After months of keeping people in the dark, DICE has finally lifted the lid on Battlefield 2042’s Hazard Zone. Prior to today’s reveal, all we knew about the mode is that it wouldn’t be a battle royale and that it might resemble something similar to Escape From Tarkov.
We now know that both of those points are spot on. Hazard Zone will be a high-stakes mode, where tactics and strategy will play just as big a role as gunplay. While All-Out Warfare boasts huge player counts on PC and new-gen consoles, Hazard Zone is set to be far more intimate – with 32 players split across eight squads. Those on PS4 and Xbox One will still be able to get in on the action, except the lobby size will be capped at 24 players (six squads). While there will be AI enemies in play, getting kills isn’t the name of the game in Hazard Zone and player encounters will be nowhere near as frequent as in All-Out Warfare.
So what is the objective? Well, in a match of Hazard Zone, players will have to pick a unique Battlefield 2042 specialist to to hunt down a number of downed satellites scattered across one of Battlefield 2042’s seven maps. Inside these satellites are Data Drives, and the overarching objective is to retrieve them and then escape the map by extracting at one of two locations. Satellites will also begin to fall mid-match, containing multiple Data Drives.
Data Drives are important because they can be sold at the end of each match for a Hazard Zone-specific currency called Dark Market Credits. These Dark Market Credits can then be used to buy weapons, gadgets, and Tactical Upgrades (the latter of which are unique to Hazard Zone) before each match. You could either be thrifty and try and nab some Data Drives using a minimal, cheap loadout, or you could blow everything on a stacked loadout to improve your odds and hope you get enough Data Drives to cover the cost.
Obtaining these Data Drives will not be easy. Approximate Data Drive locations will be shown in a pre-match briefing, and can be tracked in-game using a unique gadget called the Intel Scanner. This means other teams could be honing in on the same location as you, resulting in a gunfight with either other players or the Occupying Forces who guard each satellite. While not explicitly confirmed, these are almost certainly AI-controlled enemies.
However, getting the Data Drives is only half the battle. In order to keep those Data Drives, you need to extract out of the Hazard Zone with them. There are only two time-gated windows of opportunity for extraction – one midway through a match, and one at the end. Only one team can extract in each window, meaning that a maximum of two teams can ever leave a game of Hazard Zone alive with their Data Drives.
What about the others? Well, if you’re either killed in action or fail to extract, you lose all the Data Drives you found in that match. That means the Dark Matter Credits you invested before the match were all for nothing. Now you know why we said this is a high-stakes mode. It is worth noting though, that if just one member of your squad manages to extract, you’ll still receive some sort of reward.
We also mentioned earlier that there are also things called Tactical Upgrades, which are a Hazard Zone-specific addition to your loadout. These will grant various buffs or bonuses, like the Reinforcement Uplink, which will allow you to revive a downed player, and there are 15 for you to choose from. Two basic tactical upgrades are free, but the other 13 will need to be bought before a match with Dark Matter Credits. Check out our full list of Hazard Zone Tactical Upgrades for all the info.
So that’s Battlefield 2042’s exciting third mode in a nutshell, but for the full rundown of everything you need to know down to the last detail, check out our Hazard Zone explained guide.