After much anticipation, Battlefield 2042 was finally unveiled last month, and it's shaping up to be a spectacle.
In the most futuristic the franchise has gone in years (Battlefield 2142 still holds the overall record there), early previews have shown robot dogs, tornadoes, and driving quad bikes off of buildings.
And yet, I'm hopeful the game will look to the past, too.
Battlefield 2042 Needs To Recapture Battlefield 3's Magic
Battlefield 3 was one of the first online shooters I fell head over heels in love with. It took DICE's Battlefield template and stretched it across a contemporaneous and fictional conflict.
This meant that for all of the skyscraper-toppling action of Battlefield 4, its immediate predecessor had sides fight in tighter market squares and alleyways. It still had the real-time destruction of walls and cover, but it also offered an entire expansion pack dedicated to close-quarters engagements.
In truth, the campaign was nonsense, with a couple of exciting set pieces here or there, but the multiplayer, as you'd expect, did the heavy lifting.
It was the first time I witnessed the "only in Battlefield" moments that EA's marketing team keep telling us all about, and the first time outside of Halo that I began to understand a combat sandbox.
In many ways, Battlefield 3's open-ended nature feels like a multiplayer Far Cry. Rather than taking out outposts your own way, you're picking off squads. Jumping off of an ATV strapped with C4 and detonating it at the right time to rout an enemy defensive line? Creeping up behind a capture point to snipe enemies as your comrades sweep in from the opposite direction? Flying an aircraft on a bombing run before accidentally crashing an F-15 into a tree? It's all Battlefield.
I'm really excited for 2042, but I hope it knows when to be a serious, team-based shooter and when to be a bizarre series of crazy schemes.
For more on Battlefield 2042, check out everything we know here.