The Debacle of Battlefield V


Photo Taken from GameMite

A women in the middle of a WWII battle as interpreted by artists at DICE. This serves as the cover for the game and one of the centers of controversy.

Electronic Arts, publisher and owner of DICE (Digital Illusions CE AB) and developer of the popular “Battlefield” series, revealed the latest installment in the franchise through a trailer that left a sour taste in the mouths of thousands of Battlefield fans across the globe. This was the beginning of the fall of “Battlefield 5.”

On May 23, eager fans, such as myself, were anxiously waiting for the drop of the reveal trailer for the next “Battlefield” game. In the hours leading up to the live streamed event, a small group of developers from DICE with host Trevor Noah discussed how this would be the most immersive and realistic Battlefield experience yet.

The trailer began and what followed confused everyone. After it had ended, all were left confused about one of the most influential things in regards to a game: the setting.

Screenshot from Battlefield 5’s reveal trailer taken from
Towards the end of the Battlefield 5 trailer, a woman with a prosthetic arm holding a cricket bat wrapped in barbed wire is shown. This was the first look people had of the game and they were not in on it.

The setting wasn’t truly revealed until the stream panned back over to the developers who revealed that the latest installment of the game would take place in a WWII setting. I wasn’t upset or mad, I was bewildered. All I could think was, ‘What?’ From what I saw I thought it was some sort of futuristic steampunk civil war.

Now, all you nongamer plebs are probably wondering: What was wrong with the trailer?  If I were to tell you that women with prosthetic hook hands were on the front lines in WWII swinging cricket bats wrapped in barbed wire next to British soldiers sporting motorcycle gang jackets whilst yielding Samurai swords on their backs yelling cheeky remarks such as, ‘hello old friend!’, you may think this to be absurd, and you would be correct and not alone with your reflections, just look at the like to dislike ratio on Youtube.

Gamers are mad with EA and DICE, and for valid reasons. People don’t want to have social justice warrior ideologies shoved down their throats and I don’t necessarily blame them. People play games to get away and escape from the daily struggles of life and the political dramas of today and the last thing that they want to do when they get home from a long day of work or school is to hop into an “authentic” WWII experience: political correctness edition.

In response to the horribly received trailer, people took to the comments section on platforms like Youtube and Twitter with the #notmybattlefield; mostly complaining about the historical inaccuracies within the game in what has to to be some of the best roasting on the internet in a long time.

Even with the backlash, EA seems to be unmoved as their response to the outcries of gamers seems to be clear.

One of the first responses came from EA’s Executive Vice President Patrick Soderlund at an interview with Gamasutra from E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) 2018:

“I have a 13-year-old daughter that when the trailer came out and she saw all the flak, she asked me, ‘Dad, why’s this happening?’… She plays Fortnite, and says, ‘I can be a girl in Fortnite. Why are people so upset about this?’ She looked at me and she couldn’t understand it. And I’m like, ok, as a parent, how the hell am I gonna respond to this, and I just said, ‘You know what, you’re right. This is not okay.’… These people who are uneducated, they don’t understand.” Soderlund elaborated, “We stand up for the cause because I think those people who don’t understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game. I’m fine with either or. It’s not just ok.”

This response only made fans even more ballistic than they originally were. You can’t call your player base uneducated and state if you don’t like the game, then don’t buy it because guess what; people will listen and boy will they act upon it. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Pre-orders for the game after the release of the trailer dramatically declined 85 percent from Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” which came out on Oct. 12. This is a huge blow to EA as the last time a Battlefield title was released alongside a Call of Duty game, Battlefield outsold their competitor in pre-orders.

Shorty after these statistics came out Soderlund happened to step down and leave EA as he wanted to start a new chapter in his life. It’s hard to believe Soderlund’s sudden disappearance has nothing to do with his comments to the community in regards to the games character implementation.

To be fair, this is DICE’s and EA’s game and they have every right to interpret WWII however they please. However, if you do decide to claim that you are making a historically accurate WWII game and then slap a woman with a hook hand on the cover, you need to be ready for some type of community backlash.

