Battlefield 1 adding women soldiers in Russian DLC

It’s not only French and Russian soldiers who were left out of World War 1 in Battlefield 1 [official site] for later appearances in paid expansions: women are coming in DLC too. Soldiers from the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death will serve as the multiplayer Scout class for the Russian forces coming later this year in the expansion In the Name of the Tsar, DICE have revealed. They look pret-ty gnarly all right but it’s such a shame they’re limited to paid DLC.

DICE don’t have much more to say for now, instead pointing people towards EA’s big E3 livestream presentation EA Play on June 10th. Okey cokey.

Supposedly DICE did originally plan to include women soldiers in Battlefield 1 then changed their minds. Bedouin rebel Zara Ghufran is playable in part of the game’s singleplayer campaign but the plan was to have female soldiers in multiplayer too.

As VG247 reported in June 2016, former DICE programmer Amandine Coget has claimed DICE chucked a uey on women soldiers and eventually conceded it was because their presence would not, as Coget phrased it, be believable “to the core audience of boys.”

Women were rare on the frontlines but heaven forbid anything be less than wholly realistic in a wakka-wacky World War 1 with cartoon armies respawning endlessly and charging gleefully to their cartoon deaths, cartoon physics, and giant sharks leaping out of trench puddles.

I’ll not quote Coget’s entire tweet chain but here’s the outline:

A few months later, Coget says, an internal e-mail thread mentioned they’d been canned.

Neat as they are, the Women’s Battalion of Death arriving in a £12 expansion is little consolation. Activision’s rival arcadey warfest, Call of Duty, introduced multiplayer female soldiers in 2013 and yup, plans to have them in World War 2 too.

67 Comments

  1. CynicalPleb says:

    Glad to see the russians are getting some love. Just out of interest is anyone here going to buy this dlc because they included another gender ?

    • int says:

      I for one am not. At least not until we get three or four more genders.

    • TobleroneRoloCombo says:

      Yes, some will.

      As for me, hard to say. My decision to buy the game in the first place might be increased, but it’s still very much a game outside of my budget.

  2. Seafoam says:

    Well, yeah I suppose there were women in the war, glossed over in history books, so I guess their stories could be told as well.

    I do feel kinda iffy about the “screw realism, we’re adding female soldiers, because we’re way overdue” thing.
    I can understand putting realism aside for spectacle and action in a piece of entertainment, but I don’t see the logic behind putting aside realism for progressiveness’s sake.

    Isn’t that whitewashing history?
    I don’t see that as same thing as adding more tanks to add excitement.

    I just really don’t know. Please tell me if I got it all wrong.

    • CynicalPleb says:

      *Shrug* I know what you mean I would prefer to play with some new guns /vehicules but that is just me maybe some people get more excited at the idea of playing a woman.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      There’s several of documentated cases of women fighting in WW1, including the above mentioned 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death (what a name though), and several women who pretended to be men, including a british journalist and a serbian war heroïne. I have to look up the names.

      • Seafoam says:

        Yes I know that there were rare woman combatants. My issue was with the sentiment of that top tweet.

        • Premium User Badge

          Grizzly says:

          screw realism has been the MO for BF1 since it’s inception though: One of the first things that was shown off was the “behemoths”, including a combat zeppelin that flew over the frontline, which they never did. I kinda get the sentiment considering that there are more documented cases of women fighting in WW1 then some of the other stuff you can use in the game actually being used in combat (or even existing before 1919), such as aforementioned zeppelins.

          • Seafoam says:

            Yeah kinda, but I don’t want to repeat myself but it seems I have to. It is understandable to put aside realism for spectacle and excitement, but isn’t putting aside realism for progressiveness literally called whitewashing history?

          • CletusVanDamme says:

            I get what you’re saying Seafoam, like it’s a double standard.

