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Escape from Tarkov dev says no playable women because of lore, "huge amount of work" required

Statement made in an effort to walk back three-year-old comment that war was only for "hardened men"

Battlestate Games has stated that it will not be adding playable women to its first-person shooter, Escape from Tarkov, due to the "huge amount of work" it says is required to implement them.

The statement was made in response to the recent resurfacing of a 2016 interview in which one of the developers, Pavel Dyatlov, gave a very different reason for the lack of playable women in the game (which was unreleased at the time). At the end of the interview with Wccftech Dyatlov was asked about playable female characters, and said that while the studio had considered them, they "came to the conclusion that women are not allowed to be in the war."

When pressed by the interviewer on the fact that women are involved in real-world combat scenarios, Dyatlov continued:

"I can agree with you and we discussed it for a very long time, but we came to the conclusion that women can't handle that amount of stress. There's only place for hardened men in this place."

The Wccftech interview was re-circulated on social media recently due to a sudden surge in Tarkov's popularity with some help from a recent Twitch event. In response to criticism for the 2016 stance taken by Dyatlov, Battlestate issued a statement on its official Twitter separating itself from the expressed views.

"Regarding the 3 years old article with points about women in EFT," the tweet reads. "The answers were done by one, not a key BSG employee which probably were misinterpreted and as a result didn't reflect the official position of the company, that we always respected women in wars and military women.

"The employee was reprimanded and properly instructed. We are sorry for caused confusion."

However, when numerous replies asked if this meant Escape from Tarkov would eventually see playable women, Battlestate held firm that it would not be adding them, offering a different explanation:

"First - there are women in EFT already (trader, some future key storyline quests will have women as main characters).

"But there will be no playable female characters because of game lore and more importantly - the huge amount of work needed with animations, gear fitting etc."

A similar argument was made back in 2014 when Ubisoft technical director James Therien said the lack of playable women in Assassin's Creed: Unity was a "reality of game development" and that putting a playable woman in the game would have "doubled the work" in areas like character animation and costumes. These remarks also sparked criticism at the time.

The following year, Ubisoft let players choose between either the female Evie Frye or her twin brother Jacob Frye for a significant portion of the missions in Assassin's Creed Syndicate. And in 2018, Ubisoft released Assassin's Creed Odyssey with the ability for players to choose between female protagonist Kassandra or her brother Alexios for the entire game.

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Latest comments (2)

Misogynist comment from the dev and apparently the company does not care about inclusion at the situation is the same three years later.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 4 months ago
I've been searching for this game lore that precludes women as playable characters and it appears to be "Well, there's fighting and stuff".

Just over 10% of the UK's armed forces are women. It's not a huge number but they're there, because when we invented guns, we removed most of the "extreme physical strength" requirements for soldiery. Hell, even the vikings, who used very heavy weaponry and thus DID need to be very strong, included women warriors in their warbands and raiding parties.

If more war games included playable women, if more movies and TV shows did the same, more women would probably consider the military as a career option in the same way that men do. That lack of example means that it takes a very special set of circumstances for a girl to grow up wanting to join the military, while it is very commonly seen as an option for men.

In particular, the military is a powerful choice for men who live in areas where there are simply no viable career options (and the armed forces have taken measures to ensure that those who have no prospects when they join, have potential employers begging on bended knee when they leave).

For girls in the same circumstances, the fallback position is instead to have a lot of babies. This is where those families of 15-20 children, whose mother is barely in her thirties, come from. And in a country overpopulated by 60 million, in a world overpopulated by 7 billion, this isn't good.

And while I'd rather live in a world where we didn't have to ask anyone to kill or die for us, and am adamantly opposed to ever forcing ANYONE to do that, as it doesn't seem likely to change any time soon, I'd rather the people we place at risk weren't JUST men. Especially not when the main reason there aren't more women in the armed forces is "I never thought of signing up. I never saw it as an option."

And yes, we in games really ARE in a position to change that.
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