A skin in the new Battlefield 2042 will be renamed in the game’s next update after users pointed out that it had a lot in common with a group of Russian soldiers involved in the country’s annexation of parts of Ukraine in 2014.
One of the game’s characters, Russian-born Pyotr ‘Boris’ Guskovsky, has a skin you can unlock called ‘Little Green Man’. It seems like it could have just been a joke, since the skin is green camo and Boris is a very large boy. But thanks to the combination of the name and Boris’ nationality it was also quickly seen as a reference to Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimea, a historically Russian territory but currently within the recognised international borders of Ukraine.
A major and contentious part of that part of the conflict (which in some areas is still ongoing) was the use by Russia of unmarked forces, carrying no national flags or other identifying marks on their uniforms and vehicles, who entered Ukraine and occupied several strategic locations, including the Crimean parliament. While using Russian equipment, their lack of insignia allowed Vladimir Putin to briefly claim that they were actually local insurgents, and as such that it wasn’t a clear and overt annexation of foreign territory.
Russia would eventually admit that these men had actually been elite special forces, but by then the damage had been done and Russia would end up seizing the Crimea from Ukraine, aided by pro-Russian supporters in the region and a sham referendum held in the region after the seizing of its parliament.
Those unmarked troops quickly became known as ‘Little Green Men’, so you can understand why Ukrainian gamers playing the game for the first time and discovering the skin were not happy:
In response, an official Battlefield account later tweeted that while the skin itself will remain, it will be renamed:
Today you helped inform us about a name we use for a Skin in Boris’ Mastery Tiers.
It unintentionally references a real world issue, and isn’t reflective of our team’s values.
We’ll be changing the name in a forthcoming update, and appreciate it being brought to our attention.
Today you helped inform us about a name we use for a Skin in Boris' Mastery Tiers.
It unintentionally references a real world issue, and isn't reflective of our team's values.
We'll be changing the name in a forthcoming update, and appreciate it being brought to our attention. pic.twitter.com/Zzxc5dt8EW
— Battlefield Direct Communication (@BattlefieldComm) November 12, 2021
This comes on the same weekend that Ukraine accused Russia of massing 100,000 troops on its border.