Six Days in Fallujah was so controversial when Konami first proposed it that the developers abandoned it. Now the video game capturing the experience of war will debut on the consoles and PC in 2021.
Nobody wanted to publish the game in 2009 after veterans and others opposed to the war in Iraq protested the very idea of the game. But after more than a decade of time passing, game developers are going to give it a try again and publish the title this year. It’s going to walk the same line that we saw with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare about how realistic war video games should be.
The game is a tactical military shooter based on the real-world events that took place in the Second Battle for Fallujah in 2004, when Western soldiers had to clear out an Al Qaeda stronghold after the group seized one of Iraq’s major cities. It was a street-by-street, house-by-house battle, and it was very bloody.
The Seattle-based game companies Victura and Highwire Games announced they have revived the game based on contributions from veterans of the battle. The team has developers who worked on games such as Halo and Destiny in the past. They have good reputations, but they will test where the line is on decorum when it comes to making violent video games about real events.
The original controversy
Originally announced by Atomic Games in 2009, Six Days in Fallujah returns with a new publisher, new developer, and an all-new game. But it still has some of original leaders involved, as well as some leaders of the team that, while at Bungie, created the original Halo and Destiny games.
“Sometimes the only way to understand what’s true is to experience reality for yourself,” said former Marine Sergeant Eddie Garcia, who was wounded during the Battle for Fallujah and proposed the original idea for Six Days in Fallujah in 2005, 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.”
The Second Battle for Fallujah began in 2004 after Al Qaeda seized control of one of Iraq’s major cities. The battle proved to be the toughest military conflict for Western forces since 1968.
Coalition forces suffered a total of 107 killed and 613 wounded during Operation Phantom Fury. U.S. forces had 54 killed and 425 wounded in the initial attack in November, 2004. The casualty number later rose to 95 killed and 560 wounded.
Revived by veterans
Atomic Games announced Six Days in Fallujah in 2009, but it abandoned it after the controversy about the ability of video games to cover challenging real-world events. Peter Tamte, the former CEO of Atomic Games, set up Victura, a publishing and production company in 2016. His aim was to revive the game based on true stories.
The team worked with U.S. Marines and other soldiers who fought in the Battle for Fallujah. Victura and Highwire have spent more than three years building unique technologies and game mechanics that bring players closer to the uncertainty and tactics of modern combat than other video games have explored, the developers said.
More than 100 Marines, soldiers, and Iraqi civilians who were present during the Second Battle for Fallujah have shared their personal stories, photographs, and video recordings with the development team.
It gives these stories voice through gameplay and first-person accounts captured in original documentary interview footage. 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, the team said.
“It’s hard to understand what combat is actually like through fake people doing fake things in fake places,” said Tamte in a statement. “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.”
Six Days in Fallujah will launch for PC and consoles in 2021. Victura will announce more details about Six Days in Fallujah in the coming weeks. The team wrote a letter about why it’s important for the game to be made.
Highwire Games is a small team of veteran game developers with a proven record of creative vision and disciplined, high-quality production. Highwire was created by Jaime Griesemer, who was lead designer for the original Halo and Destiny games, Marty O’Donnell, who was audio director and composer for Halo and Destiny, and Jared Noftle, who cofounded Airtight Games and has more than 20 years in the industry. They have more than 30 people.
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