Those plains were derailed in April 2009 when Konami announced that they would no longer publish the game after receiving numerous “phone calls and emails” from gamers, political representatives, and even military members who were stunned and upset by what they heard. Atomic Games tried to find a new publishing partner but, despite claiming the title was essentially finished around that time, were unable to do so.
That brings us to now. Today, Victura (which was founded by Peter Tamte) revealed they have partnered with Highwire Games (a studio that includes notable former Bungie talent) to revive Six Days in Fallujah as a tactical first-person military shooter. Much as it was in 2009, the announcement was quickly met with concerns and confusion.
Why does this project remain so controversial? Well, the timing of the game’s originally intended release was certainly a factor (many felt it was in bad taste to release a game about a real battle so close to the battle itself), but the circumstances of the conflict remain a divisive talking point. From the reported use of white phosphorus to the number of civilian deaths and the battle’s status as one of the deadliest conflicts in an already controversial war, Fallujah remains one of the more contested moments in the last 20 years of U.S. military history.
That brings us back to the game. While Atomic Games seemed to be doing their research during the game’s initial development period, there were always concerns regarding how the team was going to approach the subject matter. For instance, Tamte once said that the game was not “about the politics of whether the US should have been there or not” and that the debate concerning that topic was “something for the politicians to worry about.” However, he also spoke of creating a military game that offered “insight” into what happened. At one point, he even mentioned that “insurgents” were “involved in the creation of the game as well” in an attempt to get the “perspectives of all the people who were involved.” There were always concerns that the team was aiming very high and that some of the inconsistencies of their statements suggested they didn’t quite know how they were going to get there.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to talk about the content of a game that was never released and has likely been changed quite a bit since 2009. That’s why much of the conversation at the moment is based on why this seemingly abandoned game that has been controversial from the start is being revived now. The answers we’ve gotten so far tend to suggest that the opportunity to revisit this idea just finally presented itself, but there’s another theory out there that those involved with the revival haven’t formally addressed as of the time of this writing.