Oh No, There Are Women In Battlefield V

There are women in Battlefield V, a game set during the Second World War. They're in the game, they're in the trailer, they're even on the posters! And a lot of people are very upset. Is this what their forefathers fought for?

Here's Our First Look At Battlefield V, Which Goes Back To WWII

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To recap, in case your job is blessed and does not require you to monitor the worst of websites like Reddit and Twitter, some folks are angry that their favourite violent multiplayer shooter, which has never been based on anything approaching historical accuracy, now has historically inaccurate portrayals of women and a black man fighting - with guns! - in the Second World War.

It's tiring to have to face this year after year, so it's almost not even worth pointing out - like the guy at the bottom there tries - that women served in armed forces across the world during the conflict. Mostly as support personnel, yes, but there were also examples - in the Soviet Union especially - where they served on the frontlines, both on the ground and in the air.

But like, that doesn't even matter here. Any idea that this, of all things, is what shatters the credibility and historical credentials of a series that has long reduced the war to endless skirmishes between jeep-flipping, plane-crashing brave soldiers named 69XX_cvmlauder_xx69 is insane.

Watch this trailer and tell me that, above everything else, it's the gender and race of the combatants that seems unrealistic:

Yet that's where we are today, because we're talking about the words "historical accuracy" among gamers on the internet.

Those two words rarely mean what they look like they mean. At face value they appear to suggest a game has, or is striving to attain, some semblance of accuracy in its portrayal of the events of the past.

The nature of video games means that rarely happens. To capture history in a digital experience would require a developer to adapt the language, architecture, beliefs, society, and culture of the place and time being represented, and to do so knowing that the records of the past (and subsequent writings) were shaped by the prevailing politics.

To truly present something "accurate" to the time period would probably result in a game you wouldn't really enjoy playing. What we often see in a "historical" FPS action game is just the visual trappings. And that's OK - it's a mass-market action game, not a history lesson.

What angry dorks mean when they say "historical accuracy" is not a game that's accurate to the time being presented, then, but accurate to the aspects of that time (or the popular historical re-telling of it) that are sympathetic to their current political and cultural beliefs.

It doesn't bother them that a randomly-created soldier with no training can jump behind the controls of a complex fighter aircraft, or expertly handle a cross-section of enemy weapons. They don't care that the streets of European cities aren't recreated 1:1, or that uniform details aren't strictly adhered to, or that Battlefield's war is fought to time limits and kill counts.

Those things are acceptable compromises. It's a video game, and those are video game things that the Second World War just needs to accommodate with its representation in order to work. Yet introduce something as relatively harmless (it has zero impact on gameplay!) as women or black soldiers where historically there were none, and suddenly the sky is falling.

It's almost as though opposition to a British woman holding a gun, or a black man serving in a combat role has little to do with "historical accuracy," and everything about someone finding their current views on gender, race and society challenged in a space - the good old days - they thought was safe.

Battlefield isn't, and never has been, about recreating the past. There are far more serious and studious Second World War games for that kind of business. Instead, it's always been about letting people in the present use war as a playground. And if DICE wants to broaden the scope of those represented in those games, then that's awesome for everyone involved.

Well, almost everyone.


Comments

    To be honest, it's the uniforms that get me about the series.
    I don't recall anyone during WWI/II (be it men/women of any colour) looking so god damned stylish and cool.

      There were cats getting around in WW2 like Mad Jack Churchill who wielded a longbow and claymore while dressed in a kilt.

        Interestingly, Churchill was also a keen surfer. According to Wikipedia:

        In later years, Churchill served as an instructor at the land-air warfare school in Australia, where he became a passionate devotee of the surfboard. Back in Britain, he was the first man to ride the River Severn's five-foot tidal bore and designed his own board.

          Ha, I though you meant Winston Churchill for a second, that's an image I won't be getting outta my head for a bit.

        Mad Jack Churchill was apparently very annoyed with the American's dropping the atomic bombs.. he was on his way to the Pacific theatre and "the damn American's finished the war before he got there"

        He also recorded the only kill on the western front with a bow an arrow after rampaging around the French countryside on a motorbike during the retreat to Dunkirk.

