The studio behind a controversial Iraq war game still hopes to bring the project to market despite it already having caused a vehement public backlash and a cancelled publishing deal.
Six Days in Fallujah, developed by US independent Atomic Games, was according to the studio an attempt to engage in serious subject matter through the medium of video games. Its subject matter was the Second Battle of Fallujah, a conflict that took place in Iraq six years ago and saw the deaths of numerous US Marines, Iraqi insurgents, and local civilians.
The announcement of the project sparked outcry for apparently trying to stir controversy at the expense of serving armed forces.
Yet the developer’s president, Peter Tamte, still believes Six Days in Fallujah can restore its image, and describes the code as an “opportunity for the world to experience the true stories”.
In an interview with news site VG247, Tamte appeared to still be at odds with popular opinion that the game is of poor taste.
He brought the issue into a wider debate of whether videogames can be seen as credibile and legitimate forms of story-telling – a discussion which he believes Six Days would have added to.
He asked if games were “just high-tech toymakers, or media companies capable of producing content that is as relevant as movies, music and television?”
Of the project, Tamte said the studio “needs the funding to complete it.”
“I really hope it’s not finished,” he added.
The battle at Fallujah resulted in extensive damage to residences, mosques, city services, and businesses.
Tamte made clear his view that censoring the title would impact on its legitimacy.
“Six Days takes place during the most relevant event of an entire generation,” he said.
“Some people suggested, ‘Why not just make it Six Days in Bullcrapistan?’ We could have done that, but that would have taken away one of the reasons why we made the game, which was to recreate the specific stories of some people who are our heroes – I can’t do that in Bullcrapistan because it loses its context.”
He added: “My frustration with [the situation] has grown over time, if that’s even possible. The retail sales of videogames in the US have declines in the last two years.
“That may be partly because of the economy, but it’s also because the games industry has stopped creating anything new, and consumers are starting to say, ‘Hey, what you’re selling – I’m not buying.’ I have conversations with senior people at publishers all across the world, and they’re telling me that videogames are trivial, and we’re going to keep making trivial games. Someone needs to slap them on the side of the head and say, ‘Hey, guys, sales are going down. Something is wrong.’
“We should experiment with new categories of games. That’s what we wanted to do [with Six Days]. It has to be made into a purely commercial argument, ignoring all the arguments about the importance of the medium, and the things that we can do for consumers that can’t be done via passive forms of entertainment – because most of the publishers are interesting in the economic argument.”
Elsewhere in the interview with VG247, Tamte lifts the lid on the studio’s upcoming self-published and download-only multiplayer shooter, Breach.