Editorial: No, Women Are Not Ruining Your Games
Game of Thrones is not realistic, but the fans would still get upset if the archers traded in their bows and arrows for machine guns.
It's not OK to add things that weren't there to a game that takes place during WW2 and making it look like Fortnite, and the old fans aren't sexist for pointing it out.
It's ridiculous that something like this needs to be said, but good on you for saying it, Ryan. I don't recall Battlefield ever being particularly focused on being a sombre simulation prioritising realism anyway, but people are acting like this has suddenly broke their immersion.
I actually had no reaction at all to the female characters in this, to the point I didn't even acknowledge it. I was watching the trailer and trying to work out what might actually be gameplay or a representation of features. When the 'DICE say female characters are here to stay' articles started popping up I thought it was a dig at Ubisoft's insistence that female player models were an impossible feat. It was only later that I realised what it actually was.
Since then I've seen people coming up with as many stupid objections to the game as possible, things like there being too much colour (as if people lived in sepia back then) or that World War 2 shooters should only be serious, accurate reflections of a terrible conflict (as if the genre didn't start with Wolfenstein 3D). It's all just... ugh.
As I pointed out repeatedly in this article, with links to credible sources should anyone wish to verify my claims, women most certainly fought on the front lines in World War II. If you actually want historical accuracy, you want women on the battlefield.
I'm aware that women also fought in the war. But they were less than 1%. So having them in the game to be inclusive doesn't give a very accurate account of what happened. I look at the number of deaths and the number of male deaths in regard to women's is so such a massive, massive difference that having them in the game to represent the 1% seems like it's been put in to be Politically correct as apposed to historically accurate. If they want to make a 50/50 war game then fine. Don't call it ww2 because that's now what happened!
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We're here to talk about games and gaming, not yell at each other. Let's keep that in mind. Thanks.
Anybody remember the days when we didn't need articles like this because people just enjoyed video games? And for the record it's not just one side either. There are plenty of women who complain about stupid things in regards to game centered around men. The main thing being I can't relate because it's a man,' and we're all supposed to acknowledge that bs but as soon as a dude says he doesn't want to play, say, Horizon because he can't relate to a female he's an evil, white male, Trump-supporting nazi who lacks empathy. Don't pretend this stupidity doesn't happen which is why we get dumb tweets like the ones present in this article, in response to women in games. One moronic extreme leads to another equally moronic extreme.
On the plus side, those who just like to cause a stir are definitely very small in number compared to normal people, even in the internet community. I follow a lot of youtube gamers, male and female, and different ethnic backgrounds, and they just enjoy playing good games with great stories and well written characters. I've seen many guys (and I'm one as well) who love Horizon: Zero Dawn and Tomb Raider and there's a large number of women who love the Nathan Drake-led Uncharteds and the God of War games (even the original trilogy). The problem is the normal people get drowned out because the vocal minority are the ones in positions to make their voices heard.
So I think you've heavily misconstrued the argument. First off, yes women served on the front lines, not going to argue that. But you say Battlefield has never been a series about accuracy and that's inherently not true. Yes, it has had some silly things here and there (railguns, tiny pistols, M1 Garand's in modern times) but for the most part it has stayed faithful to the era that it drew from. That changed with Battlefield 1 where they decided to ditch the accuracy of the era in favor of faster gameplay, a decision that I still believe to be a mistake. My main issue with the game is the gonzo Tarantino-esque vibe. Why does a British soldier have a katana? Why is there a person running around with a prosthetic arm on the front line? Why are they using Highland blue warpaint, similar to the Scottish warriors, but they are British? Why aren't they wearing proper uniforms? None of it makes any sort of sense. And before you give me anything about pilot's who had prosthesis, think about that, pilots, not infantry. The most you could lose was a leg, the prosthetic for that worked well enough. But losing an arm is something else entirely. In the 30' and 40's the technology just wasn't there to make the arm fully functional, our tech is barely getting there. She wouldn't be able to hold or fire her gun, nor would she have been able to use the spiked cricket bat (again gonzo and stupid). I wouldn't mind if this game wasn't attached to the Battlefield name or if they didn't put it in real WWII (looking at you Wolfenstien TNO, love that game). This game is jarring for what fans of the series have come to expect.
I hate that you misconstrue GG as well. It definitely was about ethics, John Bain was a leading voice behind that and there was definitively shady practices going on behind the scenes. Former GIO editor Mike Futter broke the silence on the journalist mailing list which showed site collusion, dev care packages to and from publications, and an effort by mainstream site to 'kill' the term 'gamer'. This isn't conspiracy, this is stuff you can find in a google search.
Lastly, I find it sad that you have to generalize the push back to young white males. Everyone I've seen criticize this have been all over the spectrum of race and gender, but if that were the case it would deflate your narrative wouldn't it? Only a very small group of close minded people complain about playing as a woman or man. Yes, there are people who complain about playing as men. But for most player, like 99%, they don't mind playing someone who doesn't look like them. I love Tomb Raider (especially the reboot), Mirror's Edge, and Remember Me. Ellie's chapter in TLoU and her DLC The Left Behind were amazing moments where I genuinely cried. Playing Prey as both male and female Morgan was a blast. This has nothing to do with women or men, it has to do with presentation.
P.S.: Dice also said they are adding body type options to the game, I find this ridiculous in the extreme. So were there obese soldiers in WWII, probably but I'd assume not many. There were boot camps for a reason. Also does playing as a larger character make your hitbox bigger? If not then that will lead to inherent imbalance. There's a reason most video game protagonists and soldiers are fit.