        The guy was as close to Rambo as you could get except he loved his job

        Last edited 24/05/18 5:35 pm

      Dunno. A whole lot of millitary personnel went to war wearing Hugo Boss

        Other than the SS...... Hugo Boss designed the uniform

      Me too, I agree.

      To be fair, I'm not very familiar with World War II, only major events, not so much individuals, uniforms etc.

      But it seems to me that these uniforms and appearances are designed to be "cool", but also to be fair, it probably helps the player(s) recognize key characters to the story. Might be hard if they're all dressed essentially the same.

        Yeh, its not like their soldiers in uniforms or anything, oh wait

      Thomas Burberry (the founder of Burberry) actually designed the uniforms (like trench coats) for British army in the early 1900's so theres that.

      I'm not defending any of the actions of the Nazis, I'm just saying that if WW2 had been a fashion parade, Germany would 100% have won.

        Ha, no doubt there.

        Makes me think of that British skit show where one German officer turns to another and says:
        "Have you ever noticed there's little skulls on our uniforms?.....Are we the bad guys?"

    This game looks like it will be a crazy enough take on WW2 to be alternate history/fantasy which absolutely owns and I am extremely prepared to jury-rigged claw hand a nazi in the spine.

      To be honest the artificial claw hand took me out of the "reality" of the game more than anything else. Having a frontline soldier disabled like that would be more unlikely than anything else in the trailer (how does she load her weapon?) That said, I'm not exactly enamoured with the fact it's a woman* or that she's using a cricket bat to kill someone.

      * Like has been pointed out British women typically weren't soldiers. That said, maybe she's supposed to be a spy or something? It's hard to tell from the trailer just who the people are supposed to be since it's so bloody chaotic.

      Interesting article about British Women's role in the war here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwtwo/women_at_war_01.shtml

        Who fucking cares it's a video game.

          You don’t. I don’t. But others want a game that’s more realistic and immersive. They’re entitled to their opinion.

            That's fine, but we aren't watching a single player story demo or being sold an accurate historical warfare simulator. It's a trailer highlighting multiplayer customisation. Characters in the trailer literally die then come back. All the classic squad spawning stuff is in there. It's a ridiculous complaint given the last game featured notable historical events like the march of the Italian Terminator and how flagrant the character choices are in the trailer. Dude has a fucking Hanzo steel for God's sake and a woman is the issue.

              I didn't play the last game. And only played the preceding ones a little bit - apart from the first game which I played a lot. While the physics of the earlier games weren't terribly realistic they were at least based roughly on real events. So you had vehicles and weapons that pretty much matched their real world counterparts and a number of maps that were meant to at least capture the feel (if not the reality) or real battles.

              So to me, if you're going for the original BF42 style of game just with better technology driving it on more modern PCs then you should try for more realism. Not genuine realism since that isn't what the game is about, but approximate realism.

              Anyway, like I said, maybe the woman is meant to be a spy. Since there were actually female spies in the war. But like I said, I dislike the fact she's got an artificial hand since that takes me right out of the game and back to reality. Unless they try to explain it as some sort of pseudo sci-fi alternate reality WW2 it's just rubbish.

              And I mentioned in another post, my Grandfather who fought in WW2 in both Egypt and the Pacific (New Guinea) actually had a Japanese sword taken from a dead officer. So it's not impossible for that either. In fact it's probably less unlikely than the metal hand.

                Dude, it's not real, it can do whatever it likes. Buy it or don't. I'll get it because I love this franchise but the last couple of games are played out and boring. The last thing they need to do is make a boring grognard sim.

            @Coco - At the end of the day, Battlefield is not for those that want a realistic, immersive WW2/war game. There are great examples out there (and in the works) that cater far better to this (check out "Hell Let Loose" or "Post Scriptum" for World War 2 very realistic immersive FPS games, or SWAT, ARMA 3, Insurgency, "Escape From Tarkov" for modern day combat). Battlefield can not and never will compete with these far more realistic, simulation-style heavily technical shooters (that are far more niche).

            I am a huge Battlefield fan (up until BF1 which I couldn't get into) and am pretty pumped for all these changes they've made for BF5. The trailer doesn't do a very good job at all of depicting the massive, tactical, realism changes that Dice have put into this new iteration of BF. Do yourself a favour and ignore the trailer and go hunt down the details of actual gameplay changes that are coming.

