With the next major entry in the Call of Duty franchise being set in World War II, the development team at Sledgehammer Games had to figure out how they would handle depicting both Nazi iconography such as swastikas as well as female soldiers on the Axis side in their latest shooter.
Talking to Eurogamer at E3, Sledgehammer Games Co-Founder Michael Condrey said that while swastikas will be visible during the single-player campaign, they will not be included in the game’s multiplayer.
In campaign, we need to balance the authenticity with the respect for the fact 100 million people died in the darkest days of humanity. So, you will see the swastika in the campaign, using our military historian to make sure it’s authentic, tasteful and respectful.
But in our global community of multiplayer and zombies players, we’ve chosen deliberately not to include that. We want the community to play together. We want to be respectful of local customs and laws around the world. And frankly it’s a dark symbol with a lot of emotion behind it we don’t feel matches our multiplayer experience.
As for female soldiers on the Axis side, Condrey explained that while they will not be present in the single-player campaign, players can choose to play as female soldiers even if they’re on the Axis side of the match.
Multiplayer is this gritty, immersive experience, but it’s also about putting you – this is about you – in World War 2. And so, that evolution of your character means it’s important for us to allow you to choose to be you, and to have a hero that represents who you are, whomever you choose that to be.
So, if you’re a female, or you want to play as a female, if you want to be any one of the multinational cast of characters to represent who you are, to look up to and respect as your avatar, we want to give you that opportunity.
Now, the challenge there, which is real, is half the time you’ll be playing on the Axis team. That was a decision we made intentionally. We want it to be you and we’re willing to have you be you, no matter what side of the conflict you’re on.
I’ll come right through the front door on it: we know that didn’t happen in the German forces. We know there was a lot of racism and racial tension in the 40s, so you wouldn’t have a black German soldier fighting next to the other Germans. We want this to be about you. We’re not making a statement about the authenticity of the Axis force. We’re making this about putting you in this social space and you into your soldier. And we want that to be rewarding and meaningful. I don’t want it to be our decision to force you away from your character into playing a German soldier, just because we put you on the Axis team.
Call of Duty: WWII is scheduled for release on November 3, 2017, for the PlayStation 4 and other platforms.