A spark of disagreement and you’re a butthurt gamer. An angry, hateful person with nothing better to worry about. Also you must hate women… Flying in the face of this I'd like to start an actual discussion, y'know like a civilised adult.
In memory of those who fought
Whenever videogame developers choose to portray a real war that happened in our history, there is always an elephant in the room. That one big design question that asks “how far is too far?” This was a valid concern in the lead up to Battlefield 1 as many critics began to voice a concern for a visceral game that ran the risk of morphing from harmless videogame entertainment to torture porn. Indeed, developer DICE like to push the envelope as far as they can in terms of realism and the pursuit of that, in the case of Battlefield 1, nearly led to viral negative press (as negative press tends to be). There’s also a question of honouring the memory of those who really fought for our freedoms and considering that in a moral and respectable way. With Battlefield 1 coming to the precipice of a PR nightmare for being “too real,” is it any wonder they’ve tried to play it safer this time, dialling back the grit and upping “the Michael Bay” spectacle instead?
people are rightly annoyed and that's ok
People being frustrated about this cavalier attitude towards respecting historical tragedies is OK. They have a right to feel that way, just the same as you have the right to suggest "women didn't fight on the frontline but it's OK here, in this inaccurate portrayal of World War 2."
Scroll through any comments section on YouTube for the Battlefield V reveal and you’ll see the same complaints. “The tanks are way too fast.” “There’s a woman with a metal arm, WTF?!” “Why is there a dude with a katana on his back?” “#notmybattlefield.” It’s important for the community and developers alike to acknowledge these as legitimate complaints. These should be flashing warning signals served up on a silver platter for DICE to consider. Although, it would seem DICE don’t want to hear any criticism as they are becoming notorious for banning naysayers on official forums for questioning their historical integrity. When it comes to historical accuracy however, it is something that gamers have come to expect in a Battlefield title. That perhaps even those uneducated in the specifics of World War 2 can spot that something in this trailer is just not right, there has to be cause for a reassessment. Especially after every game in the franchise has until this point, been marketed on the idea of immersion and historical accuracy walking hand in hand.
Sure, it’s just a videogame and they can do what they want. Though, the outcry for toning things down a little is valid in this instance for no reason other than consumer expectation. In Battlefield 1, we got World War 1 weaponry. In Bad Company, we got modern weaponry where an M1 Garand was a special unlockable as a nod to Battlefield 1942. In other words, previous Battlefield titles sit comfortably inside of their own historical context. The mere presence of a katana and a metal-armed woman has removed that context. And gamers sure as hell weren’t expecting it.
The SJW community will tell you “c’mon man, I’m sure there were a few women who fought. There were likely people who chose to fight on with prosthetic arms… it’s possible.” They’ll also fling words like “bigot” and “misogynist” your way, all in the name of inaccurately portraying history for something as paltry as entertainment. Technically, these things could have happened in extremely exceptional circumstances. But, taking a quick at look at British service women during World War 2 on Wikipedia , we can learn the following:
“Whilst women were limited in some of their roles, they were expected to perform to the same standard as a male soldier performing the same role, and although they could not participate in frontline combat, they still manned anti-aircraft guns and defences which actively engaged hostile aircraft above Britain. Women went through the same military training, lived in the same conditions and did almost the same jobs as men, with the exception of not being able to participate in front-line combat.”
We can learn from this quote that there were no English accented women (was that a Tracer soundbite at the end there?) fighting alongside the allies in Europe during World War 2. Now that the debate surrounding this peppy one armed woman is settled, we have to ask if DICE skewing their portrayal of history (for the first time ever, I might add) is really the right direction for them. They’re all about immersion and this is what has sold copies of their games so well up until now. Having just broken that tradition so flagrantly, so front and center, we’re all left hoping (well, most of us apparently) there is some kind of narrative twist near the start of the game that can explain all of this. Otherwise, all this is going to boil down to is a character customisation system coming into existence for no reason other than to… appease the vocal minority.
The Real Life World War 2 Braveheart
Turning now to the hotly discussed katana on a British soldier’s back, I’ll say something that is going to surprise everybody. While the presence of this sword could have easily been something the soldier picked up in a ruined house and took a shine to, there was one individual in World War 2 who fought the entirety of the war with a broadsword and a longbow (I know, what an ultimate badass). Jack “Mad Jack” Churchill would stride into battle with a Scottish broadsword, a longbow and bagpipes. He would be the last recorded combatant to register kills with a bow. So these things happen I suppose.
Super Speedy Tanks A Thing?
To set the record straight on tank speed, you’d be surprised just how fast they could go. The fastest tank of World War 2 was the Soviet BT-7 which trundled along at 30mph off road. Not to suggest those where what we saw in the trailer (if anyone knows specifically what tanks they were, feel free to comment) but it gives a rough idea of tanks’ speed capabilities. We also don’t see the allies fighting tanks after they burst through the house which would suggest they’re British tanks. The most renowned tank of the Brits was called the Matilda which ran at a max speed of 16mph. So this one is honestly left open to debate.
Make Sure To Debate – Not Argue
The important thing to remember is that, yes, this is just a videogame. Although it is clear to see the like / dislike ratio on YouTube is not good (Gamespot’s upload of the trailer is 49,000 like to 60,000 dislikes and the official dice upload has 277,000 likes to 319,000 dislikes. Ouch), reminding us of the most hated trailer ever made for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Should DICE be taking notice? It’s clear they’re trying to shake up the tone of their games. Yet in a gaming industry that still very much has a COD Vs. Battlefield mentality, many would be forgiven for worrying about how this trailer reeks of Call of Duty style design. Over the top displays of visual potpourri for the sake of popularity are not something the Battlefield franchise has had to fall back on in the past. I have no doubt this will be an excellent game. Whether it will be the game people want however, is another thing altogether.
Just be sure, the next time you have a heated discussion about this with your friends at the bar, that it’s just that – a discussion. Too often now, we see the SJW community defending anything and everything in statements. Statements are one sided; not an invitation for discussion. This runs the risk of accepting a negligent attitude to real things that happened in our history. A disregard for the past that ultimately brings the disrespect they hope to avoid in the first place. Ultimately, we know nothing about this game as the trailer was clearly heavily doctored for the “wow factor.” We’ll just have to wait and see what DICE has to tell us at E3 this year.