Call of Duty: World War 2‘s multiplayer will feature female soldiers, a welcome addition in the franchise since its implementation in Call of Duty: Ghosts. The detail was revealed on Twitter by Sledgehammer Games’ co-founder, Michael Condrey, who supplied an answer to a fan question off-handedly. Condrey had previously confirmed that at least one woman would be a playable protagonist within the campaign, as well.
While Call of Duty: World War 2‘s full multiplayer reveal won’t be coming until June, small or common sense details like the inclusion of full customizable multiplayer characters are being freely shared. For instance, a wide selection of World War 2 weapons will be available, including the Thompson Submachine Gun, the M1 Garand, or the German StG 44. Even the maps have been teased, featuring “iconic locations from around the globe” including Normandy on D-Day.
@indy8818 Yes, for sure!
— Michael Condrey (@MichaelCondrey) April 30, 2017
Despite Michael Condrey’s Twitter response being short and lacking context, his answer has caused a bit of controversy online. The argument seems to stem from the United States and other nations at the time not allowing women into combat roles during the war. The idea being that if women are not involved in military combat roles at the time, how they will be featured as multiplayer characters in a video game revolving around World War 2 is questionable.
Of course, that argument ignores the many combat roles that women did fill during the war and the European theater in particular. Women were heavily involved in virtually all national resistance movements with Europe, including in Poland, Italy, and France. Great Britain and several other European nations had women manning anti-aircraft guns. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union mobilized women directly into its military force.
The heart of the issue likely has nothing to do with history, however; it has to do with realism. Whereas past Call of Duty titles like Call of Duty 2 may have striven for some level of historical accuracy, modern titles have abandoned even a veneer of realism. Its been 11 years since Call of Duty was last set in World War 2. The gaming industry, the Call of Duty franchise, and the Call of Duty player-base has changed dramatically since then. Any expectation of realism is baseless at this point.
Perhaps the best framing of this controversy is DICE’s alleged justification for not adding female multiplayer characters to Battlefield 1. Simply put, female soldiers weren’t believable to the “core audience of boys.” Sledgehammer Games must see it differently.
Call of Duty: World War 2 is scheduled to launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game’s multiplayer mode will debut during E3.