By CCN: Battlefield V makes a number of departures from reality, but none is so stark as its erasure of the German Nazi Party. The EA/DICE superhit released the title – 16th in the series – last fall.
I wasn’t paying much attention, having not even upgraded to Xbox One at that point. I finally did so in January, and the reason seemed obvious to me: Battlefield One. Then one day at the store I noticed a new Battlefield title, so I picked it up.
While Battlefield has for years been essentially the only console game I play (I’m a boring/busy single father of four), I hadn’t heard anything about the latest edition.
As it turns out, there was a great controversy about them introducing women soldiers into every army.
Clearly, that makes historical sense for the Soviet Union, who did have many female soldiers. Actual soldiers, armed and trained to kill, although the majority served in medical units.
But Soviet Russia isn’t even introduced in Battlefield V (yet). Nor is America, Japan, or even, wait for it, the Nazis. There are Germans, but we’re meant to pretend they weren’t Nazis.
In fact, if you play medic, which is one of the better classes in Battlefield V, you default to the female character.
I played her for a few weeks before I realized I could change her. Battlefield V has a whole skinning/market scheme, where you’re expected to earn in-game currency and spend real money to upgrade the look and feel of your character.
This is a departure from Battlefield 4, the game I’ve played constantly for years, where your main concern is upgrading your weapon. Just being a good player will eventually get you all the weapons. I think, of course, the Battlefield in-game-property system could benefit from some blockchain, but that’s another article.
The female thing doesn’t bother me much, really. So be it.
But the Nazi thing. Well, some background.
My first experience in first person shooters was in the 1990s, on Windows 3.1, playing Wolfenstein 3D. My Reagan Republican father watched pretty much one channel exclusively, the History channel. When he wasn’t watching the news. On the occasions he was home. On the occasions he wasn’t busy doing something else.
My ex-wife calls it the Hitler channel. She had a different experience. One of her father figures was a neo-Nazi. He watched the History channel for a different reason.
My father is mainly educated in military and historical affairs. He spent a long time in the Navy, much longer than I did the Army or his father in the Army Air Corps.
When I was growing up, there was no moral quandary about punching Nazis. Or even killing them. Nazis and communists were basically the same thing – that is, fundamentally anti-American. My father wasn’t “Antifa.” He was pro-American. Long story short, before the age of ten I was allowed to kill Nazis in Wolfenstein 3D.
Battlefield 1942 is a top five Nazi killer.
In the early 1990s, it wasn’t politically incorrect to include depictions of the Third Reich. Especially from the angle of a POW dead set on killing as many Nazis as possible. But it seems for political reasons one of the greatest World War 2 games will not include any Nazis.
In America, though, we’re still all about killing Nazis. Really. This movie was a big hit:
Yes, I said one of the greatest. For all its historical quandaries, Battlefield is very much the best war game you can find. I like being able to use vehicles. Battlefield has always been more in-depth. Killing plays a central role in the game, but you have to work as a team to win the big points in Conquest or Rush mode.
I asked this question on Quora, and someone told me it has to do with distribution in certain countries, where it is illegal to acknowledge that the Nazis existed. Or something like that.
Like I said before, I had a relatively simplistic upbringing when it came to these issues: America good, Nazis bad, commies bad. This was long before we saw a presidential election actually swayed by far-right leaders or had a socialist caucus making so much noise.
Once upon a time, you’d be considered a serious radical for shutting down the government, even if you did it because you were intent on shrinking the budget (rather than getting certain expenditures approved).
I want to kill Nazis in video games. I want killing Nazis to be culturally acceptable. I’m not joking.
There was a time that Nazis presented a real threat to the whole world. Prior to World War II, I’m sure everyone thought such atrocities as the Holocaust were impossible. Modern Nazis often deny it ever happened.
Given one opportunity, extremists will seize every bit of power they can. It’s just in their programming. Exactly as it’s in ours to ignore them and pretend they don’t present a real threat.
The casual eroding of our civil rights under both political parties is just teeing up for the ultimate end-game. It’s only a matter of which brand of authoritarian eventually tries to rule us, and whether the corporate overlords allow it.
Being a moderate is becoming socially unacceptable.
So let’s be extremely moderate. Let’s rebuke those who embrace the most divisive aspects of their word soup. Teach our children to be suspicious of anyone with grand solutions to all of society’s problems. Illegal immigrants aren’t the only problem for this nation of immigrants. Neither are its successful entrepreneurs. Both sides are insane.
Let’s actually make America great again.
But, if you spend too much time online, it starts to feel like you can’t just support America anymore. I mean, I can’t. It’s not enough.
I wanted Marco Rubio for president. Two-plus years of pissing and moaning on Twitter haven’t convinced me this dude was any better than what the liberals offered. Libertarians were running a decent guy if I recall.
There are elected democrats who insist you must support essentially communist policies and act loudly on behalf of extreme minorities in order to be considered a “real liberal.”
All this extremism is playing hell on our cultural psyche, and makes it hard to raise children with any sense.
Kids need things simple.
Dad, what’s a Nazi?
Historically, they were a group of people who tried to kill off all the Jewish folks and take over the world. Your great-grandfather served in the military at that time. The good guys won. Today they’re a group of people who deny their predecessors ever tried to kill off all the Jewish people but use the same tactics to try and destroy your country.
Future generations need to know what the enemy looks like. In this country, they learn from video games and movies. Let’s stop denying that for a minute.
What better way than knowing what the enemy looked like in the past? Including the current past. Yes, I’m also advocating for accurate games depicting soldiers killing insurgents, terrorists, or whatever you feel like calling the people who terrorize the good people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
This country’s most sinister enemies love nothing more than division among us.
People on both “sides” (there’s only one other side: authoritarianism) thrive when we’re confused.
A “strong middle class” might be a fictitious economic point that pundits like to punt around, but it’s useful when understanding the type of values that promote a healthy society.
I think our society was healthier, and farther from collapse when there was no moral gray area on certain things.
Yes, it’s okay to punch a Nazi. Assault is a crime, so you might get arrested, but you definitely have the moral high ground, whatever the liberals and Nazi apologists have to say about it.
Yes, it’s okay to denounce communists.
Yes, it’s okay to kill terrorists in the act of terrorism, of any stripe, especially the ones who look like you.
DICE/EA, can we please kill Nazis?
Maybe you shouldn’t allow it where you legally can’t, but here in the USA, games are on par with movies as far as educating our youth.
It wasn’t Germany. It was Nazi Germany.
It wasn’t Italy. It was fascist Italy.
It wasn’t Japan. It was Imperial Japan on the warpath.
But – as long as you’re rewriting history —
Can we add a third chapter where the US turns on Russia following the surrender of Germany, and we avert a Cold War by going straight into a real one?
Then we’d get to kill Nazis and communists from an American perspective, without fast-forwarding to Korea. Now that would be the perfect game.
Note: the views expressed in this article belong solely to the author, who is not obliged to engage you in the comments, but may do so at his own discretion. They do not belong, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.com.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: May 18, 2019 10:06 UTC