The unreleased Iraq War video game Six Days In Fallujah will be released in 2021 for console and PC, with a new developer coming on to finish the original studio’s game.
Highwire Games, the studio behind the VR game Golem, is developing the new edition of Six Days in Fallujah, taking over the original work done by Atomic Games. The game was initially announced in 2009 but it was shelved amid controversy over its subject matter. The game is a first-person tactical military shooter inspired by true stories from the Second Battle for Fallujah in 2004 as part of the Iraq War.
Six Days in Fallujah is also getting a new publisher with the company Victura. This is a publishing and production company founded by former Atomic Games CEO Peter Tamte in 2006. Tamte has been trying to release Six Days in Fallujah for years, and now it’s finally happening.
Konami was originally signed on to publish Six Days in Fallujah back in 2009, but the Japanese company backed out of the deal due to the reaction to the game. According to Tamte, Konami’s American arm was on board, but the higher-ups in Japan said no.
“There were literally no disagreements between Atomic and Konami’s American team. We all saw Six Days in Fallujah the same way,” Tamte said. “It was the board of directors for Konami’s parent company in Japan who just got freaked out about the controversy.”
“After seeing the reaction to the video game in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and e-mail, we decided … not to sell it,” Konami said at the time.
British anti-war group Stop the War Coalition told media in April 2009 that making a video game based on war is reprehensible.
“To make a game out of a war crime and to capitalise on the death and injury of thousands is sick,” the group said. “There will never be a time when it is appropriate for people to ‘play’ at committing atrocities. The massacre in Fallujah should be remembered with shame and horror, not glamorized and glossed over for entertainment.”
In 2019, Dakota Meyer, the former United States Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving lives and sustaining injuries in a 2009 military operation in Afghanistan, spoke up about how war video games “romanticize” war in an unhealthy way.
“War has now been romanticized. It’s been romanticized that it’s this cool image … I hear people say I just want to go kick in doors and shoot people in the face. Well, you’ve probably never done it then. We’ve got kids playing video games of the stuff that keeps me awake at night. And it’s like, at what point do we start humanizing these things?” Meyer said.
Not all war video games are seen as glorifying battle, death, and suffering. The 2012 shooter Spec Ops: The Line tells a war story that asks the player to consider the horrific realities of war. That appears to be what the new version of Six Days in Fallujah is trying to achieve as well.
The new edition of Six Days in Fallujah is described as an “all-new game.” The team at Highwire Games is composed of former Halo and Destiny developers and talent, including Halo designer Jaime Griesemer and composer Martin O’Donnell.
Former Marine sergeant Eddie Garcia, who served in the war and was wounded during battle, originally pitched the idea for the game in 2005. He said in a statement, “War is filled with uncertainty and tough choices that can’t be understood by watching someone on a TV or movie screen make these choices for you. Video games can help all of us understand real-world events in ways other media can’t.”
More than 100 Marines, soldiers, and Iraqi civillians who were there during the battle contributed to the development of the game by sharing their stories, photos, and videos with the developers.
“The game gives these stories voice through gameplay and first-person accounts captured in original documentary interview footage,” reads a line from the game’s description. “Six Days in Fallujah aims to be the most authentic military shooter to date and to tell these military and civilian stories with the integrity they deserve.”
Tamte said in a statement, “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.”
More details on Six Days in Fallujah will be announced in the weeks ahead.
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