It is undeniable that there is a need for diversity and equality in anything created in the modern day. However, there is still a question as to whether this holds in the recreation of historical events that were dominated by white males.
This debate has been forced back into the public’s attention after the release of the trailer for DICE’s upcoming Battlefield V. Promising to be the most realistic World War II first person shooter game, Battlefield V is said to allow gamers’ to explore “unseen locations and untold stories”, creating the most genuine representation of the gritty realities of the war. Consequently, when the trailer first premiered with the inclusion of female soldiers the creators received a lot of backlash. Some fans of the previous Battlefield games took to the internet to question why the creators felt the need to address the diversity issue in a game that is supposedly supposed to be historically accurate. One Twitter user complains that the game shows a “blatant disregard for historical events and mindless political correctness”
This controversy seems to echo that of the uprising when Battlefield 1 used a black soldier on the cover of their game, with people claiming that the creators were “black-washing” history and adding diversity just for sales, as opposed to replicating and creating an authentic experience. Now, with a female on the game’s box and women appearing as main characters, the hashtag #notmybattlefield has gone viral. People sharing this view defend their opinion by simply stating that there were no female soldiers in World War II. Historically however, this is not the case.
It is estimated that over 640,000 women worked for auxiliary services and were trained how to be drivers, how to use rifles, and to fire anti-aircraft guns during their time at the batteries. 700 women died serving the Auxiliary Territorial Service, proving that when there was a shortage of men in 1941 women proved more than willing to committed soldiers to their cause. In fact, one of the most renowned and successful military snipers of all time is Lyudmila Pavlichenko who totals 309 credited kills.
It’s not just historians who have taken to defending the game: the creator Oskar Gabrielson used to Twitter to explain and defend DICE’s choice. He states that “Player choice and female playable characters are here to stay. We want Battlefield V to represent all those who were a part of the greatest drama in human history”.
Even though it is completely undeniable that there were a greater number of male soldiers and deaths, it is important that everyone’s version of history gets represented.