Just as it did back in 2009, the announcement of the new version of the Iraq War game Six Days in Fallujah this week caused a stir online over its subject matter. A FAQ on the game’s website contains some responses to questions people might have regarding whether or not the US government is involved, if it’s being used as a military recruitment mechanic, and if the deaths of certain US Marines will be depicted.
The US government is not involved in the development of Six Days in Fallujah, the FAQ states, and there are no plans for the game to double as a recruiting tool officially. “The Marines, Soldiers, and Iraqi civilians who’ve helped us participated as private citizens, and the game is being financed independently,” the page says.
People wondered about these points specifically due to the involvement of Peter Tamte, the head of new publisher Victura. Tamte previously ran Six Days in Fallujah’s original developer, Atomic Games, which also created training simulations for the US military. The company was funded in part by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital firm funded by the CIA. As the FAQ says, the new game is financed independently.
Also in the FAQ, it states that a portion of the sales from Six Days in Fallujah will be donated to organizations that help service members affected by war. “Our focus will be on those whom traditional relief efforts are not yet reaching. Marines, Soldiers, and civilians who’ve helped us create the game will be deeply involved in directing these donations,” the page says.
The FAQ page goes on to state that Six Days in Fallujah will not recreate the death of any specific soldier, unless their family gives consent. The game will, however, display video interviews with real service members who speak about their experiences in the war.
You won’t always play as an American in Six Days in Fallujah, either, while there will be missions in the game where you play as an un-armed Iraqi civilian.
”Multiple countries had forces in the city, not all of which have been acknowledged publicly. Additionally, the single-player campaign includes some high-intensity stealth missions in which you play as an un-armed Iraqi civilian,” the page says.
Players will never take on the role of an insurgent, however, either in single-player or multiplayer.
The developers of Six Days in Fallujah don’t agree with the idea that video games should stay away from depicting real-life events.
“Throughout history, we’ve tried to understand our world through events that happened to somebody else,” the studio said. “Six Days in Fallujah asks you to solve these real-life challenges for yourself. We believe that trying to do something for ourselves can help us understand not just what happened, but why it happened the way it did. Video games can connect us in ways other media cannot.”
More than 100 Marines, soldiers, and Iraqi civilians spoke with the developers to share their experiences, including a corporal who was on the ground kicking down doors and the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq.
“Based on their stories, we’ve invested more than three years building technologies to explore specific parts of the combat experience more realistically than other games have so far,” the studio said. “We hope that participating in these real-life ‘moments of truth’ will give each of us a new perspective into events that have already shaped so much of our century. Perhaps now, more than ever, the best way to understand what’s actually true is by experiencing reality–for ourselves.”
Six Days in Fallujah’s creative director, former senior Halo developer Jaime Griesemer, said on Twitter that the stories in Six Days in Fallujah are worth being told. His comment came in response to a former soldier on Twitter who said they have PTSD and would not be able to play the game due to the trauma of it.
“The stories are worth being told, and our medium can tell them in a unique and powerful way. Although the realism may well be too much for you and I would encourage you to be cautious,” Griesemer said.
The stories are worth being told, and our medium can tell them in a unique and powerful way. Although the realism may well be too much for you and I would encourage you to be cautious.
— Jaime Griesemer (@32nds) February 11, 2021
Six Days in Fallujah is scheduled to release in late 2021 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, as well as last-gen consoles.
The game was originally canceled in 2009 by its then-publisher, Konami, which said the subject matter was too controversial. You can read more about the game’s history in GameSpot’s feature about it.
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