EA gives Battlefield 5 women backlash a blunt ultimatum

Chris Davies - Jun 13, 2018
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EA gives Battlefield 5 women backlash a blunt ultimatum

Vocal gamers who aren’t happy with women being included in Battlefield V have an easy solution, EA’s chief design officer has said, but they might not like it even more. Electronic Arts showed off the latest installment in the Battlefield franchise back in late May, and the controversy around its decision to include women on the battlefield has persisted all the way to E3 2018 this week.

In question, according to a certain subset of angry gamers, is whether it’s “historically accurate” to include women in a World War II game. EA pushed back, with DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson insisting that “player choice and female playable characters are here to stay.” The decision to include women, Gabrielson continued, was in the name of having Battlefield 5 “represent all those who were a part of the greatest drama in human history.”

Unsurprisingly, those comments didn’t settle the outcry. While many have praised Electronic Arts for its decision to give gamers customizable female characters alongside male ones, others still aren’t happy. Now, Patrick Soderlund, formally chief of DICE before it was acquired by EA, has stepped in with an even harder push-back.

Telling Gamasutra that having women characters was something specifically pushed by the development team, Soderlund argued that critics of the decision are really just coming from a place of ignorance. “The common perception is that there were no women in World War II,” he pointed out. “There were a ton of women who both fought in World War II and partook in the war.”

“These are people who are uneducated – they don’t understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen: this is a game,” Soderlund explained. “And today gaming is gender-diverse, like it hasn’t been before. There are a lot of female people who want to play, and male players who want to play as a badass [woman].”

Still, if EA had opted to back down and placate the more vocal critics in the audience, but wouldn’t be the first time that a game studio had hit reverse on a decision that met with negativity. That’s simply not going to happen now, though, Soderland insists. Indeed, he has a simple recommendation for anybody still annoyed by women in Battlefield V: skip it altogether.

“And we don’t take any flak,” he concluded. “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 just not ok.”

Gamers who decide, on balance, to pick up a copy of Battlefield 5 will be able to do so on October 19. It’ll be released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.


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