          • Seafoam says:

            No I mean if by trying to be progressive you end up whitewashing history, doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose of being progressive?
            Being not realistic for entertainment doesn’t defeat the purpose of being entertaining.
            Or if maybe you were trying to say that? I dunno I’m just confused.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            There’s a lot to unpack there. But I think the main point I would make is that depiction is not discussion, and alteration is not inherently whitewashing.

            If you just show a certain thing without remarking on it, especially if it’s included as a ‘default’, you are not progressing anyone’s understanding of anything and you aren’t provoking any real thoughts. Similarly, I think altering a historical or factual event is only whitewashing if it is being done to *avoid* discussion and controversy. Sometimes a change can be done to raise a topic that is relevant to both our historical and present day understanding. Is Django Unchained whitewashing history to show an universe where black people could rebel effectively? I’d argue not.

          • Premium User Badge

            Grizzly says:

            No, whitewashing specifically refers to not including people of color in historical pieces where they actually were present. This is not something Battlefield does: It depicts the colonial conscripts quite well.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            There’s a colloquial definition of whitewashing that’s sometimes used to refer to generally removing controversial or negative aspects from an account. I assume that’s what’s being used here. link to en.wikipedia.org

          • Seafoam says:

            Grizzly: whitewashing has 2 definitions. Now you’re arguing semantics.

            FhnuZoag: I think you’ve got a fair point there. Thank you for your in-depth analysis.

          • Premium User Badge

            subdog says:

            Behemoths add spectacle and excitement for you and drive away the realists who don’t feel personally catered to. Acceptable.

            Female skins add relatability to a different group of players and you don’t feel personally catered to. Unacceptable.

          • Premium User Badge

            Grizzly says:

            @Fhnu-zoag
            Thanks for clearing that up :-)

      • pentraksil says:

        British woman that served in the Serbian Army was Flora Sandes. She was a nurse. The other famous woman in the army was Milunka Savic, she was a serb and also served in the Serbian Army. She is considered as the most decorated female soldier in history. Although female were present and respected for these roles (decorated, attaining ranks, social status etc.) the cases of females fighting on the front were very very rare. Even with the Russian division.

    • Dewal says:

      I think it’s mostly to give people the ability to play whoever they want.
      If you have the possibility to customize your avatar, it’s normal that people want to be able to create women characters.
      Because, as amazing as it could seems to CynicalPleb, some people don’t “get more excited at the idea of playing a woman”, they just ARE women.

      And it’s a bit disrespectul to just say “yeaaah no, war games (or just games) aren’t for women”. It’s kinda spitting in the faces of all of them that do.
      And if someone use the argument that the majority of players are men, I’ll laugh in his face the next time people cry because a game is not ported on PC because we’re not the main target on the market.

      • CynicalPleb says:

        Just wanted to specify that by “excited ” I mean happy or desire to play as a woman not because they want to get an erection XD

    • MikhailG says:

      mate do you even know what whitewashing means? gender and skin colour are not the same.

      • Seafoam says:

        Now you’re arguing over semantics, the word has many definitions.

      • Drib says:

        Please don’t assume Tumblr’s definition of words is the same as how people in the real world use them.

        Whitewashing has long been the practice of revisionist history or even changing current stories to look less bad than they actually were, generally by glossing over the unpleasant parts or pretending they didn’t happen. It is not just “making everyone white” like the internet seems to have recently decided.

    • Ham Solo says:

      Nothing in that game is anywhere close to realistic or historically accurate. So I’m not bothered by this, or the complete exclusion of the french at launch. They could add aliens and fictional battlefields in the US to the game and I wouldn’t mind. It would be laughable for a more serious game like verdun to do this, but Battlefield is like “call of duty” plus “saints row” at this point.

  3. Gothnak says:

    Personally, i think it’s a bit weird shoehorning this in to a setting where it really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yes, there were female soldiers in WW1, yes they were extremely rare. Moderno Warfare would make much more sense.

    Putting it behind a paywall makes even less sense.

