|Developer(s)||Digital Illusions CE|
Aspyr Media (OS X)
|Designer(s)||Romain de Waubert de Genlis|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X|
Battlefield 1942 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The game can be played in single-player mode against the video game AI or in multiplayer mode against players on the Internet or in a local area network. It is a popular platform for mod developers, with a large number of released modifications that alter the gameplay and theme.
In-game, players assume the role of one of five classes of infantry: Scout, Assault, Anti-Tank, Medic, and Engineer. Players also have 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.
Each battle takes place on one of several maps located in a variety of places and famous battlefields in all of the major theaters of World War II: the Pacific, European, North African, Eastern, and Italian Fronts. Combat is between the Axis Powers and the Allies. The location determines which nation-specific armies are used (for example, on the Wake Island map, it is Japan versus the United States, while on the El Alamein map, it is Germany versus the United Kingdom). The maps in Battlefield 1942 are based on real battles and are somewhat realistically portrayed.
The gameplay of Battlefield 1942 generally has a more co-operative focus than previous games of this nature, as it is not only important to kill the opposition but to also hold certain "control points" around the map. Capturing control points allows the team to reinforce itself by enabling players and vehicles to spawn in a given area. Additionally, capturing and controlling control points also reduces enemy reinforcements. Battlefield 1942 was one of the first mainstream games to represent a dramatic shift in FPS game play mentality not only favoring individualism, but simultaneously encouraging teamwork and coordination.
The default game play mode, Conquest, centers on the capture and control of control points; once a team captures a control point, its members can respawn from it. When a team loses control of all their control points, they cannot respawn. And if no one is alive, the team with no "spawn" points or the popular term "tickets" loses.
Games are composed of rounds. A team wins the round when the other team runs out of tickets. A team loses tickets when its members are killed, but also when the other team holds a majority of the capture points on the map (typically when one team holds more capture points than the other). Therefore, sometimes the winning team must hunt down straggling or hiding enemy forces at the end of a round.
Spawn tickets also play a vital role in the success of both teams. Every time a player on a team dies and respawns, their team loses one ticket. Every team starts each round with between 150 and 300 tickets, depending on the team's role (e.g., defense). Teams also gradually lose tickets depending on how many spawn points they control. As a general rule, the fewer spawn points controlled by a team, the more tickets they lose. For a team of 32 on a 64 player map, with 150 tickets, this means a little less than 5 re spawns or deaths on average for every player if they hold their starting spawn points.
The player can choose to play as either the Allied team or the Axis team. The Allies consists of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, while the Axis consists of Germany and Japan. Regardless of which nation is chosen by the player, there are five different roles of infantry that the player can assume the role: Scout, Assault, Medic, Anti-tank, and Engineer.
Each role has its own strength and weakness. For example, the scout role has long-range surveillance, high stopping power and the ability to provide spotting for artillery shelling against an enemy position (unlike other games with a similar feature, other player characters must also supply the artillery fire); however, the sniper rifle is not designed to be used in close-quarter combat and players frequently treat this role as just a plain sniper role by not providing spotting for artillery. Assault is the standard role, and provides very aggressive firepower. The Anti-tank role specializes against vehicles and tanks, but their main weapon is inaccurate against enemy infantry. The Medic role has the ability to heal (himself and other players), but his sub-machine gun has less stopping power than the Assault's weapons. The Engineer has the ability to repair damaged vehicles and stationary weapons, and they also have the ability to deploy explosives, which are highly effective against both enemy infantry and vehicles, and land mines, which destroy enemy vehicles on contact.
The game was developed by a team of 14 people at Digital Illusions. Battlefield 1942 was built on the formula of the less well-known and successful Codename Eagle video game, set in an alternate history World War I. It featured single and multiplayer modes. The earlier Refractor 1 engine had more arcade-style physics and a less realistic focus than its successor, Refractor 2, which was used in Battlefield 2. A Macintosh-compatible version of Battlefield 1942 was made and released by Aspyr Media in mid-2004. An Xbox version of the game was also announced in early 2001 but was cancelled almost two years later so Electronic Arts could more closely work on an expansion pack for the PC.
Two expansion packs would be released for Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome (adding the Italian Front) and Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII, both adding various new gameplay modes, maps, and game concepts. The Road to Rome focuses on the Italian battles, allowing players to play as the Free French forces or as the Royal Italian Army. Secret Weapons of WWII focuses on prototypical, experimental, and rarely used weapons and vehicles (such as jet packs), and added subfactions to the German and British Armies, the German Elite Troops and British Commandos. Accompany each were patches to the base game that fixed bugs, and added extra content (such as the Battle of Britain map) to the base game. Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition includes the original game and Battlefield 1942: The Road To Rome, and the Battlefield 1942: World War II Anthology added Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII expansion pack. Battlefield 1942: The Complete Collection later added Battlefield Vietnam and Battlefield Vietnam WWII Mod.
In the United States, Battlefield 1942 sold 680,000 copies and earned $27.1 million by August 2006. At the time, this led Edge to rank it as the country's 18th best-selling computer game released since January 2000. Combined sales of all Battlefield computer games, including Battlefield 1942, had reached 2.7 million units in the United States by August 2006. In December 2002, the game received a "Gold" sales award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD), indicating sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The game received "generally favorable reviews", just one point shy of "universal acclaim", according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. At 6th annual Interactive Achievement Awards, Battlefield 1942 received awards for Online Gameplay, Innovation in PC Gaming, PC Game of the Year, and Game of the Year. In March 2010 Battlefield 1942 was awarded with "Swedish game of the decade" award at the computer game gala hosted by Swedish Games Industry.
