Nearly a month after distancing itself from political statements, the publisher of the controversial military shooter Six Days in Fallujah has backtracked and now says the events in the game are “inseparable from politics.” The game, which takes place during the Iraq War’s Second Battle of Fallujah, has come under scrutiny for seemingly portraying a US-centric focus on a campaign in which an estimated 800 Iraqi civilians were killed, according to the Red Cross.
“We understand the events recreated in Six Days in Fallujah are inseparable from politics,” publisher Victura said in a statement on Twitter. “We believe the stories of this generation’s sacrifices deserve to be told by the Marines, Soldiers, and civilians who were there,” Victura’s statement continued. “We trust you will find the game — like the events it recreates — to be complex.”
The statement follows comments from Victura’s founder and CEO Peter Tamte about how one of the goals of Six Days in Fallujah is to help players empathize with the decisions American troops made during the war and not “make a political commentary.” Tamte, in an interview with Polygon, said:
“For us as a team, it is really about helping players understand the complexity of urban combat. It’s about the experiences of that individual that is now there because of political decisions. And we do want to show how choices that are made by policymakers affect the choices that [a Marine] needs to make on the battlefield. Just as that [Marine] cannot second-guess the choices by the policymakers, we’re not trying to make a political commentary about whether or not the war itself was a good or a bad idea.”
The game uses a mix of military shooter gameplay and documentary segments to tell its story, based on information from “26 Iraqi civilians and dozens of service members [who] have shared the most difficult moments of their lives,” according to Victura. Much of the game will focus on playing as soldiers, but there are also “high-intensity stealth missions” where you play as an unarmed Iraqi civilian.
And while those missions are “informed by” the interviews with Iraqi civilians, “very few people are curious what it’s like to be an Iraqi civilian,” Tamte said in a February interview with GamesIndustry.biz. “Nobody’s going to play that game,” he added.
“Ultimately, the reason why people are going to play this game is because they want a more realistic combat experience,” he continued. “That above all else is the experience that we must deliver.”
The game was first announced in April 2009, but its concept was widely criticized. Konami, the game’s original publisher, dropped it later that month. The game was re-announced in February, now being developed by Highwire Games, whose co-founders include Halo veterans Jaime Griesemer and Marty O’Donnell, formerly of Bungie. Victura’s Tamte also worked at Bungie, leading the marketing of the first Halo, according to his LinkedIn.
Six Days in Fallujah is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and Windows, targeting a release “late in 2021,” according to an FAQ.