Atomic CEO responds to Fallujah outcry

Developer head Peter Tamte says controversial Iraq War-based shooter was designed to "change expectations" of medium's potential.

Konami surprised many in early April when it announced its intent to publish Atomic Games' Six Days in Fallujah, a realistic military shooter designed to accurately re-create one of the most violent conflicts in the ongoing Iraq War. However, less than three weeks later the publisher caved to vocal outcry surrounding the game. "After seeing the reaction to the video game in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and e-mail, we decided several days ago not to sell it," Konami told Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun.

Atomic's depiction of war-riddled Fallujah.

Shortly following Konami's abrupt announcement, Atomic Games CEO Peter Tamte told GameSpot that the move "caught us by surprise." In a recent interview with North Caronlina's The News & Observer, Tamte responded to the furor surrounding the title, saying that his studio's intent was to create relevant, artistic content.

"Every form of media has grown by producing content about current events, content that's powerful because it's relevant," Tamte told The News & Observer. "Movies, music, and TV have helped people make sense of the complex issues of our times. Are we really just high-tech toymakers, or are we media companies capable of producing content that is as relevant as movies, music, and television?"

Tamte, whose company also creates a variety of training simulators for the US Marine Corps, went on to say that many of the soldiers who fought in the actual First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004 asked Atomic to create a game based on the conflict.

"Six Days in Fallujah is not about whether the US and its allies should have invaded Iraq," Tamte said. "It's an opportunity for the world to experience the true stories of the people who fought in one of the world's largest urban battles of the past half-century. ... It is the dilemmas you face, and the choices you make, that give you insight into the events that are shaping our world in a way that no passive form of media can. We hope that Six Days in Fallujah will have the opportunity to change expectations of what a video game can be."

Prior to Konami's decision to walk away from the project, Six Days in Fallujah had been slated for release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in 2010. Tamte provided no update on whether those plans had changed.

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209 comments
P_R_E_Y
P_R_E_Y

oh and i also hate games that make the M16 fully automatic. If they are going to put it in the game, put it in properly

P_R_E_Y
P_R_E_Y

To say this game is too early because the war is still on going is not the right attitude. I feel the game industry needs to take insperation from somewhere, and to have a current war going on, with the soldier actually supporting it and helping it, it would be a waste to leave it until the dust settles. There shouldnt be a problem, they are tying to make it realistic, so it will probibly make players not shoot civilians for no reason, or just shoot everything for the hell of it. Like opersation flashpoint dragon rising, i love that game, it is a proper shooting game, not some remake of WW1/2. It makes you think and act like a soldier, not sum gun ho idiot like people do in CoD. Thats what im looking for and i give full allowance for this game to go ahead, for what its worth (which is nothing but still).

bluntgasm
bluntgasm

My main problem is that if they are trying to create a 'documentary' about Phantom Fury, why would they leave out what the other branches did during the fight? Don't be fooled, they are in it for the money- not to recreate some sort of dramatization on Marines in Fallujah.

dante5000
dante5000

Things like these are always strange. From all that I can gather the Marines who fought in the battle have been supporting it, while the families of the marines have been deeply offended. I can understand this in a way but mostly it seems to be selfish to say what they are saying. This is an attempt to recreate Operation Phantom Fury in a meaningful way but the word game has made this from an attempt to evolve the form of media, to a mindless way to shoot everything the player sees without any knowledge of the subject matter. I personally think that this game will end up being a good thing for the industry if this was a movie or a T.V show there would be no public outcry, before most major changes there is a great deal of controversy . All I can do is hope Atomic Games braves this controversy and keeps trying to change video games for the better

CW99
CW99

Ridicoulous this game was madeto shed light on the events of fallujah from the mouths of the Marines involved and a bunch of PC protestesters wrote angry letters to complain. BS this game wasn't meant for them... Atomic don't listen to them go ahead finish the game and publish it for those who lost their lives

DerekLStinson
DerekLStinson

I don't think anyone can be cleaver. Unless you were one in a play, and that would be stupid. Also, this game should be made. Just not right now. Give it 5 more years.

Meritocrat
Meritocrat

This is one of the least intelligible posts I've read on Gamespot; there's no analysis of what the hell this means. Does it mean: - 6DiF is never going to be released, ever? - 6DiF may, possibly be released to another publisher if Konami were to decide to sell it? - 6DiF may be reworked and released in the future once the Iraq war is a historical event instead of a current on? Which is it Gamespot? This reads more like a half thought out blog post than any sort of edited journalism.

Mr_Fujiv1
Mr_Fujiv1

btw hilter was crazy thats why he was soo cleaver

king_loei
king_loei

I just thought it looked like it could be a cool game... I don't really care about the politics involved...

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@CharlieFubar Although that is, as Nephilim83 said, a generalization, I would also love to see that.

Richard7666
Richard7666

This is why I hate political correctness.

