On September 10, 2002, publishers Electronic Arts and a relatively unknown developer called DICE released a multiplayer shooter called Battlefield 1942. In the 20 years since, everyone involved has been on one hell of a ride.
The game, which not only featured infantry but also allowed players to control vehicles, was notable for its scale and variety. I avoid pretty much every other online shooter—I’m talking Call of Duty and Counter-Strike, which are infantry-only—like the plague, but have always played Battlefield because I love the way it lets me spawn in as a sniper, get killed, then figure, you know what, I’ll drive a tank next, and maybe pilot a fighter after that.
In the 20 years since, the series has changed a lot. Player counts have increased—2042 has maps supporting 128 at a time, which has problems but is also amazing—while the setting has jumped to Vietnam, the First World War, the distant future, and back again. There have been games where you’re playing as a cop instead of a soldier, and spin-off games that were heavy on story. And that’s just the Battlefield series; DICE has also in that time released two Star Wars games that are Battlefield in all but name.