Photo by GameRevolution (pronounced Diva), leans against her robotic mech on the map “Watchpoint: Gibraltar.” D.Va is a former professional gamer who now uses her skills to pilot a state-of-the-art mech in defense of her homeland of Busan, South Korea alongside other “MEKA” (Mobile Exo-force of the Korean Army) pilots developed by the South Korean government to protect urban environments.

Now the following is my personal opinion so take it with a grain of salt.

I’m not happy with the implementation of women on the frontlines in a WWII era game; However, that doesn’t mean that I’m the sexist, racist, misogynist, xenophobic, Nazi that I’m going to be called after this article is published.

Photo by Wallpapers Den
Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider franchise draws her bow as she faces her enemies. Lara is on an island in the Dragon’s Triangle approximately 100 km off the coast of Tokyo battling a group known as “Trinity” as they both seek truths from inside tombs on the island.

I am not at all against women being in video games, in fact, some of my favorite games of all time have me playing characters who are female such as from Blizzard’s “Overwatch” or Lara Croft from Square Enix’s “Tomb Raider”. Both of which are highly rated games with millions of fans across the planet. The reason why no one is complaining about women in these titles is because these games don’t claim to be historically accurate nor take place in a time and/or place where historical accuracy is a necessity.

Granted, there was one British soldier who went into battle with nothing but a longbow and a sword and there were groups of women who served in the military during WWII such as batches of Soviet snipers. Some even orchestrated bombing runs over Nazi territory yet that only consisted of around 2,000 women and they were never placed in the frontlines of battle. The rest of the females were left serving in non-combatant roles such as nursing, flying cargo transport planes and working telecommunications. Meanwhile, the rest of the war had around sixty-four million male soldiers on both the Axis and Allied powers in combatant roles.

Think of it like this: How many fingers were you taught humans are born with? People are usually born with ten fingers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. There are people that are born with nine fingers and some are born with eleven, but that doesn’t mean that we should rewrite the biology textbooks just because a minuscule amount of people are born with these conditions. The same goes for including women in a WWII game.

While I may not like the direction EA is taking with their games, I’m not going to stop playing a game simply because of a couple of historical inaccuracies. However, I will stop playing a game based on its fun factor.

I played the beta for the game (pre-version of the game which lasts for a little under a week that gives developers a chance to listen to community feedback), and as the game was not by any means fun to play, it wasn’t because of the implementation of female characters. It has far more to do with the mechanics of the game such as gunplay, balance issues, progression systems, etc. It did, however, break my enthralment in the game when I would look to my left and see my friendly female British Asian soldier gunning people down.

Photo Taken from Reddit
Angry Joe on his popular Youtube channel, “AngryJoeShow,” experiments with the censorship of “white man” in the in-game chat during the Battlefield 5 beta. This increased the frustration of gamers even more than they already were.

The drama surrounding the game escalated even more during the beta when users discovered the term “white man” was censored from in-game chat as other similar terms like “black man,” “red man,” “brown man” and “Asian man” were left alone.

DICE came out and said that the reason “white man” was being censored was because of a bug in the filter and that they will be fixing the issue when the full game comes out. While this is definitely plausible, I find it unlikely that the in-game filter would only filter “white man,” excluding all other races, causing me to believe that DICE could have done this on purpose.

Months and months of criticism and backlash from the community finally got through to DICE as they have stated that they will be toning down the “crazy” character customizations, promising “authentic” gear. Women in the game, however, are here to stay.

As a Battlefield fan, I don’t want to see the game flop and don’t enjoy to criticizing it, but I think that it’s important for these criticisms to surface, as I want the game to get better and be the best battlefield game it can be.

While I may think it’s too late for Battlefield 5, not just in the realm of political correctness but also gameplay, I could be wrong. The game has another month until its release date on Nov. 20 and DICE might pull a 180 and flip the game into a huge success. Only time will tell.