Soderlund spoke candidly to Gamasutra, claiming that women in Battlefield V were an element that the development team at DICE was heavily pushing for. "Battlefield V is a lot about the unseen, the untold, the unplayed," explained Soderlund. "The common perception is that there were no women in World War II. There were a ton of women who both fought in World War II and partook in the war."
If you haven’t seen the Battlefield V reveal trailer then do be sure to check it out. It features a battle between British and German troops, as well as a couple of female soldiers. On top of that, the box art for Battlefield V also features a woman. DICE has been at pains to say this is because it’s about the untold stories of World War 2, and that some women were deep in the battlefield at various points in the global conflict.
In terms of the backlash, Soderlund expressed his concerns that, in today’s world, people could actually be upset by a matter such as this. “I have a 13-year-old daughter that when the trailer came out and she saw all the flak, she asked me, 'Dad, why's this happening?'" Soderlund said. "She plays Fortnite, and says, 'I can be a girl in Fortnite. Why are people so upset about this?' She looked at me and she couldn't understand it. And I'm like, ok, as a parent, how the hell am I gonna respond to this, and I just said, 'You know what? You're right. This is not okay.'"
From there, things take a turn to the brutal, with Soderlund calling out the frothing fans who are angered about the situation. "These are people who are uneducated—they don't understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen: this is a game," he said. "And today gaming is gender-diverse, like it hasn't been before. There are a lot of female people who want to play, and male players who want to play as a badass woman."
Naturally, some people are going to vote with their wallets on the matter. For plenty, this is a great reason to pick up Battlefield V, while for others, they can take a stand against the game if they want - EA really isn’t bothered. “We don't take any flak,” said Soderlund. “We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don't understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don't buy the game. I'm fine with either or. It's just not ok."
So, er, there we have it, Soderlund has really drawn a line in the sand with this one. It’s quite refreshing to see a hardline approach against toxicity taken by a publisher, particularly at a time when the likes of Valve appear terrified of upsetting anyone. Time will tell whether it was the right decision.
Battlefield V is coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 19th.