Call of Duty: Black Ops II Adds Women and Even A Second Playable Female Character to the Franchise
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Call of Duty and other US-armed-forces-set shooter game franchises have never exactly been a font of female characters, regardless of whether they’re set in a time when women could or couldn’t serve in the armies depicted. Discussions over whether or not more women should be involved in the stories of the games often devolve in to talks about “realism,” whether having female soldiers is “realistic,” and whether “realism” is actually already present in rigorous amounts in a given video game. The Call of Duty franchise has covered a number of different eras of American history, from World War II, to the Cold War, and the modern “war on terror.” And while they’ve got a small group of female characters from French resistance fighters to Sarah Michelle Gellar (in a zombie themed map), the only playable female character in any actual CoD campaign has been Tanya Pavelovna, a sniper for the Russian army born sometime in the nineteen teens.
This week, however, developer Treyarch started to reveal more about the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops II, like how the game features a number of female npcs, and will eventually feature a playable female character.
Now bear with me here, because I couldn’t tell a screen shot of Call of Duty from one of Medal of Honor, and I’m skimming wiki pages about as fast as I can. Kotaku recently got to watch a demonstrator play through COD:BO2‘s press demo at Treyarch’s Santa Monica studios, which involved a “protracted, exuberant bit of megadestruction in the city of Los Angeles,” something that should be familiar to most gamers and movie watchers. As the playable character moved through the city, he was regularly helped out and rescued by a named female pilot, who eventually gets injured so that the player can have some fun piloting her vehicle. And when the predictable “Protect the president!” mission began, that commander in chief was, in fact, a woman. (Black Ops II begins its story in the 1980s, but ends it in 2025.)
Secondary female characters aren’t as scarse in the series as playable ones, but Mark Lamia of Treyarch confirmed to Kotaku that a playable female character was on the way for the game.
There’s a female character role in the game. Not just the President and the fighter pilot; as we’re working on characters and stories, it’s something that we wanted to do. You saw the [motion capture] demo, and while that’s not [her], there is a female character role in the game. We wanted to explore that part of storytelling.
You know, the female part. The uterus of storytelling. Sorry, I was just enjoying that turn of phrase. To be fair, Treyarch is trying to do something fundamentally different with the story of this CoD game, opening up the usually linear storyline to a more sandbox approach, with the smaller choices you make in missions affecting the story rather than simply whether you completed them or not.
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