Yes, you should be able to play as women in Call of Duty: WWII

Despite an increased focus on historical accuracy, the game will have playable female characters in multiplayer. And that's a good thing.

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Women in the military during World War II

of course we should be able to play as women

Image source: Pinterest

Before we address arguments for and against playable females in this Call of Duty title, let's establish why the issue is up for debate: Very few women served in combat roles during World War II. It was a different time, with women in Allied countries like the U.S. not having fully attained some of the rights they have today. In fact, it wasn't until 2016 that all U.S. military combat jobs opened up to women.

That's not to say that women didn't serve in the army during World War II, though. According to History.com, more than 350,000 women joined the military during the second World War. Although their jobs did not involve combat during that time period, female military members still served in roles like ferrying planes and transporting cargo. Still, several hundred military women were killed during the war, 16 of them by enemy fire, according to Wikipedia.

Other women served in the resistances of Poland, Italy and France. Women performed combat roles in the Soviet Union, perhaps making up the largest percentage of female military during that time. And even in Germany, women served in both combat and non-combat roles. So women did fight in World War II, albeit a limited number.

Arguments for women in multiplayer

Call of Duty WWII Tweet

Activision and developer Sledgehammer haven't revealed what role women will play in Call of Duty: World War II's campaign, if any. Because Call of Duty campaigns typically involve multiple playable characters, there's a chance that you might play as a female resistance member or even a civilian at some point. But we do know that both male and female soldiers will be playable in multiplayer mode, which is separate from the story-based campaign.

Playable females have several advantages. For starters, female character models add visual variety to multiplayer games. Considering how many hours a typical Call of Duty enthusiast spends in the game's competitive modes, a little visual variety goes a long way. The days of two teams of identical character models facing off against each other are long gone.

Speaking of changing standards, female soldiers have been playable in Call of Duty multiplayer since 2013's Call of Duty: Ghosts – the first entry for the current generation of consoles. Not the most popular Call of Duty, but it did establish a multiplayer standard for nearly every sequel to follow. With three games already including women soldiers (Infinite Warfare inexplicably lacks them), it would be a step back to exclude them from Call of Duty: WWII for the sake of realism.

Indeed, millions of gamers have come to expect playable females in Call of Duty – and many of those players happen to be female. People are naturally drawn to characters they identify with, often of the same gender, skin color, or body type.

White men don't have to worry about character appearance so much, because white male protagonists are still the default – the most common form of playable character. We white dudes (or even just dudes in general) don't face the limited selection of characters that look like us that female gamers endure. Muster some empathy, and you'll see that women being able to enjoy Call of Duty multiplayer in the same way you do is a good thing.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

Playable female soldier in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.

The presence of female players in online Call of Duty games actually benefits non-female gamers, too. More lady players means more ladies to game with. Playing online with female gamers is a cool chance to enjoy their company for a little while ... and maybe practice social interaction, if you need to.

No, that doesn't mean you should come on to girl players or harass them. They want to be treated the same way you do, or maybe even more politely than you expect people to treat you. And while I've geared this point towards men who are attracted to women, it also applies to people who aren't. Whatever you're into, interacting with different kinds of people is good for you. The more things we have in common – such as games – the better.

Finally, playable females have one obvious benefit for Activision, the company that publishes Call of Duty: increased sales. Corporations aren't generally altruistic in nature. Most of the decisions they make are based on profitability rather than a desire to do good (with some exceptions). The increasing level of diversity in videogames, much as in movies and television, is driven by financial realities.

The more women that can be played in games, the more those games will sell to women. Excluding playable female soldiers from Call of Duty: WWII's multiplayer just to increase historical realism would be leaving money on the table. Playable women means that Activision will sell more copies of the game.

Arguments against women in multiplayer

Call of Duty WWII Zombies

There are really only two arguments against allowing gamers to play as women in Call of Duty: WWII's multiplayer. The big one that pops up in practically every online discussion is that of historical accuracy. As we've established, very few women saw combat during World War II, especially as infantry. So, yes, players running around as lady soldiers in multiplayer is different from what actually happened.

But who cares? We play the Call of Duty campaign for realism, not multiplayer. The goal in competitive battles in this series isn't to recreate actual events, it's to have fun. Should Axis players automatically lose a battle because that's what really happened more than 70 years ago? Nobody would want to play that game.

I haven't even mentioned the countless other concessions to reality that Call of Duty: WWII must make, such as allowing players to survive severe wounds without loss of limbs or life simply by using health packs. Call of Duty is not a simulation game, so the developers take numerous liberties in the name of fun.

