Speaking during a recent interview with Joystiq, Atomic Games’ president Peter Tamte has cleared up the previously reported news that controversial Iraqi war game Six Days In Fallujah was “complete.” Quoting information that has been “lost in translation,” Tamte was eager to stress that the game is in need of a lot more than just a publisher to see it over the line. Stating that there is still a requirement of “additional AI and graphics,” the studio head also revealed that multiplayer technology created for their upcoming XBLA shooter Breach will be incorporated into the ‘will-it-won’t-it’ action shooter.
Tamte also goes on to reveal that it was actually the Japanese wing of Konami which ordered Konami US to pull out of the publishing agreement with the developer. Not that Tamte expresses any hard feelings, there are now “interested parties” who are looking at releasing the game in the future.
The fallout after Konami packed up and left was acutely felt by the studio, evident in the layoffs that ensued. Tamte is eager, however, to clarify that Atomic are a fully functioning studio, quoting the support of “investors” as how they can continue to develop games.
The interview also touches upon the particularly insidious nature of the Iraqi war; a concept certain groups took umbrage with; discord which ultimately resulted in Konami walking. Using actual testimony from soldiers who fought in Operation: Phantom Fury, Tamte describes tactics of insurgents that include posing as civilians in order to lure US troops into “methodically planned ambushes.”
Tamte feels that it is this, the game’s honest depiction of the war in Iraq, which didn’t sit well with certain parties, not least its now ex-publisher. He also reveals other controversial aspects which likely contributed to the ban-hammer falling on its head. White phosphorous gas, originally classified as a chemical weapon, was used by the US on insurgents in Iraq. Though US military brass originally denied its use during the timeframe of when the battle at Fallujah took place, subsequent declassified Pentagon documents confirm that it was deployed in similar conflicts against the US’s enemies. Though specifically not in the game, it’s sensitive material such as this that is causing Tamte no end of headaches trying to get the message of the game across.
The president does, however, recognise the responsibility at hand to be respectful to those who fought, and died, in the battle.
“We do recognize there is something fundamentally different about the fact that it is real people in situations that we’ve recreated and that we cannot handle it the same way as it would be handled in a fictional game. I guess all I can say there is that we’re very, very cautious and considerate of the people who were involved, including their families, in all of those situations without going into details about how we’re going to actually do that.”
Tamte would not confirm if soldiers who died in the battle feature in the game.