This year's Call of Duty: Black Ops III is not only introducing a range of new gameplay changes aiming to push the formula forward, but it will also be the first entry in the core series to feature a female playable lead character. Female soldiers for Black Ops III were first revealed in the game's announcement trailer.
GameSpot editor Chris Watters, who recently visited Treyarch's offices in Santa Monica to play the game, writes in his in-depth preview that Black Ops III represents the first game in the series that lets players choose the gender of the campaign protagonist.
Black Ops III's campaign supports co-op for up to four players, so in theory you could play through the game with a squad of four female fighters.
Campaign director Jason Blundell said Treyarch took inspiration from Mass Effect's hero Commander Shepard, a character who can be played as a male or female. The overall script for that game didn't need to change to accommodate a player's gender -- and Black Ops III's won't, either.
According to GamesRadar, Treyarch Studios head Mark Lamia described Black Ops III's story as "gender neutral." He also referenced the script for "Alien," which was originally written for a male to play the lead role before Sigourney Weaver ultimately got the part. "The emotions and dynamics between characters is kind of gender neutral," he said about Black Ops III's story.
Female playable characters came to Call of Duty in a big way with 2013's Call of Duty: Ghosts. That was first game in the series that let gamers play as a woman, though you could only do so in multiplayer mode.
For lots more on Black Ops III, check out GameSpot's in-depth hands-on preview from our visit to Treyarch's office in Santa Monica recently.