    I know this isn’t story based, per se, but i am getting a little bored of people wanting to change characters and settings because they aren’t inclusive or they are appropriating something.

    Writers get criticised for not including many female characters or characters of other races, but only last week Anthony Horowitz got complained at for writing a book where the main character was black because that might be inappropriate. And JK Rowling got told off for using American Indian magic in a book about American magicians.

    A fantasy author got online attacked recently for setting a book in a school where some characters were initially racists (They hated orcs) but by the end of the book, it was about them realising the errors of their ways. Everyone just said she was a racist.

    In my opinion (and it is just that, an opinion), creative individuals should be able to create settings and worlds however they like. They should be able to write a game or a book about a setting where everyone is a white male, where men are slaves to women, where their favourite character in Game of Thrones dies, without someone needing to go online and rant about what an evil person they are. If you don’t like something, don’t play/read/watch it, they’ll soon change it to go after the big bucks.

    So, women in war games, absolutely, but only where it fits the setting for me, and this is a bit of a crowbar to tick a box imo…

      • Gothnak says:

        Around 3000/20000000 Russian Soldiers in WW2 were female, i stick to my comment that they were ‘extremely rare’.

        There have also been 5 female drivers in the history of Formula 1, and i also said it was a little weird that 50% of drivers in Motorsport Manager were female.

        Still, absolutely their choice to make those decisions, but a bit weird when playing the game.

    • Premium User Badge

      FhnuZoag says:

      “In my opinion (and it is just that, an opinion), creative individuals should be able to create settings and worlds however they like.”

      “So, women in war games, absolutely, but only where it fits the setting for me, and this is a bit of a crowbar to tick a box imo…”

      So creators can do whatever they like, unless it’s putting women in a setting you don’t want them in.

      • Gothnak says:

        I’m not saying they can’t, just that it doesn’t make much sense. I’m not going online and saying they can’t, and not saying they are evil, just that it’s a weird choice.

        • Premium User Badge

          FhnuZoag says:

          You’re kinda online right now and saying they shouldn’t?

          Anyway any significantly famous author or whatever is going to get his or her fair share of criticism on the internet, and some of that criticism is going to be accurate, some of that is going to be inaccurate, and some might be accurate but hyperbolic.

          It’s kinda cheap to critique the criticism by going after the cases where it’s silly or wrong. It’s also unfair to go after people for expressing opinions about what creators should do and escalate that to them infringing on what creators are “able to do”.

        • Premium User Badge

          Grizzly says:

          Battlefield 1 regurarely issues self-loading rifles to troops, most of which were only ever issued on airplanes rather then soldiers on the ground. Every two out of four soldiers carries a machinegun, nevermind the cost.

          More women have fought and died in WW1 then there have been A7V tanks: They appear regurarely during matches and are blown up with an almost equally regular fashion.

          More women have fought and died in World War 1 then there have been zeppelins. Meanwhile, Battlefield 1 has these zeppelins flying over the front lines in a lot of matches, which they never did.

          More women have fought and died in WW1 then there have been italians in medieval plate armour charging up mountains with a heavy machinegun. In BF1 this is a part of the campaign and a bonus pickup in multiplayer.

          There’s a long list of things in which BF1 shits all over historical accuracy for the sake of it’s own paradigms, and this doesn’t matter: It’s still an incredibly fun game. Adding women to an army that actually deployed them in a regular fashion isn’t as nearly as weird a choice then a lot of the other things DICE has done.

          • Gothnak says:

            Lol, i didn’t know about the plate-armour clad Italian.

            In that case, i doff my hat to thee, internet discussion victory awarded to you. ;)

        • typographie says:

          There’s more historical rationale for women to be fighting in the Imperial Russian Army than there is for half the guns in BF1 even being in the game.

          I recognize and appreciate that you’re trying to present your concerns about this in a mature way. But your right to voice those concerns is the same right someone else has to complain when there isn’t female representation in a game. You can’t have one without the other. And for better or worse, that right does not hinge on how mature they choose to be about it.

