After months of speculation, EA has finally revealed Hazard Zone, the third game mode for Battlefield 2042. Fans have suggested that Hazard Zone will end up being similar to Escape From Tarkov, but EA’s reveal today (October 14) means the time for guessing is over – here’s what Hazard Zone is all about.
Battlefield fans may be surprised with Hazard Zone – it’s a much more hardcore outing than the rest of Battlefield – but the game mode still manages to tie in with the rest of Battlefield 2042. Set in 2040, a worldwide blackout causes countries to rely on low-orbit satellites for intelligence gathering.
These temporary satellites are then brought down in US or Russian territory – depending on who owns the satellite – for the data to be retrieved. For No-Pats – individuals who have lost their homes and countries due to environmental disasters – this data is incredibly valuable, and that’s where the player comes in.
What is Hazard Zone?
Controlling No-Pat specialists, Hazard Zone is a game mode where squads of four enter a map to search for data drives, which are found in these satellites that have crashed down to Earth. To get these data drives, players must contend with other humans and AI Occupying Forces. Like Escape From Tarkov – which sends players into sessions to retrieve loot and make it out alive – the aim of Hazard Zone isn’t to kill every other player. The main goal is to grab those data drives and escape.
Securing these data drives means clearing the crashed satellite of Occupying Forces, AI soldiers who will fight to defend the data drives hidden within. Additionally, the high-value nature of the site (as well as the noise you’ll likely make when fighting Occupying Forces) will attract other squads who are drawn in by the promise of loot.
Assuming you manage to grab a data drive from the satellite, even just carrying the items carries significant risk. Intel Scanners – a gadget unique to Hazard Zone – can be used by squads to lock down the location of data drives, even if an enemy player is carrying them.
If a squad manages to fend off rivals looking to steal their items, they won’t be able to just nab their data drives and walk out. Even if they manage to secure the loot, squads can only extract at two separate times within the match. These extracts can appear at different times and locations across the map and can only be used once, meaning that only two squads – at max – can escape. In particularly bloody matches, there’s a chance that nobody manages to escape Hazard Zone alive. Dying or otherwise failing to escape in Hazard Zone means that you’ll lose anything gathered in the match.
In general, a lot of Hazard Zone is about adapting and reacting to random events within each match. There’s a low chance that a tornado can strike during a game, creating a third deadly force that stands between escaping a match with your life. More commonly, halfway through every match, two satellites with extra data drives will crash at random locations. This offers a weighty choice for players – is it worth risking everything for a chance at extra loot?
These sorts of decisions and events give Hazard Zone a much more tactical experience, one that will attract players who thrive on consequential gameplay and more long-term stakes than the All-Out Warfare or Portal modes offer. While the gameplay may be different, the setting remains the same – Hazard Zone will be playable for all maps available in All-Out warfare.
What are data drives used for?
Escaping with data drives provides value outside of each match. Data drives are converted into dark market credits upon extraction, which are used to make purchases ranging from perks to weapons, loadouts and new equipment. Perks range from providing bonus ammo, armour and carryables to faster healing and bonus credit rewards in the future. While loadout and tactical upgrades can be lost upon dying within Hazard Zone, one particular perk reimburses players with 50 per cent of the value lost.
These dark market credits add an additional layer of strategy to Hazard Zone. For players who are willing to spend the currency lavishly on high-tier upgrades and weaponry, they’ll find they have a significant advantage over other players. On the other hand, players with expensive loadouts are – of course – risking much more than someone who has taken a more budget approach to their loadout. Sneaky players may not necessarily need to spend huge chunks of dark market credits on every match if they’re not planning on actively getting into fights, but will be at an obvious disadvantage if they end up running into someone who has geared up.
Specialists in Hazard Zone
Within the game, players choose a specialist to play as. Each of these specialists ranging from hyper-mobile grappling hooks, deployable sentry guns, recon drones and medical assistance. Some of these specialists are more focused on getting into fights, while others will naturally be better suited to beelining for data drives.
Squads can only have one of each specialist, meaning that Hazard Zone places a lot of emphasis on squads thinking about the synergy their specialist choice brings to the table.
At the start of a match, squads will be able to choose their insertion point and drop at the location they want. If a player dies within a Hazard Zone match, their squad has a chance to bring them back into the fight with a Reinforcement Uplink. While these features are a fairly frequent mainstay in the battle royale genre, it’s worth remembering that this isn’t a battle royale. Smart players aren’t looking to risk their lives until they’re the last ones standing – they’re looking to prioritise merely escaping.
There’s still plenty we don’t know about Hazard Zone – more specialists will be announced at launch, and the finer details of the hardcore game mode are yet to be explained. It’s possible that EA will share more details on Battlefield 2042‘s third game mode before launch, but with just over a month left until it releases, excited fans won’t have long to wait for a chance to jump into Hazard Zone with their squad.