Besides, the biggest argument against limiting Call of Duty games to historically accurate scenarios is actually one of the series's most popular modes: Zombies! The cooperative Zombies mode first appeared in Call of Duty: World at War, an installment based on World War II. Call of Duty: WWII will continue the tradition by including its own new take on Zombies mode.

If players can handle the presence of a historically inaccurate mode in which allied soldiers battle against Nazi zombies, surely the presence of playable women in the competitive multiplayer mode won't cause a stir. Or are women scarier than zombies to some gamers?

That's the only other possible argument against playable female soldiers in Call of Duty: WWII – women have cooties. Nobody literally thinks that, but an unfortunate vocal minority of gamers just doesn't want women around. Whether it's sexually harassing female players, or uglier actions like threatening and doxing female developers and critics, the gaming industry is no stranger to the ugliness of chauvinism, misogyny, and sociopathy.

Let them play games

Frankly, we can't do anything to convince people who just won't want women around (or think of them as less than full people) that attracting a female audience to Call of Duty: WWII (or any game) is a good idea. Their attitudes come from antipathy and xenophobia, not a place of logic and reason. Most people, thankfully, have some measure of empathy and some tolerance for people who are different from them

In any case – like it or not – female soldiers will be playable in Call of Duty: WWII. With so many strong reasons for them to be in the game, we all need to make peace with that. Historical accuracy is a fine thing, and the story-based campaign mode will certainly strive to achieve it. Multiplayer, as ever, will focus on competition and fun instead.

Call of Duty: WWII arrives on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows on November 3, and it will cost $59.99.

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Lead image source: Brick's History

