With modern video game publishing the way it is, release schedules are often a mess of special edition early access, premium limited-time demos and carry-it-forward progress opportunities.
Battlefield 5, though, has one of the silliest release schedules I’ve seen in a while.
EA published a guide to the options people have for playing Battlefield 5 early. That’s right – there are so many options, there’s a guide.
“There are lots of options to play Battlefield 5 before it officially launches on November 20,” the guide admits. We’re off to a good start!
Battlefield 5’s official release date is 20th November, but you can play the full game on 9th November – if you subscribe to Origin Access Premier. That’s the full game available to play 11 days before it launches proper if you’re willing to fork out for EA’s premier version of Origin Access, which costs £14.99 per month or £89.99 per year.
If you have Origin Access Premier for PC, you get to play Battlefield 5 on 9th November, and you get all the Deluxe Edition extras, such as (deep breath) five sets of paratrooper outfits and the chance to take on special assignments and starter assignments, 20 weekly airlifts, the Firestorm Ranger set, one additional Special Soldier set, and immediate access to five Battlefield 1 weapons.
If you have the basic version of Origin Access, you can play on 9th November, too, but your trial is limited to 10 hours. It’s the same with EA Access on Xbox One – that lets you play a 10-hour trial on 9th November. PlayStation 4 users are out on the cold on this one.
The trial gives you access to all multiplayer modes and maps available at launch, as well as the prologue and Under No Flag single-player War Story.
Moving on, we’ve got the Deluxe Edition of Battlefield 5, which, if you pre-order, lets you play the full game from 15th November – five days early.
And then you’ve got the bog standard edition, which lets you play on launch day, 20th November.
Clearly, EA is using early access to Battlefield 5 to encourage people to pre-order a more expensive version of the game or subscribe to one of its online services. And if you’re a big Battlefield fan, you can see why doing so would be enticing – 11 days is one hell of an early access period to help get ahead of your multiplayer rivals.
Conversely, if you intend to get the standard edition and play at “launch”, you’ll jump online at a time when loads of people will have 11 days worth of experience under their belts. All this after EA delayed Battlefield 5 by a month, too.
Of course, EA has form when it comes to selling early access to its games (it did something similar with FIFA 19 in September), and EA isn’t the only publisher to do this kind of thing, either. But Battlefield 5, which has three different release dates, feels like it might have gone a little over the top.
Remember when games had a release date and that’s when they came out?