In a surprising announcement, controversial real world shooter Six Days in Fallujah has been revived by Golem developer Highwire Games and publisher Victura. The game had originally been announced in 2009 by Atomic Games, but was thought to be cancelled after original publisher Konami decided to avoid courting the controversy that it had managed to stir up. The new Six Days in Fallujah is planned for release in late 2021 for PC and consoles.
Six Days in Fallujah is an almost entirely new project, it seems. Highwire Games is a completely different studio, with the core leadership having previously worked on Halo and Destiny series. There’s also just the fact that it’s been almost 12 years since its first cancellation, with dramatic leaps in game console and PC power – the original game targeted the PS3 and Xbox 360 – and much newer game engines.
The game has been in development for the past three years creating new technology and game mechanics that are designed to not just replicate the tactics of modern warfare, but also the uncertainty that a battlefield can provide.
The core idea is the same, coming from Marine Sergeant Eddie Garcia who was wounded during the Second Battle for Fallujah in 2004 and originally pitched the idea for a game in 2005. You will lead a fireteam through thoroughly recreated encounters from the real battle, trying to navigate the dangers of urban warfare.
There’s also some remnants of the original project on the publishing side. Victura is a publishing company founded in 2016 by former Atomic Games CEO Peter Tamte, who has been intent on seeing Six Days in Fallujah made. Tamte had asserted at various times over the past decade that the game was not cancelled and that all the work had not been lost.
Why was Six Days in Fallujah controversial?
Six Days in Fallujah was immediately surrounded by controversy as soon as it was announced. The second Iraq war was still very fresh in the memories of the public and the US and UK-led coalition was still battling against the insurgency. While the was was declared won in 2003, it soon became clear that the fight was not over, with the Battle of Fallujah taking place in 2004, additional troop commitments made in the 2007 surge, and then new president Barrack Obama trying to navigate a troop withdrawal. Six Days was met with criticism from war veterans and activist groups like the Stop the War Coalition, who pointed to the many civilian casualties that had occurred as soldiers fought house-to-house. The controversy pushed publisher Konami away from the project.
However, there’s a chance that now in 2021 there’s enough time and distance to a battle that was fought over 15 years ago, just as there are plenty of video games set in World War II, the Vietnam War, and other allegorical wars in the modern era.
Despite the original outrage at the notion of turning a real conflict into a commodity and entertainment that glorifies war, Garcia asserts “Sometimes the only way to understand what’s true is to experience reality for yourself. 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.”
For the game’s creation, over 100 Marines, Soldiers and Iraqi civilians who were present during the Second Battle for Fallujah have provided their stories, videos and photographs to give the game as much authenticity as possible.
Source: press release