Battlefield 1 multiplayer is set to add female soldiers in its upcoming DLC. ‘In the Name of the Tsar’ is a planned DLC expansion pack that will focus on the Russian forces, including the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death.
Publisher EA and developer DICE previously came under fire for not featuring female characters in Battlefield 1 multiplayer. However, the game’s story campaign already features a playable female protagonist.
Battlefield 1 Multiplayer Getting Playable Female Characters
— Battlefield (@Battlefield) May 22, 2017
Newly released promotional art for the Battlefield 1 DLC In the Name of the Tsar confirms that the game will introduce playable female characters to its multiplayer mode. The Women’s Battalions will be playable as the Russian Scout class in the game.
In real-life, Women’s Battalions were all-female combat units formed by Maria Bochkareva (a Tsar-appointed member of the Reserve Battalion) and the government after the February Revolution, which forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate.
The battalions were created following many petitions from women who campaigned to the government to join join regular military units, before they began protesting for women’s battalions. It is said that the Russian government felt that women’s battalions could be used as propaganda to inspire the war effort and to encourage the men of the Russian army.
In the Name of the Tsar will be shown off during EA’s E3 2017 event, EA Play, in June, but some have already voiced strong opinions about it. Similar to the arguments of Battlefield 1 and black-washing with its playable African-American soldiers, some are saying that the playable female characters go against ‘historical accuracy’ despite being based on actual history.
Interestingly, the fact that the game’s multiplayer features respawns and endless airship explosions has not been criticised for being historically inaccurate.
There are also additional frustrations that they have to pay for DLC to get to play a female character in the game’s multiplayer. It was alleged that DICE chose not to feature women in multiplayer initially because of the “core audience of boys” who would play the game. Some are understandably annoyed that they have to pay extra for content just because DICE (perhaps wrongly) believes that not enough Battlefield 1 players want it.