It's not been a great week for Battlefield 2042. Amidst plummeting player counts, ongoing technical issues and negative player reviews, a leak yesterday revealed a Santa Claus skin that was planned for the game's next big update. It didn't go down well at all, and now it seems that Santa Claus is no longer coming to town, with EA DICE saying that they 'presently have no plans to utilize all the skins this holiday.'
The planned update was first revealed via the Battlefield Bulletin Twitter, with other images in the post also showing reindeer-themed tanks and helicopters.
Preview of the upcoming weekly mission rewards! 👀The #Battlefield2042 pre-season will last at least 8 weeks. pic.twitter.com/jRptlTrcD1December 2, 2021
Players weren't happy, with one of the more upvoted comments on Reddit encapsulating the feeling in the community:
“Dice expects me to be able to take the game seriously with literal santa claus running around shooting people in what's supposed to be a world where billions are displaced, natural disasters are destroying the planet, and there's about to be a massive world proxy war—and we're supposed to take all that into account with santa fucking claus running around on the battlefield.
Holy identity crisis.”
The reactions to the skin reveal a couple of sticking points for why the community isn't ready to imbibe in some festive cheer with EA DICE. First are the technical issues still plaguing the game, and the idea that the developers are working on anything other than fixing it—especially if those things are skins—doesn't sit well.
Secondly, the Santa skin is seen to represent the overly lighthearted demeanour of the game's operators, which players complain is dissonant with its themes of global conflict, eco-disasters and failed states (as summed up quite amusingly in this Reddit post).
Yesterday, EA announced that under new Battlefield overseer, Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella, the series is growing out into a 'Battlefield universe', and will be “expanding the narrative, storytelling, and character development opportunities in the Battlefield series.” Talking long-term visions doesn't seem terribly advisable when the current game is going through something of a crisis, but I imagine it won't be long before the internet lets us know what it thinks.