          • Gothnak says:

            Yeah, i’ll be honest, i didn’t realise the number of other elements in the game that aren’t realistic, in which case, this fits just fine.

    • Dewal says:

      This game isn’t about writing, isn’t about story. It’s about playing a random soldier and having fun. Male or female doesn’t change anything, it’s just that maybe some player would like to play someone that looks like a bit like them.
      And in this case, it’s sad to see that the reason there aren’t any women character in the game is :”women don’t play games, yahr”.
      So yeah, the author of a story can create whatever setting he likes, but in this case this argument doesn’t even apply.

      • Gothnak says:

        I agree with all your points, i did mention this was just a kind of side topic after all. And i entirely agree that many women like playing games and shooters, my wife is one of them.

        I’ve always ensured that there are a large % of female characters in all games I’ve worked on to try and reach the largest audience, but i just feel i shouldn’t be ostracised if one game i happen to make is primarily about playing as a male character.

    • innokenti says:

      People in positions where they produce things for a very large audience are also in a position of power and influence. I think it is reasonable to lay on them responsibility for shaping how consumers of their creativity shape their world – they don’t just throw stuff out into the void. Thus, it is reasonable to ask for representation etc. and criticise when it’s deprioritised in favour of other more frivolous things because they don’t care enough.

      In the cases you give some examples may include fair criticism, or things authors have not considered which have a negative impact. Some of it may be spurious. Can’t take all provided criticism at face value or give it the same weight though…

  4. Elusiv3Pastry says:

    If female soldiers were too unbelievable for the troglodytes that they imagine their audience to be, then I’m surprised they didn’t remove black German soldiers as well.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      It’s a lot easier to just point to the battles fought over the colonial holdings of Britain and Germany in Africa during WW1 in that case though.

      • TobleroneRoloCombo says:

        Out of curiosity, does the game cover the East African front at all?

        • Premium User Badge

          Grizzly says:

          No, but soldiers drawn from the colonies are. The game does showcase the italian and middle eastern fronts though.

  5. Rince says:

    A shame that they chickened away from the original idea. After all BF1 isn’t realistic by any mean. And that’s fine, I prefer fun over realism.

    But well, history buff players can be scary, just lurk in the Paradox, Civilization or Total War discussion boards. *shivers*

    • TobleroneRoloCombo says:

      Be especially wary of those who used German Imperial symbols on the Paradox forums. It’s… not their first choice.

  6. coldvvvave says:

    In the name of the tsar? Funny they called it that. People who fought didn’t know why they were fighting. This war turned out to be a complete failure of Imperial economic and military. Failures of Russo-Japanese war taught them nothing at all.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      Same with the Austria-Hungarian and German empires and even the British one, albeit to a lesser extend.

  7. 4004 says:

    A weird name for a weird DLC, wonder how many people would actually buy it, seeing how doesn’t have a story component.
    Seeing how Zara Ghufran’s campaign was the best part of BF1, I wish there was more of that

    • TobleroneRoloCombo says:

      Playing as a pigeon was only the second, and that got a whole gamemode dedicated to it.

  8. innokenti says:

    Some number of people seem to be absolutely terrified by the prospect of female playable characters in such a ridiculously over-the-top game.

    Whatever the setting, if there’s a bit of customisability, being a woman should just be an option (along with race) – no game is that accurate historically anyway, and inclusivity is significantly more important if you have even a modicum of respect for fellow human beings.

  9. TychoCelchuuu says:

    Brace yourselves for people suddenly getting very hung up over verisimilitude in a game where people sprint around with machine guns mowing people down who then get revived with little syringes and look up into the sky to see a giant zeppelin bombarding them only to get run over by a horse, and all of this is happening in a palace, and then a tank flips over and someone bangs on it with a wrench for a while until they get bored and throw a grenade at a teammate.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Yeah exactly. There are people who are legitimately concerned about realism, but they’re generally military history nerds who play niche hex-grid wargames, not fucking AAA shooters which discarded realism from the start.

