Why female soldiers are now in Call of Duty

Infinity Ward producer Mark Rubin says technical limitations for character customization kept female characters out of past Call of Duty games; women and men will be same size in Ghosts.

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Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward has explained why female soldiers are only now coming to the franchise's popular multiplayer mode in this fall's Call of Duty: Ghosts.

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"A lot of it was the engine," executive producer Mark Rubin told Kotaku in a new interview. "Our previous engine would not handle that. The way memory worked in the previous engine, it never would have been able to do that."

When Rubin says "that," he means the engine's ability to power a multiplayer map made up of characters with custom appearances, including being a female. Players will have over 20,000 possible combinations for their characters, including heads, body types, equipment, and gender.

"When we got a chance to re-tool the engine completely, that gave us the opportunity to make the change that we could have character customization," Rubin said. "That then gave us the opportunity to do female characters."

Gamers won't need to be worried about female characters appearing smaller than their male counterparts in Call of Duty: Ghosts, as men and women will be the same size. There will be no inherent competitive advantage to playing a female character, Rubin said.

"Even on the female characters, we can't make them smaller," Rubin said. "They have to have gear on them that makes them the same size as male players. We need to be fair. It has to be fair from a gameplay standpoint. They might look differently, but they'll fill the same area so that your hit-boxes aren't out of whack."

Blockbuster shooter franchises like Halo and Gears of War also support playable female characters in multiplayer.

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