            As for the controversy regarding the different avatars/characters in the game, give us a break... We all know Dice have done this (a) because they want to appeal to a wider audience, (b) they want to up the anti on character customisation (in the wake of Fort-Pub-nite-G rise, etc) and will likely make money from this move through paid character customisation, and I hate to say it but (c) because lead women characters are simply popular at the moment (in all forms of media - I'm not against it, its just a pretty glaring move from Dice with this trailer).

            *

            "They're entitled to their opinion." Yes, technically true, but the Catch 22 is that their opinion is that only their opinion matters. If they want a game that's more realistic and immersive, why don't they fuck off an play a different game? No, they just want everything to be the way THEY want it, ALL the time.

          It's still a representation of history. It generally has been considered a bad thing to be rewriting history for current and future political agendas. The fact it is a video game is irrelevant to this argument.

            Alternate history in entertainment media is not a new thing and battlefield has included wacky stuff since 1942.

            Last edited 25/05/18 11:29 am

              Ok, then clearly state it's alternative history. Then zero problem.

                Dude, did you watch Inglourious Basterds and think it was a documentary?

            Man, you must have been REALLY pissed off when Wolfenstein 3D ended with Hitler trying to kill you with a robot suit equipped with dual miniguns. Must have steamed you right up!

              I am unaware of when Wolfenstein ever passed itself off as being in anyway realistic. It was always a fictional Nazi universe.

    Is the game fun?

    Yes?

    Sweet, then I'll play as a fucking panda!

    Damn these people have serious issues. Surely the biggest issue here is the fact that they have blue painted on their faces. Isn't that supposed to be Braveheart?

      I assumed that's the traditional paint of the Scottish Special Forces. I also assumed they scream MEL GIBSON! as they charge into battle. Honestly, I'm pretty bad at history.

        It's a little known fact that Braveheart was actually filmed live using advanced Scottish technology and then Mel Gibson buried the film in a secret location until the technology of the rest of the world caught up. This is historically accurate. You can tell because it's on the internet.

      More games need to let you play as a panda.

        I'm sick of SJW types like you forcing publishers to panda to your demands for better representation in games.

    I think the issue I had with the trailer is it didn't feel like a WW2 game at all. They tried to squeeze far too much action into one sequence and it ended up looking irredeemably contrived.

    It gave me almost a feel of alt-history more than anything else, which would be perfectly fine but for their statement that the game will tell "real stories about men and women who changed history". So I guess I'm just more confused about what direction they're taking the game more than anything else, the fact women or black people are in it doesn't matter in the slightest.

      You forget that now they are competing with Fortnite and need to show many colourful whizz-bangs to attract the attention of teenagers. If this reveal trailer wasn't done with Fortnite in mind I'm Elvis Presley!

        I think teenagers is too old. I work at a lot of primary schools and the amount of 10-11 year olds that come up to me and ask me if I play Fortnite and want me to watch their Fortnite videos is crazy.

      Real war was insane and chaotic, but yeah the trailer seems way over the top. It's like they tried to jam every crazy thing they could think of into that minute. Of course, that's kinda what a trailer is for...

    I'm more concerned with all these trained pilots flying their Me 109s around at an altitude of about 5m.

    I hope this alternate timeline look means alternate timeline secret weapons vehicles to mix up gameplay. I demand spider tanks with flame throwers; no sarcasm... like 100% legit want weird shit.

    And the moral wars continue, as everything is reduced to the most inane of levels.

    Keep stoking those flames, Kotaku.

      In what way do you think "Any chance the deluxe edition removes all the THOTs from the game?" has been reduced beyond the inane level it already exists at?

      It's fine to call these things out on a video game website and criticise shitty aspects of gamer culture. People are going apeshit over "realism" and "accuracy" in a game where you can fire yourself into the enemy line using a deck gun.

      I don't think its a very honest take on the situation to try and defect any comments with dismissive fallacies like that. Players abusing bugs or wonky game mechanics is not the same as the devs intentionally putting things into the game.

      It would be like...I dunno if in mafia III they replaced MLK jr. with a white man but then when people complained they showed the unrealistic mechanics of the game as some sort of justification of their actions.

      These things are not equal.

        Except there were both black people and women during ww2.

