Battlefield 1 scrapped female soldiers because boys don’t believe in them, says ex-DICE coder

Battlefield 1

Update 13 Jun, 2016: Dice have since confirmed that the game will feature a female protagonist in the campaign in an interview with Eurogamer. Creative director Lars Gustavsson stated in no uncertain terms regarding female soldiers in Battlefield 1’s multiplayer “No, not in multiplayer. Just in single-player.”

Original article: During the recent gameplay videos from Battlefield 1, you may have noticed that things we’re looking as they always do: fields full of men shooting each other. There’s not a woman in sight in Battlefield 1. According to an ex-DICE coder, this is because the concept of a female soldier is just not believable to the game’s core audience of boys. 

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Talking about her experiences at DICE on Twitter, Amandine Coget explained that the original Battlefield 1 pitch said “screw realism, we're adding female soldiers, because we're way overdue". But, a few months later, an email thread at the company declared the idea was scrapped. 

At a meeting with the project leads, Coget says she was told that female characters mattered to DICE, but the game was going for realism. “It's just not the game we're making" the studio reportedly claimed. 

Coget was understandably upset, especially considering Battlefield 1 takes a fair few liberties in regards to historical realism. “Check how many tanks were involved and how they worked. Check the lethality of parachutes,” she tweeted, noting that these are just two non-realistic elements in the game. 

She went on to tweet that DICE eventually explained to her that the real reason for female soldiers being withdrawn from the game was that the core audience of boys could believe that the way tanks and parachutes in the game worked was accurate, but couldn’t believe that women soldiers were. 

That, combined with the added expense of creating new models and voices for women soldiers would make the game pricey, apparently. 

Coget believes this choice is down to DICE making an assumption about their audience and what’s “credible”. 

The Battlefield 1 campaign does feature a female lead character, and while it’s good to see DICE embracing diversity over there, it doesn’t offer any real excuse for why women soldiers aren’t in the multiplayer. It’s the core mode of the game, and the other big shooters this year will be featuring female soldiers. 

What’s more, women soldiers did fight in World War 1, so historical accuracy wouldn’t be an issue. As for audience, I don’t recall anyone moaning about Titanfall’s female soldiers, and pretty much everyone under the sun plays Windowmaker in Overwatch. Hopefully DICE will realise this and make the change for positive diversity soon.

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jon_hill987 avatarTovias avatarUntoldAv3nGer avatarMatt Purslow avatarMcKack avatarFattox avatar+10
McKack Avatar
13
11 Months ago

Yeah, just waste time and shoehorn in women in games for diversity's sake to please those-who-shall-not-be-named? Women may have fought in WW1, technically, but they were in the overwhelming minority and most other who were enlisted didn't see much else than the inside of a factory, hospital or similar. DICE made the right choice.

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Drozd Avatar
4
11 Months ago

Shoehorning? It's not about realism as the article pointed out, it's simply about what DICE think sells and the demands from the audience. It's a non-issue as far as "realism" concerned.

If DICE thinks female alternative will sell game more, or if there is clear demand for it from audience, they will add it. Otherwise, no. It's as simple as that.

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Fattox Avatar
458
11 Months ago

Come on now, i know this is a PC gaming site, but i didn't know the PC stood for "political correctness".

You posted a link for "proof", which reads that the Russian battalion there had ~5000 females. The Russian army had about 12 million men. The actual representation wasn't equal by any measures, so why should the game portray it that way?

Is everyone really so afraid of sounding sexist that we'll just instead ignore reality, these days?

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Drozd Avatar
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11 Months ago

Absolute 100% realism was never the intention with Battlefield as pointed out in the article, so I am not sure why you're using it as an argument.

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Fattox Avatar
458
11 Months ago

I don't recall mentioning 100%, so i'm not sure why you're using that strawman as your only argument. :)

Exactly how far should the goalposts be moved in order to please a minority?

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UntoldAv3nGer Avatar
398
11 Months ago

I'm not sure that this is the right way to "say" this.

Women were not soldiers in World War I, so only male soldiers make sense. Do not trade political correct values in place of correct history.

