The Escape Crew Capsule allows a pilot to escape from their craft while it is subjected to extreme conditions such as high speed or altitude. The crewman remains encapsulated and protected until such time as the external environment is suitable for direct exposure or the capsule reaches the ground.
In the Battlefield series, the Assault Pod, alternatively known as a Drop Pod, Launch Pod, Landing Pod, or simply Pod was produced as a prototype by the newly formed Pan-Asian Coalition at a secret testing facility in the northwestern region of Russia. Based off the escape capsule of the B-58 Hustler, it first saw official use against the United States Marine Corps during the War of 2020 after the testing facility's location was uncovered by the US. Following the engagement, plans for the prototype Assault Pod were stolen by the USMC and both sides proceeded to further improve upon the design for practical military use. By the 22nd century it had seen full military deployment by the European Union and Pan-Asian Coalition during The Cold War.
The Assault Pod is a one-man "vehicle" used by infantry to rapidly reach areas where standard deployment would be too dangerous, slow, impractical or impossible. Assault Pods are stored in some vehicles as a form of evacuation as well. Assault pods protect their occupants from all potential damage, mainly from being near-impossible to hit while in motion.
There are two different types of pods:
- Launch Pod
- These pods are shot upwards pneumatically. They can reach vertical distances of hundreds of meters under special circumstances, but typically have less range. Launch Pods are fitted into APCs, launch bays that are located on both sides of the Titan, and stand-alone platforms on some Northern Strike maps. Launch Pods can be steered and propelled forwards or backwards.
- Drop Pod
- These pods do not have vertical acceleration, and descend to the ground quickly. Drop Pods fitted into air transports allow some control. Pods used for orbital insertion with the help of a Squad Leader Spawn Beacon cannot be steered.
While in transit, the podder has an aerial view of the battlefield, and can spot enemies. When the pod reaches the ground, it cushions the impact of the landing and bursts open. The occupant can immediately take to action. The single-use pod is immediately discarded.
Assault Pods are important part of gameplay in Titan game mode, as they are one of the main ways to access the enemy Titan. They are also useful for quickly covering short distances. APC passengers can flank enemies using launch pods, with the APC's EMP mortar providing assistance. In many Titan maps, the nearest silo is within podding distance from the team's Titan.
The pods can also be used as a weapon. Landing the pod on enemy infantry will kill them instantly. Striking an enemy aircraft will destroy it instantly, and landing the pod on a ground vehicle will damage it, potentially destroying it if it was low on health. The pod user may be injured or killed in collisions with vehicles, but can escape with an intact pod with careful use.
Assault pods are not stealthy—the white smoke trail is clearly visible to all, and the impact is very audible.
A prototype version of the Launch Pod appears in Battlefield 4: Final Stand. It appears on the map Hangar 21, and functions similarly to the vertical launchers in Northern Strike, but instead of firing in a fixed-position upward, the player can aim the launcher before launch, from fully vertical to below horizontal. However, the player has very little control over the pod, only able to eject and slightly steer the pod horizontally. While flying, bright beacon lights show the pod's location to those nearby. Upon coming into contact with the surface, the pod will break apart and safely eject the passenger onto the ground.
The launchers are present on opposite sides of the map, two at the Checkpoint flag at the bottom of the mountain and two outside the Hangar flag at the top. These allow fast travel to different areas of the map, and are useful for breaking a stalemate by breaking through to an opposite flag. Players inside of the launchers cannot be harmed by gunfire or explosives, but will be forcibly fired out from the launcher if they stay in it for too long, making it a poor choice for a hiding spot.
Pods are capable of causing impact damage to anything they hit, be it players or vehicles. Players will be killed instantly, while vehicles will be shoved and potentially destroyed, but the pilot of the pod will not be credited with a kill. Unless they eject before hand, the pilot will generally die upon impact with a vehicle. Conversely, it is possible to destroy launch pods (and thus kill their users) in mid-flight, especially with the Rorsch Mk-1. The pod launcher can also be moved and toppled with explosives.
- Should a launch pod strike anything from below, it will ricochet and spin uncontrollably to the ground. The pod will still spare the player any damage.
- The pods appear to be resistant or invulnerable to weapons (as well as very difficult to hit), but on very rare occasions a podder may inexplicably die in transit.