The editors of Computer Games Magazine named Battlefield 1942 the best computer game of 2002, tied with No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way. They called it "a near-perfect balance between fun and realism". It also won the magazine's "Best Multiplayer" award. It likewise won PC Gamer US's "2002 Best Multiplayer Game" and overall "2002 Game of the Year" awards; the editors hailed it as "the realization of our 'dream PC game' — multiplayer battles in which every interesting element of combat is playable by human teammates and opponents."
In March 2004, Battlefield Vietnam was released. In 2005, a sequel set in the modern era, Battlefield 2 was released. In 2006, a sequel set in the future era, Battlefield 2142 was released. On 8 July 2009, Battlefield 1943 was released for Xbox Live Arcade and on PlayStation Network one day later. The Battlefield: Bad Company series was launched in 2008, followed by Battlefield 3, in October 2011 on EA Games' Origin network. Battlefield 4 was released in October 2013. Battlefield Hardline, a cops and robbers style battlefield, launched on 17 March 2015. Battlefield 1, a World War I based title, was released on 21 October 2016. Battlefield V was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 20, 2018. This will be the first time since Battlefield 1943 that the series sees a return to a World War II theater of operations, and the first since Battlefield 1942 set outside the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II.
An October 2004 public release from EA noted the game's modding community. PC Gamer described in October 2005 one particular mod Who Dares Wins as "the last great mods before the Battlefield 1942 community moved over to Dice's Sequel. It's a fitting end to an era."
Like Half-Life and some other popular FPS games, Battlefield 1942 spawned a number of mods. Most did not progress very far and were abandoned without ever producing a public release. Some are very limited and just include some gameplay changes or even a different loading screen while others are total conversions that modify content and gameplay extensively. A few mods have become popular and are nearly games in their own right. Early modifications of Battlefield 1942 were produced without a SDK. Later a "Mod Development Kit", Battlefield Mod Development Toolkit, was produced by EA to help development of mods. With the release of the Battlefield 1942 sequel Battlefield Vietnam and Battlefield 2, some mods have released a new version or have continued development with that game. Battlefield Vietnam uses an updated version of the Refractor 2 game engine. Some mods have switched to the computer games Söldner: Secret Wars, Half-Life 2 while others were releasing a standalone game after completed mod development for Battlefield 1942 (Eve of Destruction - REDUX and FinnWars).
- Battlefield 1918 was based on World War I between the Entente and Central Powers.
- Battlefield Interstate 1982, mentioned in 1UP "Free PC Games" December 2003 article. (Free PC Games "1UP.ORG" December 2003.)
- Battle G.I. Joe was reviewed on About.com, by Michael Klappenbach. The mod was also contacted by Hasbro for IP issues, as noted in Am I Mod or Not? (Nieborg, 2005)
- BattleGroup42 mod aims for historical accuracy and teamplay, and one of the very few active mods for Battlefield 1942 as of 2018. It also released a sequel for Battlefield Vietnam (as BattleGroup42: Pacific) and Battlefield 2 (as BattleGroup Frontlines) respectively.
- Desert Combat, produced by Trauma Studios, was winner of FilePlanet's Best Mod of 2003 Award' and many other reviews and awards, such as the March 2003 PC Magazine. PC Gamer described it as "Desert Combat is set in the white-hot conflict zone of the Middle East and pits the United States against Iraq." Articles noted it was helped by the Iraq War, which increased the number of page views to approximately 15,000 per day, or even between 20,000 to 70,000. Desert Combat was pointed out as having two mods of its own, DC Extended and Desert Combat Realism in Am I Mod or Not? (Nieborg, 2005)
- Eve Of Destruction was winner of PC Gamer 2003 Mod of the Year. Dan Morris of PC Gamer noted in the March 2004 issue of PC Gamer, "While Battlefield Vietnam was still a twinkle in its developers' eyes, this standout mod debuted to a rapturous reception from the Battlefield 1942 faithful."
- Experience WWII was described in PC Gamer as having substantial changes to be historically accurate that directly impacts gameplay.
- FinnWars was featured in Pelit magazine in issue 9/2005, and PC Pelaaja in 2007. FinnWars is based in Winter and Continuation Wars between Finland and the Soviet Union, as well as Lapland War between Finland and Nazi Germany.
- Forgotten Hope, a 2003 mod that aimed at a high degree of historical accuracy, was noted for including over 250 new pieces of authentic equipment (at the time more than any other World War II-themed FPS). It was awarded the Macologist Mod of the Year Award by Inside Mac Games in 2006 after the mod was ported to the Mac. It was followed by its 2006 Battlefield 2 sequel, Forgotten Hope 2.
- Galactic Conquest was noted for its permission to blatantly use Lucasarts Star Wars universe material in Am I Mod or Not? (Nieborg, 2005). It was mentioned in Edge in April 2004. Galactic Conquest was reviewed on TechTV's X-Play show in 2004.
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- SilentHeroes won the PC ACTION-Super Mod Award in edition 07/2006 of the German gaming-magazine PC ACTION. Also, it was featured on many Norwegian and Swedish media websites, including VG, Aftonbladet and IDG.
- Who Dares Wins was reviewed in the August 2005 UK edition of PC Gamer magazine, and a copy of version 0.2 was distributed with the magazine on DVD-ROM to its readers.
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