‘Battlefield V’ handles women in warfare with respect, accuracy


Photo by Benjamin McHenry.

Sophomore Ryan Moore decides whether to buy Battlefield V at Gamestop on Dec. 3.

Women in violent video games remains a contentious topic. Go to Reddit, Twitter, or any other social media and you can find threads filled with cries of historical inaccuracy and accusations of pandering to minorities who were not actually on the front lines during major conflicts. “Battlefield”, one of the leading first-person shooter franchises, is no stranger to this conflict.

“Battlefield 1” released October 2016, and centered around World War I, had a woman on the cover and featured playable women characters in a content expansion update. This had many dedicated fans of the franchise up in arms, seemingly frustrated at the discerning of historical accuracy for the sake of marketing.

The newest game, “Battlefield V”, not only refuses to shy away from this inclusion of women, but they take it a step further, without sacrificing historical accuracy. Centered around World War II, it highlights specific cases of women who contributed to the war effort.

The single-player mode “War Stories” focuses on three separate tales of British Special Operations Executives (SOE), which was comprised of roughly 13,000 members from various countries throughout Europe. The second mission, “Nordlys,” has the user playing as Solveig, a young Norwegian woman who is on a guerrilla mission to discover intelligence about the German hard water production facility in the frozen mountains of Norway. But this is not the only objective, as players also search to rescue her mother, Astrid, a technician and fellow SOE member who has been captured by the Germans.

While not an exact depiction, the mission is based on a true story, and it is not the only one like it. The SOE had 55 female agents, 13 of which were either killed in action or died in Nazi concentration camps.

The multiplayer mode also allows users to play as women of various nationalities, customizing them in various different ways to create a soldier more tailored to the user. This specifically has caused more outrage than the single player game modes, as a lot of players have claimed there were not very many women who actually saw combat. It has even sparked the use of the hashtag #notmybattlefield.

It is true that not many women in the United States military saw combat during the war, but in other nations, this was not always the case. In the Soviet Union, over 800,000 women participated in the war, and 10 percent of all combat roles were filled by women, according to History Net.

DICE, the developer of the “Battlefield” series, has taken firm standing in support of the inclusion of women. Back in May, after the games reveal, DICE General Manager Oskar Gabrielson tweeted “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.”

Gabrielson also tweeted that, while the game is intended to be an immersive, accurate experience, the end goal of the game is to make it enjoyable for as many people as they can.

“The Battlefield sandbox has always been about playing the way you want. Like attempting to fit three players on a galloping horse, with flamethrowers,” Gabrielson said. “With BFV you also get the chance to play as who you want. This is #everyonesbattlefield.”