Atomic Games President Peter Tamte has attempted to place the controversial Iraq war game Six Days in Fallujah in a more credible light by calling the survival-horror title an “opportunity for the world to experience the true stories”.
Tamte contested widespread criticism that the game is of poor taste by hijacking the ongoing debate of the videogame credibility and legitimacy; pondering if the industry is “just high-tech toymakers, or media companies capable of producing content that is as relevant as movies, music and television?”
Tamte, speaking at the Triangle Game Conference, said that “movies, music and TV have helped people make sense of the complex issues of our times”, adding that “every form of media has grown by producing content about current events, content that’s powerful because it’s relevant.”
His speech, initially reported by newsobserver, went on to claim that Marines who had fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah had apparently consulted Atomic Games to “tell their story”. It is not known if the reported marines asked for the game to be publicised as a survival horror, or consented to the developer apparently consulting Iraqi insurgents.
“[These marines] asked us to tell their story through the most relevant medium of the day – a medium they use the most – and that is the video game,” Tamte said.
“We hope that Six Days in Fallujah will have the opportunity to change expectations of what a video game can be.”
On Monday it was revealed that Konami had abandoned a publishing deal with Atomic, following sustained public criticism of the game’s content and setting.
In a statement released to Develop, Tamte said Konami’s decision had caught the studio by surprise.
On Monday a Konami spokesperson said that “after seeing the reaction to the videogame in the United States, and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and e-mail, we decided not to sell [Six Days in Fallujah].”
Despite the withdrawal from Konami, Tamte was optimistic about the game’s future, stating that development of the game had been “progressing very well and on schedule” before Konami pulled out.
He added that the team “would very much like the opportunity to complete the game.”
When unveiled early in April, Six Days in Fallujah had been subjected to public outcry for centring a game on the Second Battle of Fallujah, a conflict that took place in Iraq only five years ago, and saw the deaths of numerous US Marines, Iraqi insurgents, and local civilians.
The battle saw extensive damage to residences, mosques, city services, and businesses.
The game was quickly condemned by British war veterans as well as British peace group, Stop the War Coalition, which called for the game to be pulled.
The outcry was of equal enormity in the US, where bereaved families of soldiers and citizens’ groups lashed out at the game’s content.
The future of the title is currently unknown.