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#NotMyBattlefield, the trending tag was posted almost everywhere on Twitter after DICE released the first Battlefield V trailer. Talks of hate speech, misogyny, and bigotry resonated throughout the gaming industry as fights between "feminists" and "historian gamers" ensued. Sure, the highly anticipated WWII shooter has not released yet. Still, tons of gamers are outraged. Could this spell disaster for the AAA title before its long-awaited release on October 19, 2018?
So what exactly happened?
A week ago, EA and DICE released the first look trailer for Battlefield V. The trailer featured over-the-top Michael Bay styled action, farfetched human acrobatics, simplified more cartoon-based graphics, and WOMEN?! (OH-NO?!)
Needless to say, the fans were a little disappointed, confused, and some were downright outraged. Not because of toxic masculinity, geek-like misogyny, or some hidden agenda to oppress women. It was simply because unlike previous Battlefield games, this entry didn’t feel very realistic. The source material seems to be ignored for the sake of either politics or corporate greed.
The story is not all bad though. Before the launch trailer was released, Battlefield’s developers pointed out that this iteration of the series will NOT include a premium pass or the infamous loot boxes that everyone loves to hate. EA confirmed it in a Twitter post during the launch announcement. “There's no Premium Pass in #Battlefield V. The Tides of War are changing. New battles, fronts, and rewards are always on the horizon... for all #Battlefield V players.”
This could be due to EA not wanting to start an additional catastrophe like last year’s Battlefront II. Perhaps it was a means to soften the blow that would late be the launch trailer. Nevertheless, it is a “good thing” that DICE and EA want to distance themselves away from the practices that could potentially wade them deeper into hot water.
Introducing women into Battlefield V is not ENTIRELY inaccurate. In the cases of the French and Russian infantry, women served proudly on the front lines during WWII. However, this isn’t quite the case for what was seen in the Battlefield V trailer. The OP female character portrayed in the intro appears to be British in addition to her lack of a left arm, she also features blue face paint reminiscent of the war paint of Native Americans. There is nothing wrong with having a strong female lead in media such as movies, television, and video games. The problem comes in when historical accuracy is ignored for the sake of tokenism.
In this case, the tokenism tries to serve a purpose. Battlefield V and other military shooters have been seen as a sort of boys club for quite some time. EA and DICE are looking to expand their audience by attracting female gamers.
On the surface, this doesn't sound like a problem. Afterall, shooters such as Fortnite, Rainbow 6 Siege, and Overwatch have been very successful in attracting a large female audience. Where the issue occurs is in DICE’s unwillingness to do this in a way that honors the authenticity of the setting. This is similar in fashion to Call of Duty WWII featuring black Nazi’s on the side of the Axis powers. Sure, after all, it's a game, but it's a little confusing and immersion breaking.
Battlefield V has totally stepped out of the zone of historical accuracy. In the end, the developers could claim that this is an alternate history version of the game similar in style and scope to Bethesda’s Wolfenstein series. Sadly, they have not done that. Instead, they are trying to cater to two crowds. On one hand, we have ultra-realistic battles based on historical events. On the other, we have the popular hero-style shooters like Overwatch that can attract a larger female player base.
It feels like DICE is being disingenuous here. Getting rid of loot boxes, loot crates, and premium passes was a good move after all, but you notice that they never said they were giving up microtransactions. It could be inferred from the trailer, that the game will be filled with hundreds of cosmetic microtransactions. From face paint to hats, melee weapons, and skins. Having a secure revenue stream based on digital assets could set EA up to earn millions. This is not a bad plan. Afterall, the game is meant to make money.
The problem for most is that DICE simply made the wrong game. Why make a “WWII” game if it isn't accurate? Why go through the trouble of making historically accurate battles, locations, weapons, and a setting, if it isn’t meant to maintain its authenticity? Battlefield V looks to be WWII meets the Avengers.
For years the FPS (first-person-shooter) community has been asking for a return to boots-on-the-ground WWII shooters. What gamers have received have been nothing short of unfinished, cash grabs, riddled with microtransactions, loot boxes, or DLC. Thanks, Call of Duty.
The FINAL VERDICT
At the end of the day, it is a game. The point of a game is to be fun and exciting. Does #BattlefieldV have the potential to still be a good game? Sure. It has well-produced graphics, the Frostbite 2.0 engine, and the familiarity of the Battlefield name.
All of the frustration with this title is based solely on one trailer. Who knows what the final product will be like? At the end of the day, gamers want one thing, a game that is actually fun.
As for me personally, I am getting off this hype train. I feel indifferent about the design choices of the game. Sure it may not be the most historically accurate game ever. I am guessing it is EA’s attempt at reflecting today’s gamer’s as gender accurate avatars in a WWII setting.
To be completely honest, there will be no pre-order for me, nor will I be there for the alpha, beta, or midnight release. Instead, I plan to take my time with this one. Like so many titles before it, I will not allow hype to dictate my purchase. I will look at the game objectively and play it if it's fun. All politics aside.