Editor of the Santa Clara
September 28, 2017
Each fall, video game enthusiasts worldwide share the anticipation of numerous big-name titles set to be released through the end of the year. One game in particular garnering much of the hype is Activision’s “Call of Duty: WWII” (Nov. 3).
After steering away from its original “boots on the ground” brilliance, the series’ popularity rapidly dissipated, resulting in sales cut a third of what they once were. Now, in a desperate attempt to correct its faltering course, Call of Duty is betting on fans’ nostal- gia and returning to World War II.
Consumers were left salivating after a reveal trailer was released back in April. Now, as Nov. 3 rapidly approaches, appetites have only grown as in-depth story previews and betas have given a more thorough sneak-peek into what awaits.
The graphics look exceptional, the script- writing seems on par with blockbuster mov- ies and rumored cameos include Pittsburgh Steelers Alejandro Villanueva and Le’Veon Bell. Everything about this game sets itself up for success.
However, some seemingly minor aspects have caught the attention of myself and many others in a big way.
Those behind “Call of Duty: WWII” claim it will be historically accurate, basing its cam- paign on the famous 1st Infantry Division’s brave and bloody fight across the European Theater. The multiplayer mode, however, ap- pears to do away with history altogether. Sup- posedly trying to integrate all demographics of its fan base, Activision and Sledgehammer Games (the game’s developer) have chosen to allow players to customize both the looks and gender of their virtual soldiers, no matter the country they’re supposed to represent. It’s a move that sounds benign until put into perspective. The most poignant example, as far as I’ve seen, is the ability to customize a German soldier to resemble a black man or woman.
In doing so, Activision and Sledgehammer have apparently placed more value on the player’s ability to customize the game rather than representing history. Unlike past Call of Duty games which have incorporated a wider range of gender and race, the newest edition is supposed to be based on history–not making people feel included.
I understand that the intention behind producing a game is to generate sales, but placing a black man or woman in a Nazi uni- form—meant to represent a fascist group of white supremacists—is not only inaccurate, it’s insulting. Blacks, as well as others who did not t the Aryan appearance in Germany and the territories it occupied during WWII, were incarcerated, discriminated against and persecuted. To allow someone to choose this as a playable option diminishes any sort of value that “inclusion” supposedly provides.
A line must be drawn at some point not only in video games, but in Hollywood and other forms of media as well. Representing World War II (as well as other events) as a sort of politically correct event is irresponsible, especially on a platform as massive as Call of Duty’s. It gives people, especially those who are young, a false notion of what really took place during the most devastating conflict in human history.
Inclusiveness is no doubt valuable, but giving it precedent over historical fact is nothing more than imprudent.
John Brussa is a junior management major and editor of the Opinion section.