EA and DICE have revealed details about Battlefield 2042’s new multiplayer mode Hazard Zone. We had the chance to watch the reveal trailer ahead of its release. Here’s your latest breakdown of how it all works when it goes live on launch day.
The backstory of Hazard Zone begins in the year 2040. Tensions between Russia and the US have intensified after a worldwide blackout event reduced the total number of satellites by 70%. Low-orbit satellites have now become a temporary solution for gathering valuable intel from both sides.
After these temporary satellites are launched, they are brought down in US and Russian controlled territory, allowing the Occupying Forces (AI) to take these vital, radiation-hardened Data Drives. You are part of a No-Pat Task Force assigned to retrieve these Data Drives as these satellites crash to the surface.
So how does this gameplay mode work?
Hazard Zone “combines tense, squad-focused survival experience gameplay with the best of the Battlefield sandbox,” and is playable on all seven All-Out Warfare launch maps.
You squad up with a team of four players to retrieve Data Drives scattered throughout a map while competing against other squads who all share the same goal. You must extract in time with Data Drives before a storm blows through the battlefield and turns the area into a no-fly zone.
Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players will play in 24-player rounds, while Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and PC players will have 32-player matches.
Battlefield 2042 has broken down the rounds into five phases: Strategise and Equip, Insert, Retrieval, First Extraction and Last Extraction.
Strategise and Equip/Insert
A mission area briefing gives players intel and confirms an insertion point.
Each squad member picks one Specialist each, but you are restricted to only having one of each Specialist on your team. Planning your squad is vital to your survival, so choosing your Specialist and the build of your team will determine your approach each round. For example, you could play offensively with Mackay’s grappling hook, have a Falck aggressively healing, or you can get cheeky and greedy with high-risk, high-reward plays as Casper with his recon drone and keep Falck on those all-important heals.
So why are these Data Drives so important? Each Data Drive you successfully extract is converted into Hazard Zone-specific currency known as Dark Market Credits. The rewards you receive for a successful extraction will be based on how many Data Drives you obtain, and this will turn into XP and Dark Market credits to give you an advantage for your next round. You can spend your Dark Market Credits during this phase to add specific weapon and equipment load-outs, and there are also Hazard Zone specific tactical upgrades that can be added, such as increased carrying capacity of Data Drives, faster healing, and additional magazines for primary weapons.
After this planning stage is complete, you will deploy from the Exodus to your insertion point.
The hunt for the Data Drives begins! An incredibly important and unique Hazard Zone gadget you will want to have at least one squad member equip before deploying in every run is the Intel Scanner. The Intel Scanner will assist in revealing approximate Data Drive locations of the pre-crashed satellites and relay this info back to your squad. This may even include the Scanner picking up Data Drives that have been retrieved by other squads.
The people that will be in your way will not only be the opposing teams, but there will be Occupying Forces protecting the Data Drives everyone is trying to retrieve. You’ll need to be smart with how you approach them as they will be focused on protecting the satellites, so the longer you’re engaged with them, the more resources you may use, and the more attention you might attract.
During a match, more satellites will crash containing several Data Drives, making those sites a hotspot zone for those who are brave enough to try and gather more. If you die during the round, you’ll move to a Spectator Screen but the fight might not be over yet. If your teammates have a Reinforcement Uplink, they can bring you back into the match. These Uplinks can be found scattered across the map or be equipped as a Tactical Upgrade before match deployment.
Also, watch out for tornadoes – their occurrence in matches is rare, but they can wreak havoc on the map to sweep you (and your competition) off your feet in the middle of combat.
Now you have gathered your Data Drives, but this doesn’t mean anything unless you successfully extract. You have to decide now whether you leave for the First Extraction, or risk it all for more Data Drives and wait for the Last Extraction.
After a few minutes into the round, a random location on the map will become your designated Extraction Zone. If you decide to extract now, you can head to your Extraction Zone and fight to leave on a CV-38 Condor.
If you’re up for a challenge, you can wait for the Last Extraction, which opens up roughly 10-12 minutes after the round begins. All remaining teams will need to fight over this single extraction point and this is where it all goes down – if at least one member of your team manages to extract, you’ll still be rewarded. However, if your entire squad gets left behind, you lose everything you have gathered.
Each Specialist you play as starts at a level of 0 and will increase by one for each successful extractions made in a row – an Extraction Streak. The higher your Extraction Streak, the better discounts you will receive when purchasing items for your loadout, as well as Tactical Upgrades. If you fail a round, your specialist level is reset to 0.
Based on the trailer, Hazard Zone looks not for the faint of heart! I’m keen to see how the game mode plays at launch and if it receives a big reception on the competitive first-person shooter scene. Will you be interested in playing Hazard Zone, as well as the All-Out Warfare mode? Let us know in the comments below!
Battlefield 2042 will release on November 19 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X&S, Xbox One and PC. EA Play members and those who pre-order the Gold and Ultimate editions will get seven-day early access beginning on November 12, 2021.