In 2009, developers Atomic Games and publishers announced Konami Six Days In Fallujah, a third-person shooter based on a real battle five years earlier in the then-ongoing Iraq war. This turned out to be controversial for several reasons, enough that Konami soon dropped the game and Atomic eventually scrapped it. Well, it’s coming back. In a way. A “brand new” Six Days In Fallujah was announced today, now an FPS and is both made and published by various companies. Hu h. Trailer is below.
As before, the game is based on part of 2004̵
It adds: “Over 100 Marines, soldiers and Iraqi civilians present during the Second Battle of Fallujah have shared their personal stories, photographs and videos with the development team.” In addition to these shapes the game, they say that someone will be present as documentary interviews.
This time, SDIF is released by Victura, the new company of former Atomic CEO Peter Tamte – so it’s a connection. The developers are now Highware Games, a studio featuring several former Bungie people, including composer Marty O’Donnell and designer Jaime Griesemer. It’s pretty weird to see this come back after so many years. The SDIF website has a page titled simply WHY.
It states that “just because this war was controversial does not mean that it was not filled with remarkable stories of sacrifice and courage. However, it has prevented many of these stories from being told.” It goes on to blame the original death on people who “believe that video games should not deal with events in reality” and who think “video games seem more like toys than a medium capable of communicating something insightful.”
Tabloid media such as the Daily Mail and Fox News certainly caused controversy and suggested that this was an insult to the memories of the soldiers who died. I imagine that’s a big part of why Konami dropped it. On the flip side, it was controversial for others to make a video game about the attackers in a continuing war that had used misinformation, jingoism and Islamophobia to justify invasion, murder, torture and war crimes. And some criticism was not doubt in video games as a medium as much as doubt in this specific game.
After all, talking about authenticity did not create a demo that was shown to the press that impression. My former Shacknews colleague Nick Breckon (hey Nick!) Reported that he saw soldiers raining explosives like Rambo and pulling bullets by regenerating in cover like Marcus Fenix. If this was an important story to tell, the demo did not seem to do so in a way that did not suggest that the war was also cool. It certainly did not help that Konami tried to divert controversy by saying “At the end of the day, it’s just a game.” Konami dropped the game three weeks later.
For what it’s worth, you shared old SDIF dev Nathan Cheever’s experiences working on it in 2018. He thought the game was misunderstood by the media. He went on to become the leading world designer of Mafia 3, a game that does not shy away from racism as a black veteran returned from the Vietnam War.
I know that video games can handle complex and sensitive events in real life. I’m skeptical that this one will pull it off.
Six Days In Fallujah will be launched in 2021 on PC and consoles. Maybe really this time.