      It’s just weirdos with an urge to constantly complain about women. Maybe stop being so weird.

      • Faxanadu says:

        Please.

        I’ll never complain about genders in games if you don’t either. Deal?

        Yeah didn’t think so.

        No point complaining when people fight fire with fire.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      I was just thinking about a discussion I saw over at COH2.org about why there is a female voice for the T34 tank and people throwing out exactly these kind of comments. It boggles the mind.

      Also, whoa, it’s T.Celchuuu! Love your content man, please return to shoutcasting. Pretty please.

  10. Asrahn says:

    Giant battle-zeppelins: Not even a shrug.

    Women: Muh realizm/historical accuracy.

    • Ham Solo says:

      But armed zeppelins did exist.
      link to en.wikipedia.org
      “A bomb load of 1,600 kilograms (3,530 lb) could be carried and a number of MG 08 machine guns were mounted for aircraft defence. “

  11. Slazia says:

    I assume even more expensive costume DLC will be coming soon which puts them in battle swimsuits or cat ears.

  12. Ghostwise says:

    So according to DICE, if you’re a French lady with Russian ancestry you’re some sort of costly luxury good ?

    How odd.

  13. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Look, if they included women then I might have to stop referring to them as man-shoots.

  14. Jimbot says:

    No reason why they shouldn’t include women in the multiplayer. No reason whatsoever. It takes away nothing while catering to a demographic who wants this sort of thing. I just don’t buy the whole “realism” trash either. The other day I unlocked one of the worst weapons ever designed, the Chauchat, for my Support class. It’s really damn good, but if this were being realistic, the moment I go prone and get muggy, the thing would jam and refuse to fire at all.

    Also remove just about every automatic weapon that isn’t a LMG. And most of the tanks. Game isn’t going for realism, it’s going for popcorn excitement using materiel of the time. Women fought in the war, in very small number, so add them in because it fits with the loosey-goosey take on history this game is using.

  15. allthingslive says:

    Oh boy, just what I was hoping for, paid DLC that adds women to the game! It felt so incomplete without them!
    -nobody

  16. Titler says:

    There might be a little less controversy if players were just allowed to pick their own character model, and thus the colour/gender was directly supporting people’s choice in how they themselves want to be represented in game; as it is, currently it’s tied to the Nation and then Class you’re playing… thus anyone wanting to play Scout on Russian maps/teams is going to be forced to play as a woman. Which is bound to set the poor little frog-flakes off… especially as Dice likes to lock off new DLC content that you’ve already paid for behind class based challenges, so they either have to be a woman or miss out.

    It won’t concern me personally, as I neither care what my model is at any one time, nor can even see it until I’m dead anyway. And the game, as already mentioned, is hardly historical as it is; there’s virtually no Trench warfare for a start, look to Verdun (the game) for a better attempt at simulating the actual flow of WW1 battles. But still… you’d undercut a lot of the claims to reasonable outrage by getting people to defend hating black or female models in a game when it’s tied much closer to actually being a black or female player just trying to take part and have some fun, just like you…

    • TobleroneRoloCombo says:

      Media likes to exaggerate the amount of Trench Warfare in WW1, in part due to the popularity of poetry such as In Flanders Fields, people like to give prominence to certain parts of the war over others.

  17. DEspresso says:

    I spent some time last weekend in Rising Storm:Vietnam(OpenBeta) and once you manage to get an all-black squad together your teamkill ratio will remarkably improve =)

  18. PancakeWizard says:

    There was an awesome female Russian sniper, but that was WWII I think.

  19. DrachenKonig says:

    At least there actually were women soldiers in Russia, unlike CoD WW2 having women soldiers fight for the U.S……….