The first-person shooter based on a real Iraq War battle was cancelled ten years ago after a mire of controversy, but now it’s back to stir up a storm.
Back in 2009 a video game called Six Days in Fallujah was announced and immediately received widespread news coverage for its controversial content. It was going to depict the real events of the Second Battle of Fallujah, which took place in 2004 and involved the most intense urban warfare experienced by US combat troops since the Battle of Hue City in the Vietnam War; but after a whirlwind of media controversy amid objections raised by veterans and anti-war campaigners alike, Konami dropped out as the publisher and it never saw the light of day. That is, until this trailer dropped on 11 February:
The infamous title has resurfaced “with a new publisher, new developer and an all-new game”, and the above trailer goes to great lengths to show the contributions of veterans and civilians (100 in total) who were consulted as part of the production, presumably to allay fears that it diminishes their traumatic experience to a form of entertainment.
Seeking to nip any controversy in the bud, the official FAQ page for the game underlines that:
- The deaths of specific service personnel will not be recreated without the permission of their families
- You will not always play as an American soldier, and there is one campaign mission in which you will play an Iraqi civilian
- You will never play as an insurgent during the single-player campaign, or in a multiplayer recreation of an actual event
- The US government was not involved in the creation of the game, and does not plan to use it for recruitment
- A portion of the proceeds from the game will be donated to organisations supporting coalition service members affected by the war
While films have long depicted real wars and real battles, there’s been a squeamishness about the same thing in video games, perhaps because you’re the one taking aim and pulling the trigger rather than watching as an observer (which gives a misleading veneer of impartiality). But sensitive, eye-opening war games do exist (Spec Ops: The Line being a prime example), even if they are outnumbered by flag-waving, jingoistic shoot ’em ups. We hope that Six Days in Fallujah will fall into the former camp rather than the latter.