        So hush up babe and go take your guest account back into the darkness.

    Can we as a society just give companies the go ahead to tell people who say shit like this to just shut the fuck up? would make things so much simpler if we could all just agree that stupid people need to be told they are fucking stupid and to shut it.

      I hear that! I would go one step further and make it politically agnostic.
      So to people who complain there are not enough superficial traits, a company woulld be free to say "It's a game, it's fun, shut the fuck up". And to people who say there are too many superficial traits a company would be free to say the same.
      It is race baiting in both directions and there are enough games out now that not every single one needs to fit into your idea of a racial utopia... Whatever that is.

        They already kinda do that, but reserve it for microtransaction shenanigans.

          They're happy to draw a line in the sand when it means dollars in the bank. :)

    A lot of people expected taht when DICE returned to WW2, that it would be an improved version of BF1942, rather than COD:MW with a WW2 skin.

    Lol. Haters guna hate. Its a game and thats the beauty, you dont have to stick with anything. You put anything you want in it. The girl looks kool with her prosthetic arm. Cant wait.

      That's bullshit, we all know that the Battlefield series has long been known for it's historical accuracy and realistic battles. What will they make next, a Battlefield game set in the future?

    Presumably you'd be just as chuffed with an action/espionage game about slaves escaping from a plantation that featured enslaved white men amongst the African Americans?

      Yes because the world wars were exclusively white men affairs, weren't them? Exclusively white men were participants so representing anybody that is not that into a game loosely based into those events is an incredible offence.

    Could easily just do Eastern Front in a Stalingrad or Leningrad scenario where women were fighting as snipers. Nothing from stopping them putting in women as French Resistance or any type of resistance for that matter too.

    Women in combat has never been the norm and probably never will. That doesn't mean that it's never happened or that it shouldn't be depicted in a work of fiction be it movie, book or game. Those criticizing the game for including women need to get over themselves. It's a game, who cares?

    Having said that, the trailer left me rather bemused. I don't take issue with the woman, but I don't like the prosthetic arm. I'm pretty sure losing an arm mean't you were out of the fight. Even today losing a limb means you're off the front line and today's technology is light years ahead of what it was in the 1940's. It looks to me like DICE were riffing on Charlize Theron's character from Mad Max: Fury Road. That's not what I'm looking for in a WWII game.

      I take issue with cricket bat. No self-respecting woman would drive dozens of nails into her bat. It would totally ruin it!

      It's not just a prosthetic arm. It's a cybernetic arm. And it looks awesome.

      The whole things seems to be channeling the Howling Commandos from Captain America/ Peggy Carter fame. It looks like a whole heap of fun.

      The sad thing is that one of the chief reasons that women in combat has never been the norm is because men disallowed them from doing it (and/or humiliated/mocked/abuse them when they tried, nevertheless). And then they complain that women didn't participate so they don't deserve representation in the fiction based on those events. In other words, it's boys not letting girls into their boy's club citing the fact that boys have never let girls into the club as proof that girls are not worth of joining.

    I dunno.... I kinda see the complaints as being directed toward the shoehorning that's going on here, rather than the presence of women in a video game. I'm not defending the people having a sook (I feel I need to say this, lest I incur the same wrath) but in my opinion, if you're making a highly stylised game like this why not just create a fictional alt-reality for it and avoid shitting all over history? I'm thinking along the lines of the recent Wolfenstein's etc. What they are doing just seems like lazy box ticking.

    Ultimately though.... live and let live? The whole tone of this article is "who cares?". So can't we just apply that approach across the board? Some people are passionate about historical accuracy. Some people are not. Who cares?

    Last edited 24/05/18 12:31 pm

      Ah yes, the shoehorning argument. Would you argue that Inglourious Basterds shits all over history?

        That was one of the other examples I had in mind really. To me it seems so obviously "fictionalised" and stylised that it can't be mistaken for anything other than that. I've never played a BF game, but in the past i've had the impression that they try to play off the "historical" aspect of the franchise. I don't really have a problem with any of this, as I said above, but I would be disappointed if EA tried to pass it off as something it wasn't. But yeah, i'm not suggesting that I think BF is a sim - it's obviously not. What I saw of BF1 in trailers though looked like it was going for authenticity.