I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to respond before now. E3 week is crazy busy and I just didn't have the time to check this article again for new comments. Hopefully you have email notifications turned on and you see this reply 🙂
To your point about my claim that Battlefield is not a series concerned with historical accuracy - you start off by admitting that there are several instances in which the developer willingly departs from historical accuracy. If you can tolerate those inconsistencies, why not a perceived inconsistency about gender? That DICE sometimes adheres to history doesn't mean they're obligated to do so all the time, and we both agree that they often don't, so I don't see how this is the line in the sand.
As for my claim about white men being the primary movers behind this - in the larger picture, yes this is indisputably a movement of young, white men. While there are some people of different races who will have similar opinions, the push against diversity in gaming is inherently a product of angry white men who do not understand that other people having equal rights does not in any way diminish their own.
The outcry over women in Battlefield V does not exist in a vacuum. It's part of the larger argument that has consumed the industry for the last four years, ever since Gamergate became a term. I've been a part of this community as a player and a critic for 20 years, I've participated in the larger related communities for most of that time, and in my experience it is overwhelmingly white males who take issue with things like this, and for obvious reasons.
There is a problem of representation in games, and it does need to be addressed sooner rather than later. I'm all for developers like DICE doing so in games that do not require strict adherence to historical events, especially when the liberties taken are only to represent the essence of the event instead of the details, which I think is a good description of most BF games.
Again, I'm sorry for the late reply. Thank you for reading and commenting, I truly appreciate all feedback, even (perhaps even especially) feedback that disagrees with me. Like everyone, my views deserve to be challenged and I enjoy the opportunity to discuss and defend and/or re-evaluate them 🙂
Thank you for the reply. I understand, E3 has been busy for me as well, while I didn't get to attend this year, where I write has been going nuts over this year's announcements.
My first point was to draw parallels to some of the liberties taken with historical accuracy and context and see how they stack up against the way BFV was presented. The thing is, while some things don't completely adhere 100%, no one is asking for that. To illustrate, you've already misconstrued my argument, though most likely no fault of your own. I address that yes, women were in WWII and they even had combat roles, limited or otherwise. My main criticism is the vibe the trailer gave off, it was a Tarantino/Bay bombast craziness. I've shown the trailer to several people since it was released and all of them asked me verbally, "What war is this?" I of course tell them it's WWII. Their confusion stems from the lack of direction or tone set by the trailer.
When talking about the push back, let's stop a second. Have you taken any time to wonder why white men or men in general push back against what you say? It's because they no longer feel welcomed to the table of discussion. I know I often don't feel welcome because of my race, gender, or sexual orientation. Many young men feel that way these days, especially when it's forced down their throats that's it us who are the problem. The people who are stirring the controversy pot are a relatively small group, but when the media (including your article, not attacking, just citing) paints in broad strokes it only pushes 'normal' (I hate that term) men away from your discussion. Generalizing only leads to more problems. Look at the last sentence in your third paragraph. "[I]nherently a product of angry white men who do not understand that other people having equal rights does not in any way diminish their own". What message does that send? It sends the idea that white men, in general, are somehow the problem. While the argument is mostly from men I would ask you to look at the argumentative channels on Youtube that have discussed BFV. A great video is from AppaBend, an Indonesian man, who brings up plenty of points about the criticism the trailer has received.
Next the point is on GamerGate. In 2014 when the term exploded into internet culture I didn't quite understand it, in fact I was squarely against it, I even supported Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn. But after about a year I dug into both sides of it. I found that the most prominent voices in GG brought up good points about ethics in journalism. While I wish no bad faith towards you or this site, there was damning evidence of site collusion, paid scores, and more that I listed above. The insults flew after most media outlets took fire at GG, using both Anita and Quinn as proof of harassment committed by GG. GG has never claimed any responsibility for anything thrown her way. But the gaming community at large was enraged that sites and publications tried to make the term 'gamer' a mark of 'impurity'. This is where the anger stemmed from. There is a much larger conversation around this topic but if you would like to continue discussing it I can link you sources and info.
Lastly, you are right. We need better representation in games, but trying to force it on others or vilify those that might raise an objection is not how you accomplish that. You make representation the norm, look at Life is Strange, The Last of Us, Gone Home (even if the 'twist' was a little predictable), Horizon Zero Dawn. Those games had female and queer leads but didn't make a fuss about it. Rather they wrote the story they wanted to tell and made a product that people loved. The best take away from E3 for me was Cyberpunk 2077. They sat down and gave an interview in which they talked about the romance options. They laid out that since you are a custom character you define your sexuality. You can be Gay, Straight, Bi, monogamous or polyamorus. But that wasn't the part that made me happy, what made me and so many others happy was that they treated it like it was normal. They didn't try to make it into a statement, they talked about it as if they were talking about IRL relationships, with all the complexities those have. That is real representation and I hope more devs come to see that. Then we will truly make games for everyone. I've been gaming for over 20 years as well and have now leveraged that experience into writing games critique for a site, something I've always wanted to do. Just a side note but writing my first controversial take was probably the most nerve-wracking moment of my life but I proud of what I put out and my boss was super supportive. Gaming has always been special to me and my girlfriend, it's shaped huge parts of our lives. And it only makes me happy to see more people enjoy this medium, I just don't want others to feel excluded in the process.