Being pretty intertwined within the gaming community, and understanding a decent amount of what goes on in the industry, over the last couple of days I’ve experienced what can only be described as a series of mini-strokes in response to what as been said about Battlefield V. The community, in general, continues to break my expectations of how shit people can be, how out of touch some people are with the reality of the world we live in, and with the reality of content creation and consumption.
It seemed more or less certain that the setting of BFV was to be World War 2, given the natural progression from BF1, and the ways in which BF1 – taking into consideration gameplay, weapons, tanks – wanted to be a WW2 game at its core. It’s also important to take into account the conflicts Battlefield has represented in the last decade, all of which before BF1 were modern settings. We have to go back to Battlefield 1942 to see the full exploration of WW2 (Battlefield 1943 was released in 2009, but not on the PC platform, excluding many die-hard fans of the series, so I’m not counting that.)
So, Battlefield V released its trailer, alongside its launch event on the 23rd of May. The fickle bastardry of the gaming community soon followed mere moments after… but before that, the trailer: In fairness, the trailer could have been better. I think it misrepresented what the game is, and how it’s so critically different gameplay-wise when compared to BF1 (you can see these changes discussed here). I believe it would have been more appropriate to mirror the BF1 trailer of two years ago – especially considering its massive success. Also, with EA Play just around the corner, all of these new gameplay features will be visible in actual multiplayer footage. However, it was in no way a bad trailer.
The Response… oh Lawdy…
To be honest, after watching the pre-show and trailer these were my thoughts:
“Oh, yeah, that looks pretty decent. WW2 on Frostbite and modern tech should be awesome to see. And, all these changes in response to what was disliked about BF1, that’s good that they listen to the community and actively want to offer a better more team-orientated experience.”
And now…. the response of much of the community:
“Fucking women, man! Women in WW2, what the fuck, man!”
It’s no secret that the gaming community is far from the most respecting. It’s fickle, shitty, toxic, and for a lot of the time, completely unbearable to be a part of. Yet, here I am, writing this as part of and behalf of the ‘good’ members of the community. They do exist people, surround yourselves with them quickly!
some of the ‘Arguments’
- “Women weren’t in combat roles during WW2.”
- “The portrayal of women fighting in WW2 denounces all the men that did, and serves to demolish the truth of history.”
- “Battlefield V has succumbed to the SJW agenda…”
- “WW2 shouldn’t be trivialised by games and should be 100% historically accurate.”
- “I hate women, and I don’t want them to be represented in my game.”
- #NotMyBattlefield has also been trending, whatever that means…
Why These ‘Arguments’ are Insane
I’ve been a part of the Battlefield community since Battlefield 2, and seriously started clocking in time with the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2 – putting in thousands of hours on the games released thereafter. Battlefield has never been about ‘realism.’ Sure, it bridges the gap between ‘military simulator’ and ‘arcade shooter’ if Arma is the simulator, and Call of Duty is the arcade shooter – Battlefield has always sat in the centre. This enables a skill gap between players, a distinction between those who understand and take advantage of the mechanics, and those who treat is a more casual game (it’s important there is no right way to play). With this in mind, let’s break down a few things:
Battlefield V does not need to depict WW2 in an entirely realistic manner. There’s no prerogative to do this whatsoever. Just because it was a serious and catastrophic engagement does not mean it has to be portrayed accurately in retrospect when using the setting for a fictional game. BF5 has never professed to be accurate – it’s a game to enjoy. That being the imperative, because would a “realistic” portrayal of WW2 really be enjoyable as a Battlefield game. No… because then it would fail to be a Battlefield game. If you argue this, then you also argue that Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam is a realistic portrayal of that conflict. Is it? No, of course it isn’t because it’s a Battlefield game.
Everybody knows what happened in WW2, we’re educated to never forget, as to prevent anything similar happening in the future. Nobody is going to play BF5 and think “oh this is what WW2 was like! Games such as this don’t and cannot change or skew history because we already have solid knowledge of what said history actually is. Representing something that isn’t ‘accurate’ does not equate to offense. How would you know? Not a single person that fought in WW2 is ever going to play the game…
Of course, we know women were not in widespread combat roles during WW2. However, women did fight, a fact that is simply irrefutable. The most prominent of these being the 800,000 women who served in the Soviet Armed Forces. Female Soviet snipers are among the most famous, women like Lyudmila Pavlichenko and Roza Shanina, who have hundreds of kills to their names. They also had regiments comprised almost entirely of women, such as the 588th Night Bomber regiment who were labelled ‘The Night Witches’ due to the tactic of cutting bomber engines on approach to the target, leaving them almost silent. Other Soviets included Manshuk Mametova, a machine-gunner who was the first woman to receive the Soviet’s highest award: Hero of the Soviet Union. Women also manned the vast majority of Stalingrad’s anti-air defences, some of which saw ground combat during the notorious Battle of Stalingrad. Significant numbers of women also fought as members of the Soviet Partisans – a group who undertook guerilla actions in German-occupied Russia.