        To be totally clear though - i'm not defending the knuckle dragers here. To be honest, I just find it hard to resit a bit of E.A bashing. The flesh is weak.

        Oh, and the shoehorning bit - i really do mean that. I think it's shit of EA to do that. Put in the effort and include that stuff in an accurate way - educate the buffoons whilst entertaining them. As many people have pointed out, women and non-white cultures played all kinds of roles in WW2. A bit of effort would result in an amazing story. Maybe that's what they've done, but i'm expecting it to be a generic reskinning of roles that act and feel "white male".

        Last edited 24/05/18 2:47 pm

      I think it's more a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't scenario. Women and people of colour are big enough demographics that the absence of one or the other from a game is going to generate backlash. Possessive and scared white men are a large enough demographic that they are able to generate vociferous complaints about the inclusion of minorities, because they feel it threatens them and why do things have to change? There is no perfect solution. In the end, the devs and the publisher make the game they want to make, and we as consumers individually consider whether it is something we want to buy.

        There really were people of colour as you call them, in WW2. Whole platoons of them. The only inaccuracy if you want to call it that was they tended to be segregated rather than integrated into other units.

          Yep, you can find plenty of examples of both women and non-whites fighting in WWII but for some it will always be unwelcome to see them in a game.

            I'd assume that's often because devs are white and just make white characters. To be honest, if they've got the resources I think it's better to have different models and customization to make your character look like whatever you want. Especially in a game that's basically a shoot 'em up.

            But it kinda depends on the game and what they're trying to do. If they're striving for realism then shoot for that. If there's a lot of character interaction then your choices of skin tone and gender could (and should) affect how NPCs react to you for example. Or in some cases make it outright impossible to make certain choices.

      That would work, if we were talking merely about people expressing their opinions peaceably. But time after time, these folks cry "SJW!" at every single thing where people other than straight white men, preferably American and Evangelical receive representation and not simply to express their opinion but with the naked intention to crush the thing in question or force a change that suits their preferences. That's not opinion nor "living and let living"".

    Sounds like the Clark Kent problem to me. No one cares that Superman can fly or shoot lasers out of his eyes, but some people get upset at the notion that he can disguise himself just by wearing glasses.

      Well that's the problem with suspension of disbelief. As long as you can establish a set of rules for something fantastic (ie: Superman comes from Krypton so he can fly) that's ok. It's when you break a rule or ignore something obvious that people get upset. We recognise people with or without glasses all the time, Superman is just a person so why wouldn't we recognise Clark Kent as Superman? In the comics at one point they tried to explain it by saying he vibrates slightly all the time so photos come out a bit blurry and he's harder to recognise.

      It's the same thing for this. It only takes one small "error" to break suspension of disbelief. For me, it's a soldier with an artificial hand in WW2.

    Given that this makes no real attempt at anything like historical accuracy, I don’t care, and neither should anyone else. If you were looking for historical accuracy from this you were looking in the wrong place from the start!

    This is quite different from trying to shove women into games that try to more closely depict historical combat, because that doesn’t make any sense. But ridiculous shit like BF5? Lol, for fucks sake there’s bigger issues in the world.

    Some women did fight behind enemy lines like in the trailer, so yeah.

    "In the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Churchill recruited around 60 women “to set Europe ablaze”. They were deployed behind enemy lines, usually by parachute or fishing boats, to help form a ‘secret army’ of resistance fighters preparing the way for the Allied invasion. One of the most recognisable British SOE members was French born Vera Leigh who was posthumously awarded the King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct after being captured and murdered by the Nazis. Another, Violette Szabo was immortalised in the famous film ‘Carve Her Name with Pride’ starring Virginia McKenna."

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-women-of-the-second-world-war

    Last edited 24/05/18 1:15 pm

    The dude that jumps out of the window has a katana strapped to his back....just saying.

      Wow, I totally missed that.

      But on that note, my Granddad brought back a katana from WW2. So it's not entirely unbelievable that you'd see one on a soldier there. That said, he fought in Egypt before fighting in the Pacific, not the other way round.

    Historical accuracy lol, it’s a dumb-as-a-box-of-hammers shooter with a vague theme.
    The type of people that are outraged by this are either pedants or MRA-leaning man-children.

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