Battlefield 2042 is replacing classes with Specialists—here’s what we know
Battlefield 2042 won’t have the series’ traditional classes. Instead, it’s introducing Specialists, which are essentially replacing the standard Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon classes from Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 while also using them as inspiration.
There are several key differences between Specialists and Battlefield’s previous classes. Specialists each have their own name, gadget, and trait, like Apex Legends’ Legends or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Specialists. And while each of 2042’s Specialists do fit a certain category that hems to the Assault, Engineer, Support, or Recon archetypes, their weapon options aren’t limited to what kind of character they are. In other words, a Specialist who functions as a Recon-style character isn’t limited to sniper rifles. Any character can carry any weapon. Likewise, every Specialist has an open gadget slot that they can use to carry an additional tool on top of the gadget that’s locked to them.
DICE stated that there will be 10 Specialists at launch, with four more coming over the course of the game’s first year of post-launch content. During a recent preview event, we got to meet four of the 10 launch Specialists and briefly see them in action. We also got confirmation that the wingsuit in the reveal trailer is tied to another, unannounced Specialist, and we’re guessing that the Boston Dynamics–esque robot dog is another Specialist’s specific gadget.
Certainly, these Specialists will play a large role in Battlefield 2042’s battle passes when it comes to the kinds of cosmetics you can unlock. DICE did state that no maps would be tied to the Premium, paid version of the battle pass, but they didn’t specifically state that other gameplay elements, like Specialists and weapons, would also be available with the free battle pass. However, there’s always the possibility that people who pay for the Premium battle pass will get instant access to any new Specialists, while players grinding the free version will be able to unlock them in the later stages.
The other interesting thing to note about the Specialists is how they play into the game’s overarching lore. Each Specialist is a Non-Patriated person, or a “no-pat,” and comes from a different country. In Battlefield 2042’s vision of the future, the U.S. and Russia are taking advantage of ecological disaster and mass exodus to source soldiers for their war against each other. These Specialists are the soldiers that they’re enlisting. That being said, we’re almost certain that Specialists won’t be tied to any one faction, meaning whether if you’re playing for the U.S. team or the Russian team, you’ll get to play as whichever Specialist you prefer.
Here are the four Specialists we know about so far:
Webster McKay is an Assault-style Specialist from Canada whose special gadget is called a Grappling Hook, though it’s more like a grappling gun. You know, like the kind Batman would use. McKay can use the Grappling Hook to quickly move around 2042’s large maps and gain a height advantage on his enemies. His Specialist Trait is Nimble, which lets him move faster while aiming down the sights, making him a solid choice for aggressive players. While we know McKay can grapple onto structures, what we really want to know is if he can grapple onto vehicles like jets or enemy helicopters. That could lead to some epic “only in Battlefield” moments, the kind that DICE seems intent on creating with 2042’s sandbox.
Longtime Battlefield fans might find Maria Falck’s designation as a Support-style Specialist a little confusing, since traditionally that class has handed out ammo. But 2042’s class designations are a more holistic prescription, rather than a by-the-numbers copy of the Battlefields of yesteryear. In truth, Falck does support her squad by functioning as a longer-range medic. The German Specialist’s main gadget is an S21 Syrette Pistol that can heal and even revive teammates from a distance (think Rainbow Six Siege’s Doc). Falck’s Trait is Combat Surgeon, which means she’s the only Specialist in the game who can revive teammates back to full health. That’s pretty interesting, because it means that other Specialists can revive teammates, not just Falck. DICE didn’t go into details about 2042’s revive mechanic, but it could be a button-prompted animation like Battlefield V’s squad revives, or maybe players can fill one of their character’s open gadget slots with a Battlefield 4–style defibrillator.
Wikus “Casper” Van Daele
Wikus “Casper” Van Daele is a South African soldier who’s designated as a Recon Specialist in Battlefield 2042, complete with half a ghillie suit. Casper’s special gadget is an OV-P Recon Drone that looks like a terrifying robot bird, and players can use the drone in one of two ways. They can either remotely control the drone and manually spot enemies for their team, or they can have the drone hover above a certain area and automatically spot players who fall within its sensor range, similar to the flares or T-UGS of previous Battlefield games. The drone can also shoot out an EMP blast that can briefly disrupt enemy electronics. On top of all that, Casper’s trait is movement sensor, which will automatically ping players within a certain radius around him if they are sprinting. It seems like Casper can definitely pose a long-range threat as a sniper, but he might also be a great option for an aggressive, SMG-wielding player.
Pyotr “Boris” Guskovsky
Last but not least is Pyotr “Boris” Guskovsky, a more defensive Specialist that falls under the Engineer class. Boris is interesting for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that he’s Russian, making him (we guess?) a non-no-pat. However, we’re pretty sure you can still play as Boris even if you’re fighting for the U.S. side. Anyway, the main thing that makes Boris interesting is his gadget: the SG-36 Sentry Gun. This thing automatically locks onto targets—both infantry and vehicles—making it a great tool for players trying to defend a capture point. Players can just set it and forget it if they want, but Boris’ trait is Sentry Operator, which makes the SG-36 function better if Boris is physically closer to it, meaning a faster lock-on and more accurate fire. That might sound kind of OP, but gadgets like Casper’s OV-P Recon Drone can shut down Boris’ sentry with an EMP blast. Or you can, you know, just blow it up.
These Specialists and six more will be playable when Battlefield 2042 launches on October 22nd for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Michael Goroff has written and edited for EGM since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter @gogogoroff.