Battlefield V is sticking to 64-player matches, not because of technological limitations, but because the developer's haven't found evidence that 128 players (64-on-64 matches) would be any more fun. The Battlefield series' multiplayer - even Battlefield V's Firestorm battle royale mode - has stuck to a 64 player maximum since it began, but some players have been hoping for an increase to 128.
Battlefield V, though praised by some for its refined gameplay, was largely criticized by fans for its missing features, like the advertised soldier-dragging mechanic. The game has run into even more of problems since launch, including controversial microtransactions (some Nazi-based), visibility bugs and a failed Firestorm duos mode. DICE has continued to support the game since its November 2018 launch, however, and at E3 2019's EA Play event, the developer revealed several new maps and features coming to the game.
In an interview with Game Informer, creative director Las Gustavsson and senior development director Ryan McArthur spoke about the direction they're taking Battlefield V. They emphasized the fact that Battlefield V's unique position as the series' most live service-based game yet is allowing them to listen to players and adapt the game accordingly. Gustavsson told Game Informer that the original design document for Battlefield 1942, the series' first game, mentions 128-player battles, though the final game shipped with a 64-player maximum. Since then, Gustavvson said, several changes to the series' multiplayer - squads, squad spawning and other spawn systems - has increased the density per meter of soldiers on the map by "probably 10 times" from 1942's multiplayer. McArthur added that more isn't always better, and the team is basing their decisions on what makes the best gameplay:
"It's natural to sit there, even for us in the studio, to go '128 is exactly what we need.' I think the most important thing is, does 128 make it more fun? [...] Naturally we want to constantly push those boundaries, but I don't think, I don't know if it's the technology holding us back in that regard as opposed to making sure that when we make something like that it's not just a number on the box. Someone needs to play it and say this game is actually better because we have 128 players as opposed to us going, 'Look at us, we made a number go up.'"
The two still seemed open to the player increase, however, if they can make the change justified somehow. Gustavsson said the developers all have dreams of where they'd like to take the Battlefield series, and McArthur said it's a matter of finding the right way to implement the increased numbers, which would include map and vehicle considerations.
"You look at something like that saying, 'For underground, 30 players might be right, but Normandy can you do hundreds,' whatever that would be. What you want to do is create new experiences for players. For us, is it 128 players or 60 tanks? Because that would be crazy as well. We need to figure out the gameplay experience we want to deliver."
It's possible that Battlefield V could eventually get to that point, too. McArthur said the game is designed to continually evolve over time. In fact, he joked that his "goal in life" is to never make another Battlefield game again, instead only building on the foundation of Battlefield V. This could allow the team to bypass the hurdles they have to overcome whenever they launch a new Battlefield.
Obviously, it wouldn't be surprising if a new Battlefield game eventually came around to attract new players, but the idea of a constantly updating Battlefield platform is an attractive one that makes the $60 investment seem more worthwhile. The formula has been proven at least partially successful by the likes of Destiny and Destiny 2's expansions and updates, not to mention the massive success of the constantly changing Fortnite. Like it or not, live services are the present and future of AAA games, and it looks like Battlefield V is no exception.
Source: Game Informer