Dice have announced that the next DLC for Battlefield 1 will focus on the Russian front of the European Theatre of War, and that female soldiers will feature prominently. The critically acclaimed WW1 shooter was awarded Best Action Game of the year at the Game Critics Awards 2016, and it’s remained popular with players post-release. EA and Dice have been determined to maintain that hype by supporting players with plenty of downloadable content, beginning with the expansion “They Shall Not Pass” which focused heavily on the French Resistance.
Now Battlefield 1 is shifting its perspective to the cold Eastern Front where German forces clashed with the Russians – including the aptly named 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death.
Dice revealed the following on Twitter, announcing the release date of their next DLC “In The Name of The Tsar” as June 10th. More information is coming at EA Play where the DLC expansion will be made available to players, but Dice did tease a new Russian Scout class specifically linked to the Women’s Battalion of Death.
The image immediately came in for controversy with some claiming that the presence of female soldiers is historically inaccurate. According to a former coder at Dice, playable female avatars were removed from the original Battlefield 1 plans out of concern for just such a backlash. It was thought that the core audience of the game would reject this feature as too much of a deviation from reality, and while many Twitter users fell into this trend, many others were quick to point out that women did fight during WW1 – particularly on the Russian Front.
The Russian Provisional Government formed 15 women’s battalions in 1917 which were comprised of over 5,000 women. Both the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death and the Perm Battalion were deployed to the front where they fought the Germans in traditional trench warfare alongside male soldiers. Dice will be focusing on the Battalion of Death, which became renowned for its courageous soldiers who were instrumental in the final Russian offensive of WW1. Ironically, these brave women were resented for their tenacity by their male compatriots, who were already weary from years of fighting and had largely resigned themselves to a lengthy retreat.
The political background to the forming of these women’s battalions and their actions during the war are fascinating subjects worthy of exploration, and perfectly suited to one of Battlefield 1‘s vignette-style story modes. Yet the inclusion of female avatars could purely be an aesthetic decision, with the women of the Battalion of Death serving simply as new character models for multiplayer modes. Dice hasn’t insinuated that “In the Name of the Tsar” will release with a new story mode and after “They Shall Not Pass” didn’t, it’s unlikely that players will experience the full potential of their new characters. The new DLC is certain to include an array of new map sets, classes, vehicles, weapons, and customization skins, with more to come in the final two expansions, respectively titled: “Turning Tides” and “Apocalypse“.
Battlefield 1 is available now for PS4 and PS4 Pro, Xbox One, and PC.