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The upcoming Battlefield V has prominently featured women in the promotional trailers and on the cover for the game. The focus has been part of Electronic Arts and DICE's efforts to cater the game to young girls, as well as to give players the customization options that they asked for in Battlefield 1. One of DICE's executives recently spoke about the inclusion of females in Battlefield games and how the team should have made the females playable and customizable in Battlefield 1 before deciding to add the feature into the upcoming first-person shooter, Battlefield V.
In an interview with GamesRadar, DICE executive producer Aleksander Grondal told the outlet that they should have added females to Battlefield 1 first...
I think it's a shame we didn't [add women in Battlefield 1], because that perhaps would've been better for us. I don't think it's a bandwagon thing, I think it's about gamers wanting to express themselves in different ways. If you take a look at Battlefield historically, it's been about expressing yourself through gameplay, solving problems the way you want to, and these characters fall perfectly in line with that thinking.
Technically speaking, Battlefield 1 did have women in the game before Battlefield V. Although, Grondal is right that Battlefield 1 didn't have customization. So, when DICE did add in the female snipers in Battlefield 1 you didn't have the option of outfitting the characters or choosing their visual appearance. But, you did play as a female in the game's campaign mode during the final chapter of the War Stories, which centered around a Middle Eastern resistance fighter who joined up with Lawrence of Arabia in the fight against the Ottomans.
However, the female soldiers weren't introduced as playable characters in the multiplayer portion of the game until the mid-2017 release of the DLC In The Name of the Tsar for the World War I shooter. The DLC added in the Russian Empire to the game, and featured new maps set in the eastern front of the war efforts. This also included variations of the Russian classes, including the Red Army versus the Russian Empire.
The cover art for the expansion featured female model Vendelali, representing one of the snipers from the Women's Battalion of Death from the Russian Empire during the first World War, which was a small unit of 5,000 soldiers who briefly served on the front and during the Russian civil war, as noted by High Snobiety.
In Battlefield 1 the female characters were relegated to class roles, though, very similar to how it was setup in Pandemic and DICE's own Star Wars: Battlefront games.
For the upcoming Battlefield V this will be the first Battlefield game that allows you to customize each class role in the game, allowing you to choose all sorts of attire, war paint, weapon loadouts, and specialty skills for the characters. DICE is calling this new feature the Company customization, as players will no longer have specified unit skins for classes, but will instead be able to choose the way each class looks in their own personal Company.
DICE has been adamant about the role of soldier customization in Battlefield V, which is something that a lot of gamers originally asked for in Battlefield 1. You'll be able to hop into the character customizer starting this October when the new Battlefield launches for home consoles and PC.