Call of Duty: Vanguard is, unsurprisingly, shaping as much as be one of many largest titles of the vacation season, and for good purpose. Many fan-favorite options can be included: Treyarch can be persevering with the thrilling new storyline arrange in Cold War‘s Zombies mode, and the sport is even operating on the wonderful Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 engine in order that the transition to Warzone is seamless. The marketing campaign mode this time round will even characteristic 4 totally different protagonists, every on main fronts of World War 2: Eastern, Western, North African, and Pacific. However, considered one of these 4 marks a historic second for the first-person shooter sequence: the primary feminine protagonist.
Given the alleged but despicable actions that many builders and high-ranking males of Activision Blizzard have dedicated in opposition to its feminine workers, outlined in an ongoing lawsuit, it is a very odd second for a lot of inside the Call of Duty: Vanguard group. On one hand, many rightly need to rejoice that Polina Petrova, who relies on the real-life Lyudmila Pavlichenko, can have her story informed to a bigger viewers than she may probably think about. On the opposite hand, so many ladies employed at Activision Blizzard have been unable to inform their tales of abuse and harassment. These allegations, mixed with little or no public communication from Activision Blizzard, flip this optimistic information in regards to the protagonist into little greater than performative social justice with none motion or promise to be higher.
The Repetitive History of Abuse Against Women
In 2018, Call of Duty‘s fundamental competitor, Battlefield 5, launched a trailer for its upcoming World War 2 shooter. In the trailer, numerous ladies had been featured prominently. This was such a spotlight that some avid gamers created the #NotMyBattlefield hashtag and obtained it trending on Twitter. It’s price noting that those that partook in that hashtag are probably a part of the hivemind not taking the Activision Blizzard lawsuit very severely. These people have vehemently argued that this quantity of ladies of their video video games was merely unacceptable. An identical debate arose after earlier trailers of Horizon Forbidden West debuted, and a few male avid gamers obtained up in arms about Aloy’s look.
However, writer EA and builders DICE didn’t again down about this act of inclusion whereas incurring associated controversies. As a outcome, many continued to accuse the builders of being performative and together with ladies simply because it will make the corporate look good. This is all occurring shortly after the current waves of the #MeToo motion started to realize a whole lot of traction and widespread help, so it is not fully exceptional that the builders made this determination to pander to supporters of this motion. As companies, EA and DICE have each proper to make selections and market its product nonetheless it thinks will rating probably the most income. But this unethical observe highlights that there was and can proceed to be a observe report of males calling out ladies being featured in video video games as undesirable.
What’s Different About Activision Blizzard’s Case?
The panorama in 2021 could be very totally different than it was in 2018, each for builders and the group. It has now lengthy since been established and accepted that many ladies had been taking part in warfare through the Nineteen Forties. This time, the primary distinction just isn’t all the way down to ill-conceived notions of historic accuracy, however somewhat blatant hypocrisy from Activision Blizzard itself. Betwixt all of the controversial issues EA has completed over time such because the loot field playing debacle, it has additionally equally seen sexual assault allegations, ensuing within the chopping of ties between the corporate and Chris Avellone.
The main query right here is how can Activision Blizzard declare to help ladies like Lyudmila Pavlichenko telling their tales in video video games when the corporate is a hostile work surroundings for girls? Not to say what number of titles Activision has launched with out ladies in main roles. It appears that these larger up on the totem pole have determined to push this feminine angle as harm management; it is probably no accident that the Activision identify was absent from the Call of Duty: Vanguard reveal trailer whereas developer Sledgehammer’s identify appeared.
It is nice information that Call of Duty: Vanguard could have a feminine protagonist, and it’s nice that every one these courageous ladies at Activision Blizzard have come ahead with their tales in regards to the males that lead the corporate. But issues get much more suspicious as soon as the timeline of Call of Duty: Vanguard is taken into account. Though Laura Bailey will need to have been working with Sledgehammer in her function of Lt. Petrova for a while now, it is solely after the lawsuit has commenced and the general public has outcried at these allegations is she given this highlight, clueing viewers in on the priorities of the corporate. This ‘frat boy’ tradition inside all gaming studios, not simply Activision Blizzard, can solely finish as soon as ladies are given an identical highlight as larger roles and equality inside administration, not simply making up one-fourth of a AAA sport’s protagonists.
Call of Duty: Vanguard is out November fifth, 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.