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

148 Comments
  • Not according to Nutella you shouldn't....and also don't ask for a raise if you are a woman.
  • Come on. Yes, he made one comment. He apologized for it and rightfully so. And I believe he actually recognizes his error too, so this isn't really necessary. I mean, I feel like you have an actual deep seated hatred for this guy. Like, if you saw him in the public, I don't know if I'd trust that he'd be safe with you around.
  • Ok. Answer me this. If you or me made that same comment through our workplace, would we be given a chance to apologize or be fired? We would be fired. So I will accept the apology when he is fired.
  • It really depends on the workplace and the person involved too. I'm not super important. He arguably is. His apology and later actions probably did more good than the bad that his comment made. He's in a position of power to actually make a difference and people listen to him. That's how it is with powerful people. Their apologies make a difference. Ours don't.
  • Cool. So if I become more important and/or famous, I can become racists and/or sexists and just apologize for everything? I'm going for it. As soon as I move up I guess I can start singing racial slurs at him and then just apologize.
  • Omg someone made a mistake get over it. I get it was wrong its over now. Let it go for real.
  • Ok. Get ready for my mistake....and remember , whatever racists thing I say, it's a mistake and can be corrected with an apology.
  • No, it has to be followed by an apology with a statement showing a thorough understanding of whats wrong and the many ways you will help the industry improve in that area.
  • No, it's not a mistake. A mistake is "oops, I spilt the milk", or "crap, I cut this piece of wood two inches to short". Not "Woman shouldn't ask for raises in the work force". That's not a mistake. That is what he thinks deep down...apology or not, that is what he believes. Even with the apology it is known that this is his mind set now.
  • "That's not a mistake. That is what he thinks deep down" OK, maybe you are right......... and what now? Should he kill himself or what do you want? Should he lie in front of people just to be accepted? Should he be fired and than what? Will he change his mind? NO so whats your point? You are just an angry feminist and btw: my opinion this is the exact reason why feminism is bad. You are full with toxic negativiy. Its scary and sad at the same time
  • Ok, he's just anti Nadella, not a feminist. He probably could care less about women. But your comment about feminism is also off point. If all it takes is a bad example to discredit and entire idea, no ideas would hold water anymore, including American patriotism.
  • I'm not a feminist. I'm for equality. And Nutella has made it known he isn't. Keep defending him though. It's comical.
  • No. He doesn't have to kill himself. He should have resigned. And the fact he didn't shows you he also meant what he said and that he has ZERO integrity. So, from here out, he is own giant POS to me.
  • You know it wasn't blatant sexism. The fact that it happened probably shed more light on the issue and furthered the cause more than you ever will. And you know that's not what I even implied. You're just stretching it to an absurd conclusion that doesn't logically follow. I'm sure you've probably said worse at some point anyway.
  • Ok...so anyone that makes racists comments should just say "hey, I shed some light on the subject...give me a break"? Come on. This is what is wrong with this world. People in higher positions are let off the hook far to easy. Screw that. He should have been canned immediately.
  • I was waiting for your mistake.....
  • I haven't moved up yet...
  • Yes, you too can be like Trump
  • I think a lot of people misinterpreted what he was trying to say. He said, "Woman should trust the system" or something like that. But what he meant was "Woman should trust the system, just like men should" . I doubt that he actually meant that woman can't ask for a raise. Either way people are blowing this way out proportion.
  • loool what a fuuny world, you insult to a person family name then try to defend women right, try to correct yourself first then judge other people statement / you concern about women in microsoft ? look at microsft latest confrence and see how many women presentrs come and speeak then compare it with other tech companies 
  • Nope. When you act like a sexist pig, and are god awful at your job, you lose the right to be addressed as you want. But hey. If it makes you feel better, I apologize for calling him Nutella. Now all is well and I should be forgiven.
  • Ah yes, missionsparta being a level 0 troll. Must be a day that ends in y.
  • in the court judge call you with your correct first and last name and also call you with mr/mrs title , even if the defendant killed 3 person and .... / "god awful at your job " you know that microsoft in satya nadella time gain the highest stock in the microsoft history 
  • on one side.. you want to be equal which means FREEDOM but freedom is not just about positive things! You can not accept people who are not supporting equality. You are ignorant against them. So.. my question is: why do you think that YOU and people like YOU should reform the future? Basically women want to be the one who kick ass... no kindness, no heart, no positive emotions just the exact same sheet as its happening now just the gender changes. Its pure BS. The whole campaign is a big social experiment which will result in non working male = female relationships in the future. People will be either single or gay... not to mention gender X which will lead us to the end Why am I writing this to an article about COD? :-D Just look at this game, Activision is losing money so what now? Guess what? Lets put a female character in the game and enjoy the free HYPE around the game. The game itself could be as bad as the last one but nobody will care because it has a strong, female character...  
  • You wont get much love around these parts.
    I mean, look who is the president of the United States?
  • Get a grip
  • Dude, you have some serious issues.
  • Dude is off the rails.
  • Someone looking for attention I see, smh drama queen.
  • i can't belive how peple think
    he said i didn't ever ask for a raise and that's a suggestion he would make to anyone male or female not to ask for a raise
    but i guess women being so used to being treated diffrently just can't take it when some one simply doesn't care if they're male or female and feel the need to make something out of it
  • Can I buy a comma or period?
  • they'll be available as DLC in a further update!
  • Just to put this insane rant in context, here's the actual quote : “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,”
  • This is a minefield. If one doesn't implement them they will be attacked for sexism, if they do implemnt them they will be attacked for misandry.   Please don't infest this tech site with this SJW ****.
  • Mmm...propaganda. So delicious.
  • Ok, **** then. Better? Take the statement that more women will buy the game if they can play as women. Is that statement actually based on any statistics? Does the author really think that women are that shallow?   And if female characters were just implemented without any articles like this one, do you rea think that anyone would care?
  • So much better. Thank you. Mmm...asterisks.
  • Trolling your own readers. Typical.
  • :P
  • I always find it funny that the people that tend to cry about SJWs are usually just as big of snowflakes as they are.  "Oh no WindowsCentral are discussing the historical accuracies of women in wars, I better try to censor them because I'm triggered by the mere mention of social issues in the world" get over it snowflake.  
  • And the people complaining about sexism are allways the most sexist. Look at the author of this piece for example that thinks women need female characters to be able to play a game. I guess my sister, and my female friends must be infected by that terrible internalized misogyny I've been hearing so much about these last years.
  • Wow you're really clutching at straws there. That's a pathetic attempt at pushing point that was never made just to try and validate your own position. The article is about providing options. And before you go off on a rant along the lines of 'pandering to women is sexist as it fails to acknowledge they can discern whether a game is worth playing regardless of the gender of the characters.' This is not that argument. This is an argument based on years of actual marketing research that states people form stronger bonds with characters they can relate to. How people relate is a broad sodding spectrum, but the easiest one is 'hey that person looks/acts/talks/dresses similar to me or someone I know/aspire to be like/admire.' Which then makes it easier to associate with/trust the story/product/statement.
    To be honest it's not rocket science.
  • I hate the fact that people basically saying 'hey let's try and not act like horrible human beings and see where that gets us' are labelled Social Justice Warriors as though that is somehow derogatory. The article makes some pretty clear points:
    1.People enjoy playing video games.
    2.People enjoy options in character creation, especially in multiplayer.
    3.People tend to create characters they can associate with as their online avatars.
    4.Women are people.
    5.Oh and with regards to the realism thing, you're playing a videogame.
  • Thanks for the excellent comment. The term SJW is simply But at least a way to dehumanize people who ask that we treat others with greater humanity/empathy. But at least when you see it used unironically, it tells you where people sit on that side of the fence.
  • It really is a helpful way to determine whether someone is worth your time.
  • It's the holier than thou attitude that probably bothers people more.  The SJW nose's are so far up in the air I can see how empty their head is.