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Matt Purslow Avatar
83
11 Months ago

Women did fight in World War 1. Granted it was not common, but the Russians fielded battalions of all-female soldiers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Battalion

Other nations have stories of female soldiers, too, albeit generally one-offs. Considering the liberties BF1 takes with history, I don't think adding a few more women soldiers is out the question.

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Captain Risky Avatar
4
11 Months ago

russians aren't in the game

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Jenks Avatar
236
11 Months ago

So of about 70 million combatants, a few thousand were women. So half the combatants in the game should be women? Yes, I think that would be more immersion breaking than extra tanks or parachutes.

There was a woman goalie in the NHL briefly. Should hockey games make half the characters women because hey, it's not common, but it exists!

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Drozd Avatar
4
11 Months ago

Absolute 100% realism was never Battlefield's intentions. Do not let your political opinions stand in the way of the discussion, it's about supply and demand, nothing else.

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jon_hill987 Avatar
145
11 Months ago

"and pretty much everyone under the sun plays Windowmaker in Overwatch."

Including people who could not hit the broadside of an omnium...

Back on topic, are DICE right? Would their target audience find it unbelievable? Would they care if they did find it unbelieveable? Or is it just men in suits taking what they think is the safe decision without asking their target audience?

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projectno253 Avatar
2
10 Months ago

By this logic that we should retroactively add women into a situation which they were not historically present (in combat), then anything concerning racism in the civil rights era should be omitted because it "endorses racism." Please discuss

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Tovias Avatar
1021
11 Months ago

The game is nowhere close to representing how was the Great War, they could have added lizardmen riding giant wolves for all I care. They never had the intention to make a game accurate, realistic or even innovative, I don't see why not add women soldier at this point since they clearly never cared about representanting the first world war for what it was, one of the biggest if not the most important conflict in human history.

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Tovias Avatar
1021
11 Months ago

wew double posted there

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hiddnsaccade Avatar
44
11 Months ago

"That, combined with the added expense of creating new models and voices for women soldiers would make the game pricey, apparently."

This is the real reason it isn't happening. At the end of the day, adding women to the game isn't going to make it sell many more copies than if they didn't. It's a big added expense, with a relativity small return.

The rest of the statements made above feel like the sexist opinions of some crappy boss who doesn't get it. At the end of the day, money drives the decisions of a company like this, and something that costs a lot of money but doesn't make much in return is bound to get scraped; which I feel is unfortunate in this case because it would have been interesting to see what they could have done.

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Ricebowl W. Johnson Avatar
1
10 Months ago

Women didn't see much combat in WWI, so it makes sense NOT to put them in the game... It would've made more sense to put them in the previous installations though, then this problem would've actually made sense.

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largepotatoes Avatar
1
10 Months ago

99.9992888631 of all soldiers were men. not even a thousandth of all soldiers were women

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Lamb of God Avatar
1
10 Months ago

The tiny vocal minority of social justice dolts that demand to be pandered to are not gamers anyway.

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ForgottenEntity Avatar
1
10 Months ago

I think also because there were barely any women who fought in WW1, mainly being on the front lines.

But even with my reasoning Feminists will still complain.

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Ben Barrett Avatar
387
11 Months ago

We might have a new record here for people not reading the story. She makes it fairly clear that they weren't worried about historical accuracy originally here, guys. They wanted women in because it's cool. The rest of the game clearly isn't that bothered about history either - there weren't battle zeppelins hovering above every fight, believe it or not.

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Fattox Avatar
458
11 Months ago

I think people read the story, they just have a different opinion of what parts of realism they're willing to forgo. And what counts as "cool". Making assumptions like that because people don't agree with you is a cop-out.

DICE made their choice accordingly, rather than giving in to current 'trends'. It's not sexist to be against shoehorning. I'd say the opposite, in-fact.

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Jenks Avatar
236
11 Months ago

"there weren't battle zeppelins hovering above every fight, believe it or not."

I don't think the game is trying to reproduce "every fight," and there were a LOT of zeppelin bombing runs in WWI. I mean damn, the opening description on wikipedia for zeppelins talks about their extensive use in WWI. By comparison 0% of the combatants in WWI were women.

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