New Call of Duty gives players proper non-binary option – and the most toxic of gamers are reacting exactly as you’d expect
Are you non-binary? Have you always dreamt that, one day, you could serve Ronald Reagan and join the American military-industrial complex and carry out war crimes?
If that sounds pretty neat to you, then now’s your chance. In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, players now have the option to – in a first for the series’ single-player mode – choose their gender, which includes a non-binary option.
It comes after early reveals of the video game in August by publisher giant Activision revealed that users eager to play as imperialist war-hungry killers could list their custom character’s gender as male, female, or, er, “classified”.
The move sparked a grab bag of reaction from LGBT+ gamers, who wondered why Black Ops couldn’t just provide a dedicated non-binary option.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War adds non-binary option after ‘classified’ gender category is mocked online.
The game’s creative director initially sought to clarify during a VentureBeat roundtable that, no, this wasn’t a gender-neutral option, but a way for users to play as the “mysterious, shadowy Black Ops character they want to be”.
After the fallout, it appears that following the game’s official release last Friday (13 November), developers have kept the wonkily worded “classified” but added a non-binary option alongside of it.
But because men are men, right-wing gamers took aim at Call of Duty, levelling it as “left-wing propaganda”.
This is despite the literal fact the instalment lets you, a CIA agent, freely fire rockets into Vietnamese farming villages while serving Reagan, the US president who reacted appallingly to the AIDS epidemic in 1981.
Yes, how very left-wing!
Trump supporter and journalist Ian Miles Cheong amplified the anger, tweeting: “I don’t think there were ‘non-binary’ people in the 1980s, Call of Duty.”
I don't think there were "non-binary" people back in the 1980s, Call of Duty. pic.twitter.com/ue4TWFsC7f
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 13, 2020
Yes, because if there’s ever a video game series known for its acute historical accuracy, as there are literal zombies in Black Ops, and realism – such as players being shot in the face and recovering within minutes – it’s Call of Duty.
As a result, countless LGBT+ users poked fun at just how odd and conflicting the situation is. A leap in inclusivity in video games with a game that has you serve a president who referred to AIDS as the “gay plague”, all the while right-wing users ring out in reaction.
Is this what these "gamers" are up in arms about?
Picking "non-binary" as your gender on a report card in a Call of Duty game set in a wildly exaggerated version of the Cold War, full of "free world" vs "evil reds" propaganda & shrouded in toxic machismo?
Holy hell you people. pic.twitter.com/8SsYSdzKFY
— Ghassan ?? (@MiloshTheMedic) November 14, 2020
I was really about to buy the new Call of Duty, but how am I supposed to enjoy my red-scare American propaganda CIA War Crimes simulator if it's going to get political by adding Non-Binary options in it
— Matt Gustin (@Mattchu_0) November 15, 2020
People: Call of Duty is a glorification of the American war machine and propaganda for its crimes
COD: Yeah but what if you could be non-binary
People: Oh shit, sign me the fuck up for war crimes Mr Reagan
— Lily Simpson (@ProfessorGutian) November 14, 2020
I sexually identify as classified. My pronouns have been redacted for national security reasons. https://t.co/UEtnblile7
— Chris Hegeman (@zealot_guy) November 16, 2020
“Non-binary” was invented in 1991 when John non-binary decided two wasn’t enough https://t.co/ABCMIhHcal
— gaywad (@Lubiuxio) November 16, 2020
It’s Call of Duty, not the history channel. Zombies didn’t exist back then either while we’re at it https://t.co/gg4TkXiNla
— Dip (@Driptojyoti) November 15, 2020