Outside of the Soviet Union, Britain had the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force), ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) and WRNS (Women’s Royal Naval Service). These were all voluntary services, only women who wanted to be there were there. Over 640,000 British women were employed within these roles, many of which worked behind enemy lines as pilots, ambulance drivers, aerial photographers, radio operators, and those who helped resistance efforts in Europe as members of the Special Operations Executive. The Soviet Union and Britain were not the only nations with women in active roles, others included: the US, Australia, Canada, and Germany (whose roles were comparable to those in Britain).
It’s also important to note that women outside of combat roles were absolutely vital during WW2, especially for Britain where the majority of age-appropriate men were on the Frontlines. Both overseas and on the Home Front. Nurses and medics, factory workers and farmers enabled British war efforts to succeed in the ways they did.
Therefore, any notion that women have no place in the history of WW2 is absurd and in direct refusal of facts.
It Doesn’t Matter!
Gaming is a platform open to everyone, in 2018 it is the very opposite of exclusive. So consider this: A woman loads up Battlefield and finds she is only able to play as a man… that would be the definition of inclusive. Being able to play as a woman does not promote any form of SJW agenda (honestly fuck me), it doesn’t even serve to promote any agenda. It just means you can play as a woman, regardless of gender – that’s it. It will not effect a person’s gameplay experience in any way. Well… unless you’re offended by the idea of a fictional female character in a fictional game running around a battlefield made of polygons and textures. If so… that speaks more about you as a person than anything else (Disclaimer: there are places you can get help with that).
So, next time you decide to post something inflammatory on Twitter, make sure your knowledge of history is accurate, otherwise, you just look stupid.
Toxicity in Gamers
Looking on a larger scale, outside the sphere of Battlefield V… Toxicity (I use this word because it is recognised and appropriate, feel free to think anything else in its place) is a massive problem in the communities that represent gamers. Games such as Blizzard’s Overwatch have dedicated programmes with the hope of reducing it, with the hope of excluding members of the community who partake in ‘toxic behavior.’ (Let me make something clear… I understand that gaming will never be free of toxicity, just as the real world will not. Games offer a platform for this behaviour, one that unlike the real world is consequence-free). I find the idea that just because one is anonymous, you’re able to behave without limit, nor respect for others. Ultimately, games are supposed to be fun, even those that are competitive. Fun and toxic don’t exist in the same circles. People need to take a step back and look at their actions in a mirror. Not because it might inherently offend anyone. But to realise their shitty qualities as a human being.
Gamers are notoriously entitled. If you want to see an example of this, head over to any game’s respective Sub Reddit, and you’ll witness the vapid rants of people who have nothing better to do but complain about some speck of dust which they personally regard as a problem. Something which not one other person gives a shit about.
Games, nor their development companies owe us altruistic treatment. They are businesses. We pay them for the products they create. Of course, the products have to be complete with support after release – but this is rarely ever not the case. The idea of “there’s not enough content there! (cue crying noises)” is a sweeping statement reliant on purely subjective opinion. Most recently it has been labelled to Rare’s (published by Microsoft) Sea of Thieves. A multiplayer sandbox game in which you crew a pirate ship. A game in which you essentially create your own fun, your own content. A game which will have regular ‘MMO style’ content drops. All for what? Some arbitrary definition of how much content you should be getting per pound/dollar/euro?
We’re spoilt. There is such an endless wealth of content out there – no matter the medium or presentation, it’s out there in bargain-bucket bins. You pick something out, try it, label it, and then move on to your next affliction. It’s fast-food content, and there’s never enough of it to satiate everyone. The culture that has grown around the consumption of video games is heinous. After all, the reality of games can never live up to what a person imagines – what a person desires. But… such is the nature of life and everything in it.
Gamers, deal with it. There are much larger issues to breathe heavily at than a woman in a game.
I will 100% be playing a woman in Battlefield V. Why? Because I can!
What are your thoughts on Battlefield V?
Thanks for reading, as always!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter, and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)