You’ve probably heard about Six Days in Fallujah, an upcoming tactical shooter produced by Atomic Games and set in the Iraq War. It centres on the battle for Fallujah, which was fought in late 2004 and left 38 marines and an estimated 1200 insurgents dead.
Just days after the announcement, it’s understandably got quite a reaction, with army veterans, their families and peace groups campaigning against the game’s release. Reg Keys, who lost a son in Iraq, says development of the game shows “very poor judgement and bad taste.” Peace group Stop The War Coalition said the conflict should be “remembered with shame and horror not glamorised and glossed over for entertainment.”
Others are hopeful that the game will show the realities of war, citing the thirty veterans serving as consultants on the game and Atomic’s stated dedication to providing a neutral and informative view of the conflict. The game has fuelled a frenzy of media coverage, certainly fulfilling Atomic’s wish for “people to talk about this.”
You may remember similar levels of coverage with another recent game: Resident Evil 5. The game’s first E3 trailer in 2007 was perceived by many to be racist, and later trailers didn’t do much to change that perception. The issue was discussed right until the release date, both in the gaming sphere and the world at large. That’s a level of mainstream coverage that you can’t buy, unless you’re Microsoft.
Regardless of developer intentions, Six Days looks to be heading in the same direction. It’s now Atomic’s duty to craft a fun and innovative game while staying true to their stated goals of realism and impartiality. Pulling off either of these is difficult enough, but achieving them both could result in a seminal game for the genre. It’s certainly a game to watch.