After design director Dan Berlin brushed off the negative criticisms aimed at Battlefield V as people who were still interested in the game, some gamers still trudged onward hoping that things might get better. But then Electronic Arts’ CCO, Patrick Soderlund, took things a step further by indicating that if people didn’t accept their historical revision of World War II, they shouldn’t buy the game. Well, now the moderators of the Battlefield sub-reddit have gone even further yet, enacting widespread censorship of even discussing the historical accuracy of Battlefield V.
The #GamerGate spin-off debate sub-reddit called GGDiscussion, spotted the news that was posted by the moderatos on June 14th, 2018 [backup]. The thread was started by moderator sloth_on_meth, claiming that they were not being paid by Electronic Arts or DICE, and that they are not being controlled by Electronic Arts or DICE.
Sloth_on_meth’s post stated…
“We’re done, its over. New rule: No more bitching about historical accuracy, it’s a game, not a history book. Violatons will have consequences.
“[…] we get that y’all have valid criticism about battlefield V and the customisation options within the game. Sadly, this subreddit has proven to be unable to have a civil discussion about these things without devolving into name calling and slapfights.
“[…] Hate us all you want but we’re done with this bullshit. This issue has been discussed in a million threads but we’ve never been brigaded more than we have in the past months. Admins can only keep up with so much. We’re done wasting our time on this, every point has been made, no you’re not sexists or whatever, but this is just repetitive now.”
Essentially, people who attempt to discuss or criticize the game on this point will face the “consequences”.
The mods did, however, offer an olive branch in the form of a containment thread.
Sub-reddit goers are encouraged to stay within the thread and keep it “civil” when discussing both customization and historical accuracy of Battlefield V. Many of the complaints are actually quite reasonable, bringing up how there is a lot of bizarre non-soldier customization gear and street clothes on display that gamers felt took away from the immersion of the battle. Others pointed out that it would be a lot more difficult to identify classes when everyone is dressed bizarrely.
Ultimately, the conversation being weeded out of the main Battlefield sub-reddit means that people will be limited in how they critique the game, lest they fall under the wrath of a banhammer.
Of course, this does bring rise to some questions about criticizing Battlefield V: What happens when someone criticizes a weapon or a uniform that isn’t correct? Will that fall under the topic of historical accuracy and warrant a ban?
What happens when someone criticizes the way planes fly or the way tanks handle compared to their real-life counterparts? Will that fall under the historical accuracy topic and warrant a ban?
What about criticizing the locations and how they’re depicted? If people compare them to real life locations does that fall under the historical accuracy topic and warrant a ban?
A lot of the reasons people like era-based games is because they enjoy some of the historical elements of it. By censoring the community from dissecting, criticizing, or disagreeing with the way history is being presented in Battlefield V, does it not mean that this is less about enjoying the game and more about pushing a specific kind of sociopolitical viewpoint?
Many of the denizens of the sub-reddit are rather livid at the policy, with VValtherB passionately writing…
“Again, this is a video game and it’s impact is limited, but this speaks to a larger phenomena in our society where if you don’t agree with the established status quo you are silenced and de-platformed. History may not be important to battlefield, but it is important to understand how catastrophic institutional control of beliefs and opinions can be to a society, and reddit is certainly a de facto society.
“Noam Chomsky has said ‘if we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.’ I hope we can try to return to a place where we are willing to allow others to speak, even if we fundamentally disagree with their perspective.”
While the Battlefield sub-reddit has almost universally agreed that censoring the topic matter is in bad taste, the opposite is happening in the SocJus community, which is notorious for enforcing the ecumenical doctrines of the Intersectional Inquisition. Kotaku’s community, for instance, are actually siding with the mods insofar that they believe the Battlefield community should not be allowed to heavily criticize the historical accuracy of Battlefield V.
What most seem to ignore is that it was part of EA and DICE’s marketing campaign to promote Battlefield V as a historically immersive game. Rightfully so, gamers were expecting something like Call of Duty: WW2 but even more immersive and realistic, but what they ended up with was a black European with a samurai sword and Nordic face paint, while a red-headed British woman with a robotic prosthetic lead the charge on the frontlines.
At this point the Battlefield community is highly fractured, and there’s a group of gamers already trending the #NotMyBattlefield slogan across the YouTube videos and on social media. At this point it doesn’t look like EA and DICE should expect Battlefield V to head into its October release for PC, PS4, or Xbox One with strong launch-day sales.
(Thanks for the news tip WisdomCube2000)