Battlefield 5 is causing quite the commotion. With the reveal of the WWII period shooter, EA and DICE revealed the character on the front cover is a woman and multiplayer will feature playable female characters for the first time. DICE boss Oskar Gabrielson took to Twitter to defend the decision.
Over the last couple of days since the reveal, a number of Battlefield’s fans have been up in arms about the female character heading the game’s cover art. Hashtags like “#notmybattlefield,” have aimed to call for more “historical accuracy” in the game. Many have claimed EA and DICE are pandering to minority audiences with this creative decision, rather than accurately representing history.
First, let me be clear about one thing. Player choice and female playable characters are here to stay. pic.twitter.com/fvi9riUZDM
— Oskar Gabrielson (@ogabrielson) May 25, 2018
His statement continues, “We want Battlefield V to represent all those who were a part of the greatest drama in human history, and give players choice to choose and customize the characters they play with.”
“Our commitment as a studio is to do everything we can to create games that are inclusive and diverse. We always set out to push boundaries and deliver unexpected experiences. But above all, our games must be fun!”
Battlefield has never been about telling a true-to-life moment in history. Battlefield exists as a work of historical fiction inspired by true events and people. Gabrielson’s statement continues, stating “The Battlefield sandbox has always been about playing the way you want. Like attempting to fit three players on a galloping horse, with flamethrowers. With BFV you also get the chance to play as who you want. This is #everyonesbattlefield.”
Women existing and playing major roles in this game isn’t a rewriting of history in any way–women actually did fight in WWII. Some notable ones are Lyudmila Pavlichenko, was a Russian sniper with 309 confirmed kills, making her the deadliest female sniper in history; Wanda Gertz, a Polish solider who posed as a man, began her career in WWI, and eventually led an all-female battalion; and Elieen Nearne, a British spy who was dropped into France to create a network called “Wizard”–she was caught by the Gestapo, tortured, and sent to Ravensbruck, and later escaped during a transfer to another labor camp.
When Battlefield 1 released in 2016, a black man, representing a Harlem Hellfighter, was placed on the cover and featured in the campaign beside a Muslim woman. A similar outburst from the community also occurred, as the game was accused of “black-washing” history.
Not only is the character on the standard edition of Battlefield 5 a woman, but there appears to be another female protagonist in the game’s screenshots who is also disabled. Her left arm is amputated, replaced with an era-appropriate prosthetic. As of this moment, we don’t know who or what she is supposed to be representing, or if she’s the same woman on the cover.
We’re more than likely to learn more about her role at E3 in just a few weeks, and what other minorities will be represented in the game from its campaign to its multiplayer. Check out all biggest changes to Battlefield 5, and our behind-closed-doors look at the game. Battlefield 5 releases on Xbox One, PS4, and PC October 16.