Published on July 8th, 2018 | by Lauren Bycroft8
What is Behind The Battlefield V Controversy Over Female Characters And Why I believe It Is Misplaced
Battlefield V is set to release in October of this year and is already generating controversy thanks to EA DICE’s inclusion of playable female characters. The development has led to a call to boycott the game under the unifying hashtag of #notmyBattlefied. The problem with such a call to arms, however, is that despite the codependent relationship between creators and fans, Battlefied has never belonged to any one group. If it belongs to anyone, it has to belong to everyone. So while a vocal minority bellows behind their screens into the void of the internet, they must learn to accept that not everything is for you (you being the universal you). If the inclusion of female resistance fighters and the mere ability to craft your avatar in the female form offends you so deeply, then maybe this version of the game simply isn’t for you. And that’s ok. GM of DICE Oskar Gabrielson echoed the sentiment stressing that “player choice and female playable characters are here to stay.” And suggesting that anyone upset by the notion shouldn’t buy the game.
So let’s dive into this a bit. Why are these fans SO upset by the representation of female characters? Their claim is that it is “historically inaccurate” and a desperate attempt by developers to appeal to the SJWs or social justice warriors of the world. In a way this is true. EA has been trying over Battlefield’s last 2 or 3 iterations to appeal to a wider audience. The game has moved away from the simulation style of earlier releases to a more fast-paced, high action gameplay. This is likely a reaction to Battlefield’s main competition, Activision’s Call of Duty. So yes, in a way EA DICE is trying to appeal to SJWs, but in reality they’re trying to appeal to everyone. As they expand multiplayer and co-op modes in Battlefield V, it stands to reason, simply from a developer stand point that they give players the opportunity to craft their avatar in their own image, whether it be male or female.
But about that “historically inaccurate” bit. While many countries did not allow women to fight on the front lines, the Soviet Union certainly did; to the tune of 800,000 women. A handful of these women were in fact some of the deadliest snipers of the war; women like Lyudmila Pavilchenko, also known as Lady Death. Women in the United States may not have been on the front line but 350,000 served as uniformed auxiliaries in during WWII. Women risked their lives as spies and resistance fighters throughout the war, making the single player war story of a female resistance fighter in Norway fairly true to the spirit of women fighting wherever they could find the opportunity.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but if fans of Battlefied are going to accept the historical inaccuracies of fast moving tanks and small arms fire taking down aircraft, they’re going to have the accept the historically supported notion that women can fight and did in fact do so in WWII and have done so throughout human history. While it may not be highlighted in your average social studies text book (an argument for another day), it’s easily researched and verified. Are the missions and scenarios you can place your female avatar in historically accurate to the exact situations women found themselves in during WWII? That remains to be seen but ultimately doesn’t really matter. As Gabrielson said himself, “above all, our games must be fun!” At the end of the day it’s a video game, not a college history lecture. My advice to those upset by the inclusion of women is to not play as a woman (a radical notion, I know) or play any number of the previously released Battlefield iterations.