‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’: Female soldiers join online multiplayer ranks

Aug. 14, 2013 | 3:53 p.m.
"Call of Duty: Ghosts" is bringing female characters to multiplayer. (Infinity Ward / Activision)

“Call of Duty: Ghosts” is bringing female characters to multiplayer. (Infinity Ward / Activision)

Infinity Ward and Activision unveiled a host of online multiplayer features this morning for the latest entry in the “Call of Duty” franchise, but one of the most surprising had to do not with a weapon or co-op mode, but with the gender of a character,

At the conclusion of a new trailer for this November’s “Call of Duty: Ghosts” — the clip features a previously unreleased song from Eminem — a sniper levels a gas station. Cut to a close-up of the previously unseen soldier’s face and, in a rarity for the “Call of Duty” franchise, the shooter is shown to be a woman.

Female characters have cropped up from time to time in the “Call of Duty” series, but never before in what’s long been a boys-character-only club of online multiplayer. It’s a second “first” when it comes to characters for “Call of Duty: Ghosts” — Infinity Ward and Activision previously showed off a combat-ready canine created for the game.

When it comes to adding women to “Call of Duty’s” multimillion-strong multiplayer modes, “it’s something that we’ve gotten tons of requests for and it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Eric Hirshberg, who oversees the “Call of Duty” franchise for Activision Publishing.

So then what took so long?

In an interview, Infinity Ward’s Mark Rubin, the studio lead for “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” said the change required a full overhaul of “Call of Duty’s” customization features. Previously, he said, what a player looked like in the multiplayer game was largely randomized.

“It wouldn’t have made sense to do it unless we had character customization,” Rubin said. “When we started down the path of character customization, it was instantly about getting females into the game. That adds a lot of extra work. Not only do you have to create female characters, but you have to rig them differently. We had to motion-capture differently. We couldn’t use our guy animation on a girl, so it became a big thing.”

With “Ghosts,” players will have more than 20,000 customization options when it comes to building a character. Not only will they have the option of creating a female character, they will also have the chance to play as a non-white character.

Rubin said he hopes a more open-armed approach to race and gender will attract more players to “Call of Duty: Ghosts.”

“We really feel a big part of who this hits is the casual market,” he said. “The casual market, we thought, would be more interested in being engaged with who they are, whereas the hardcore players are more engaged in focusing on the competition. The casual player, which is the vast majority of our audience, we think will really be engaged in being able to create who they look like and who they are, including race and gender.”

“Call of Duty” message boards are filled with players asking why they have been unable to play as a female character online. Rubin suggested today that the game needed to do a better job of reflecting its audience.

“It was something we pushed for and the main reason is that our audience is so broad,” he said. “It’s so vast. It made so much sense to try and include everybody as much as possible. We talked to a lot of girl gamer fans, and the community is growing and growing and growing. This is not a ‘guy’ thing anymore.”

“Call of Duty: Ghosts” is out for multiple platforms Nov. 5, but Activision’s Hirshberg had one early review of the game’s new female characters.

“She looked badass, didn’t she?” he said.

– Todd Martens | @toddmartens

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex


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15 Responses to ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’: Female soldiers join online multiplayer ranks

  1. Desiree says:

    As a girl gamer I think it's awesome, won't necessarily be a "game changer" but still a nice option to have. Hopefully the game will be fun and not get old after playing for a few months and dealing with campers.

    • JJ says:

      campers will always be there in every game — and everyone once in awhile camps its just part of the game . Just gotta be good at finding them before they find you.

  2. Maxwell says:

    Because this is something that was holding Call of Duty back.

    If only they had female special operators, just like they don't in the real world, then all the other CODs would have done so poorly in sales….

    • @Lindazilla says:

      Yes, because being realistic in CoD is so very important. Like .. how if you die in the game, that's it – you're done. No respawning. Or how there are ammo stashes everywhere that magically resupply your weapon. Or how just when you need a shoulder rocket, one magically appears on the ground .. RIGHT NEXT TO YOU! Yep. Totally real world.

  3. Cale says:

    Why haven’t there been female characters online? Because women aren’t allowed in combat arms units.

    • araceli says:

      We have been in Infantry units…and sent forward to combat zones…but not "officially"

    • vexxa says:

      From the Hill.

      "The Pentagon is planning to open the ranks of the Navy SEALs, the Army's elite Ranger units and other specialized combat outfits to female soldiers for the first time, according to reports.

      The first opportunity female soldiers will have to join the military's elite combat units will be with the Navy, according to Pentagon plans outlining the transition, obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

      Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel could officially announce plans to expand access to those units as soon as Tuesday, according to the AP."

      That is the elite combat units. Women have been serving in war scenarios ON the front lines since the Gulf War. I know, I was in Iraq on the 31st parallel during the Gulf War.

  4. Jenny says:

    I'm so excited for this!! :D I can't wait to play as a girl!! I've been hoping that the COD people would bring this to the game for a while now! My girl is going to look like such a badass too lol

  5. Abi says:

    They created a 'combat ready canine' before a female player. Seriously?! A dog is considered a less risky playable character than a woman? Some of the comments are complaining that a woman in a special ops unit is unrealistic, but I don't see them making the same claims about the dog! O_o

  6. purdicus says:

    "Casual" gamers… That's a really condescending way of saying excluded/ignored gamers. They're not committed to the game because the game devs are not committed to them.

  7. SpikedYum says:

    You know what I hate? People are comenting on this saying it shouldn't be in here because you can now "shoot women"…Oh, so shooting men is all ok, but shooting women in video games is wrong? What complete sexist dribble.
    I prefer games that give both gender character models, I think it's fair for the female gender (or male gender) in games that have a default specific-gender.

    But seriously, it irritates the crap out of me that people are saying it shouldn't be allowed because seeing women get shot is "sad to see"…As if to say male life is less than female life.

    Just for that, I am going on a female character only shooting spree in the game for the first day. >:)

  8. sara says:

    I’m so pumped! This is freaking awesome I’ve played for like 8 years or longer and I’ve always wanted them to make it where we could have girl avatar.. cause it gets kinda weird making my man avatar get kissed and tea bagged by another man….lmao bout time cod pples do something rite now if they can ban all the hacks we will be great ;)

  9. Vexxa says:

    About time. CODBO2 has a 20% female gamer population rate. Either that, or a lot of guys like to have girlie sounding PS2 account names… Either way, kudos to Infinite Ward. Hoping other large game development studios take note. Boys aren't the only ones who like to play video games.

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