ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – One of the main characters in the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to be released on October 25, 2019, is inspired by female Kurdish commanders in Syria.
The highly-anticipated game gives players point-of-view control through a fictional character named Farah Karim, “a Middle Eastern woman and battle-scarred warrior who has been fighting for survival since childhood,” reports the LA Times.
Karim was inspired by the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), which fight under the umbrella of the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF). So far, no footage has been released of the new female protagonist.
Taylor Kurosaki, who headed the story creation for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, told the Hollywood Reporter that his team made an effort to learn a great deal about female Kurdish fighters.
“We did a lot of research specifically into a group of militia fighters called the YPJ who operate in Syria and Iraq. These are mostly all-female fighting forces who have decided that picking up a weapon and fighting for what they believe in is the best way for them to move forward.”
“These women are so incredibly resilient and brave to go out on a battlefield where the enemy is targeting them specifically,” he added, “because for the enemy to be killed by one of these women in battle is the most dishonorable way to be killed.”
“It just felt like that is a more complete definition of ‘modern warfare.’”
The game is set in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Urzikstan. As the story unfolds, Karim’s hometown is attacked by the Russian army with drones and nerve gas, and Karim takes down a Russian soldier with a screwdriver and later becomes a fierce warrior.
In real life, the YPJ has mainly fought against the Islamic State and other Islamist rebel groups, not the Russian military.
Kurdish female fighters of the YPJ played a key role in the fight against the Islamic State after the extremist group attacked and besieged the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani in September 2014. Their brutal rule in the city was ended in January 2015.
Moreover, YPJ fighters also took significant part in the defense of the region of Afrin last year when it was occupied by Turkey and Turkish-backed militias in March 2018.
According to Infinity Ward, the company that originally created the Call of Duty franchise, the goal of the new game is to “create an all-new experience that takes players on a powerful journey that reflects the battlefield today.”
The game is heavily inspired by some of the events in Iraq, Syria, the so-called Arab Spring, and further back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
It’s not the first game development process that has been heavily inspired by Kurdish female fighters.
The game Metal Gear Solid had a Kurdish female sniper from the Kurdistan Region 20 years ago. In the game's storyline, she witnessed the gassing of her relatives and friends by the Iraqi regime during the genocidal Anfal campaign in the late 1980s.
Initially, one also entitled Insurgency Sandstorm released for PC in 2018 had a plan to feature a single-player campaign in which players assume the role of a Kurdish Yezidi (Ezidi) female fighter who had previously been enslaved by Islamic State fighters in Iraq.
The lead game designer, however, later announced that the single player and cooperative storyline had been canceled for release but will be considered again at a later date.
As a result, the multi-player game still features female fighters, but not as part of a greater storyline in which Kurds play a primary part.
Editing by John J. Catherine