One of the main selling points being touted since the reveal of Battlefield 2042 is the huge, 128 player lobbies in the All-Out Warfare modes the game boasts. A system wherein AI bots fill out extra slots was also unveiled, and has since just about dominated discussion of the upcoming game - so the developers have clarified a few things.
We were bound to learn more about the bots and other features of the game at EA Play in July, but apparently this has become such a hot button topic that the confirmation of some details was considered prudent. Many players had questions about the bot system, while others waster no time with getting upset about it in advance.
The feature is intended to keep the game's bigger lobbies full at all times, to ensure that you don't end up spending minutes running or driving across empty terrain without any opponents, then getting killed, only to have to spend all that time travelling after respawning again. That said, the number of bots that can spawn in any given lobby is capped at 64, which is half of the full 128 player lobbies.
Naturally, human players are always prioritized, so bots are only deployed when there aren't enough players online. So long as you play while the game is popular (so the next few years at least, but likely more) and at peak hours you likely won't ever meet a bot at all. It would take a particularly disastrous reception for the need for all 64 bots to arise anytime in the next few years.
However, the main point of contention among players who have been criticizing the move also got official confirmation: there is no way to turn the bots off. Unless you are in a full lobby with 128 players, you will be playing with bots no matter how you feel about that.
Being one of the heaviest hitting franchises in the modern military shooter genre, itself a leader in the games industry, we don't suspect Battlefield 2042 will struggle with population problems - its announcement alone was enough to cause a historic uptick in Battlefield 4 players in the past weeks. However, the bot system, at least during the healthiest years of the game's life cycle, is rather intended to combat mid-match dropouts.
Connection errors, quitting, going AFK, a controller running out of battery - there are all kinds of reasons why players might drop out of a match while it's still on, and while a new player waiting for a game is loaded up, a bot will jump in to fill the empty slot so that not a second of the match passes with a lower player count. We've covered how huge the maps will be in Battlefield 2042 - all those 128 players will definitely be needed.
Stay tuned for more details, with a motherlode set to drop on the 22nd of July.