Controversial shooter Six Days in Fallujah is returning 11 years after Konami cancelled itPlatforms: All
Six Days in Fallujah was a controversial shooter set during 2004's Second Battle of Fallujah, in the Iraq War, which was cancelled by Konami in 2009 following a backlash.
The title was being developed by Atomic Games for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Atomic consulted with real US soldiers to authentically retell the battle of Fallujah from an American perspective. The battle is one of the bloodiest conflicts involving American troops since the Vietnam War. The battle has been accused of being the setting for war crimes, such as the use of white phosphorus against civilians. Shortly after the reveal, the game drew a lot of criticism before Konami dropped it.
"After seeing the reaction to the video game in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and email, we decided several days ago not to sell it," a Konami spokesperson said at the time, going on to say "we had intended to convey the reality of the battles to players so that they could feel what it was like to be there."
Now, 11 years later, Six Days in Fallujah is making a comeback as a tactical military shooter, developed by a team comprised of former Halo and Destiny makers.
Victura, founded by former Atomic Games CEO Peter Tamte, is new publishing home of the game, with Highwire Games signed on as developers. Highwire was created by Jaime Griesemer and Marty O'Donnell, who worked on Halo and Destiny games, along with Jared Noftle, who co-founded Airtight Games. The developer is said to have worked with over 100 Marines, Soldiers, and Iraqi civilians who were present.
In their announcement, Victura includes a quote from former Marine Sergeant Eddie Garcia, who was wounded in the Battle for Fallujah and proposed the original idea for the game:
"Sometimes the only way to understand what's true is to experience reality for yourself."
Atomic Games CEO Peter Tamte said the following:
"It's hard to understand what combat is actually like through fake people doing fake things in fake places. This generation showed sacrifice and courage in Iraq as remarkable as any in history. And now they're offering the rest of us a new way to understand one of the most important events of our century. It's time to challenge outdated stereotypes about what video games can be."
Using the Iraq War as the basis for a video game is like using the Vietnam War. Of course, it is doable, but it's a question of taste. These are not unambiguous conflicts of good versus evil, like games set during WW2. They come with a myriad of complications. These were wars that did not need to happen and have cost untold numbers of civilian lives.
Whether the developers' intentions are to place players in a real soldier's boots and share their unique experience, the focus on the US military perspective will skew things. You will never get an honest, complete overview of something in a game that forces a shared perspective like this.
And the fact is the shooter is entertainment first and foremost, and it is not guaranteed the artistic intent of the game is going to be picked up on by people who just want something to fill the gap between now and Battlefield 6 or the next Call of Duty.
Is 10 years really enough time for this to be a good idea?
Whether Highwire can upend all our expectations and deliver something immersive, honest and non-exploitative remains to be seen when Six Days to Fallujah launches on consoles and PC sometime in 2021.