each type of soldier or Specialist can be in a squad. These groups not only have to compete with other squads to get as many hard drives as possible, they also have to fight with ‘deadly Occupying Forces’. Those are opponents separate from the enemy squads trying to protect the data drives. It is unclear whether these are AI opponents. Presumably AI players will not be part of the squads, as the computer-controlled soldiers can be part of the two warring factions in the All-Out Warfare portion of Battlefield 2042. There are also tornadoes that can occasionally arise on the battlefield.
The Hazard Zone mode is playable on all seven available All-Out Warfare maps. At the start of a round you will be briefed about the playing field, the locations and where you will land on the map. Collecting most data drives does not automatically lead to success. There are only two temporary extraction moments, where squads can leave the battlefield by plane. The goal is to successfully exit the battlefield with as many hard drives as possible. The first extraction moment is halfway through a round; that is a few minutes after the start of the round. A random location is chosen for the Extraction Zone. Squads only have minutes to get here successfully. The second Extraction Zone is at the end, about ten to twelve minutes after the start of the round. It’s about choosing whether or not to fight for the first extraction, or to let it come down to the second and final opportunity. It is therefore possible that two squads successfully leave the battlefield, but it is also possible that no squad succeeds. If only a single member of a squad gets away successfully, the rest of his squad will still be rewarded.
Players who are felled during a round cannot simply return to the battlefield. They end up in a spectator screen and can only be retrieved if a teammate uses a so-called Reinforcement Uplink. These are available scattered around the playing field, but teams can also purchase such an uplink prior to the round. This is done with so-called Dark Market Credits. These can be obtained by successfully exiting the folder containing hard drives; each hard drive translates into a certain amount of credits. This currency is Hazard Zone specific and cannot be used for a Reinforcement Uplink alone. The money can also be used prior to a round to purchase special weapons, upgrades or gadgets that can only be used in Hazard Zone. There are also other actions that give credits, but the most dominant way is to get hold of and successfully remove the hard drives.
One of the gadgets only available in Hazard Zone is the Intel Scanner. This allows roughly the correct locations of the already crashed satellites to be determined. These locations can be passed on to the other squad members. The data drives are always scannable, no matter where they are located or who carries them. Halfway through a round, satellites with multiple hard drives again fall from the sky, making these satellites extra valuable.
Recently, there was a two-day open beta of Battlefield 2042, which featured a large multiplayer playing field called All-Out Warfare. This part revolves around playing fields with up to 128 players and various modes are available, such as the classic Conquest. In addition to All-Out Warfare, there are two more parts: Hazard Zone and Battlefield Portal. The latter is a suite of tools that allow players to create their own Battlefield experiences, including their own rules. As part of Battlefield Portal, the necessary old Battlefield maps will also be available, such as El Alamein, Caspian Border and Valparaiso. Battlefield 2042 will be available on November 19.