“Battlefield V” has sparked a controversy over quite possibly the dumbest thing possible: the option to play the game as a woman.
At the end of the game’s reveal trailer, a British woman with a metal hand comes onto the screen to save the player’s character from getting choked out by a Nazi by bashing him in the head with what appears to be a cricket bat with nails in it.
It’s a pretty cool moment in all honesty.
However, seeing as the game is heading back to World War II, and also considering that the video game world, especially online, tends to be pretty misogynistic and exclusionary, some people are up in arms over a female getting a role in a “historically accurate” first-person shooter.
Although, considering how the Battlefield series has also allowed you to jump out of a plane, kill another player in the air, and jump into the now-vacant vehicle, recover from mortal bullet wounds, stand on a horse while blasting a flamethrower — in World War I, mind you — and continually respawn after being killed by the opposing army, it’s not clear why anyone would expect the series to be “realistic” now.
If players want realism, they should be asking for trips to medical tents for gunshot wounds, or for the game to shut down permanently the first time you die.
There is the argument that all of the scenarios listed above improve gameplay, and are thus excused from their breaks from reality, but the idea that someone being able to customize a character to look more like themselves is any less beneficial to experiences is ridiculous.
If a woman playing the game is going to get enjoyment out of the ability to play with a female character model, it’s not possible to blanketly state that it has no impact on someone’s experience, and is therefore not worth fudging history for.
The core argument being made is that cosmetic items don’t matter, that they aren’t really gameplay. The problem there is that everything in a game is intrinsically tied to gameplay.
For example, if “Super Mario Odyssey” had a gritty look and all new animations for Mario’s acrobatic antics, but had the same level designs, controls and physics, it would change gameplay. It might not change the moment-to-moment actions, but it would change the tone and feeling of the game.
If “Call of Duty” was a bright and cartoony game, it would be something completely different than what it is now, even if it still played the same. Even a small shift could change the way people interact with the game.
The only difference is that now these gamers — who seem to be a predominately male group — are experiencing a change that isn’t necessarily explicitly designed for them, and they’re not seeing any benefit to it — because it’s changing something they never even considered to be a real issue before.
There’s an easy answer for why that’s the case, and it’s that they’ve never not had the option to play as a character who they could see themselves in.
The cool lady with the rad weapon may not be on the box art, but another slick looking female, and Oskar Gabrielson, general manager at DICE, the game’s developer, has tweeted, “Player choice and female playable characters are here to stay.”
So if you’re really all that upset about the decision to allow women in “Battlefield V,” you’re free to vote with your dollars. If someone else having the ability to play as a woman really upsets you that much, go ahead and boycott the game. Just keep in mind that if that’s your reasoning for avoiding it, what you’re saying is that the enjoyment of female players everywhere is less important than you getting a “realistic experience” in a game that allows you to die and resurrect yourself over and over again.