CHAOS100
CHAOS100

I don't see what the controversy is over this game. What, it hasn't been long enough since the event for it to be made into a game? There are countless games being published based on the warfare in Iraq. BF2, COD4, etc. The game Full Spectrum Warrior involved tactical squad movement and such looked a lot like this game, it was based in a Iraq-like environment, hell it was release in 2004, when it was going on in Fallujah. What about America's Army, the game which is not hidden that it is made by the US Army as is a propaganda/recruitment tool. What a bunch of bozos. I ignored the game for a while since it looked like a sequel to full spectrum warrior, but looking at the video saying it has destructable walls makes me want to play it.

wonzan
wonzan

d-rytboy, actually its been documented that Hitler had various mental problems. Some of these are disputed but many agree that he was schizophrenic. scarred_fox, I agree. This bickering is really foolish and I regret being so vocal on something so insignificant as a mere game. But regarding your other comments, polls have been done that prove that the Iraqi people were happier under Sadam's rule (that's saying quite a lot). I think the families would and have been quite vocal about the hardships they faced as a result of the war. I mean, its war, its like living in hell! There was a migration but then neighbouring countries eventually halted it amidst various fears. There was also a great many people that simply couldn't afford to leave. Just like the Palestinians. Also, I do believe a small minority of the US are following the government simply because they think its the American thing to do (its not). The best example I can give to support that would be the fact that if Bush was to run for president in ANY other country in the world (except Israel I believe) he would have lost the election...by a lot. But yeah, I love the American people, don't make any false assumptions on the contrary. Some of my closest friends and relatives are over there. Also, your women are sooo much hotter than the women in England. =P

d-rtyboy
d-rtyboy

"History has shown that Hitler was a nut." Hitler may have been cold and calculating killer(as any other despot), but he was not a, "nut." No historian will back your claim.

Muteki_X
Muteki_X

The human race is becoming a bunch of pi****s and moaners. "OH NO! This hurts my feeling so I'd better write a letter and complain about it until I get MY way so that everyone has to live their life in a way in which I approve. I won't bother to suck it up and let other people enjoy their lives as they see fit." Apparently we're all a bunch of children that can't decide for ourselves what is and isn't appropriate, so a select few have to "protect us from ourselves". Thanks Mom.

scarred_fox
scarred_fox

ppl r blowing this out of proportion. all this bickering bcause this is a game based on true and recent events. i want to see this game launch. BTW wonzan WE are not blind by the government and questioning the families that were there? all they would say is that they evacuated Fallujah and those that fought were not nationals. insurgents from the surrounding areas came to iraq because it was the new battlefield.

d-rtyboy
d-rtyboy

They already made a movie or two about the WTC demolition, so what is the big deal about this? They'd pimp their own mothers if they thought they could make a dime. I don't see how this is any different.

FidelSarcastro
FidelSarcastro

Also remember that's coming from the same UN when little dictators launch off rockets like its their freaking 4th of july they decide to let their displeasure be known... by writing a letter. So them deciding to change their stance to supporting it was a big deal.

wonzan
wonzan

Actually the UN denied the use of force initially, I don't remember why they changed their stance though. Also, that was not the reason the US suggested for starting the war. Had that been the reason then there are plenty of other countries the US should be compelled to invade in the future including Zimbabwe, Sudan, Israel, N.Korea etc etc. Sadam was terrible, but with the US invading and messing the country up further I don't think that made much of an improvement. In case you haven't noticed, MANY innocent people are dying daily in Iraq because the place is in a state of anarchy. But anyways, I respect your country. I've visited the states and most of the people there are such amazing people. It's your government I have the issue with. Heck, most (if not all) governments these days can't seem to run a country without being dubious. England's gov is doing particularly bad. But enough about this political crap. I hate politics. I'm surprised I typed up a storm about this stuff. I don't mind the release of this game. It won't change anyone's opinions on anything.

vf21x
vf21x

@wonzan The UN authorized use force and that's a fact. As for defenseless country, try again!!! They were the bully's in the region, starting wars with their neighbor's and killing millions of their own people and were always looking for trouble. Sure, Sadam ran the show and no one had the B$**S to stop him, so we took take of this issue. We are America and we take action!!!!

wonzan
wonzan

Shocking how people compare the Iraq war to WW1 or 2. The WW's were between huge military powers. They took place many years ago and much research has been done into the causes and actual time course of the wars. History has shown that Hitler was a nut. THIS war however is against a nigh defenceless country that never had WMD. This country is a 3rd world country too might I add (God knows what it is now that its been invaded). This war is against international protocol and is classified as ILLEGAL. That's a fact. PLEASE do not just form your opinions based on hearsay. Do at least a little background research yourself before coming up with such atrocious comparisons. As for whether changing the name of the game would make a difference, yes it would. It would no longer mean that the game is glamorising a real (ongoing) illegal war.......i.e. propaganda.

kengi_ikazuchi
kengi_ikazuchi

Go for it.. make it.. just do it! Look how successful COD4:MW was.

microwavedapple
microwavedapple

If no-one bats an eyelid towards the endless amount of WW2 games on the market, why the hell is everyone in an uproar when one about the Iraq war is anounced. Hell, even if they just made exactly the same game and just changed the name from Iraq to someplace fictional, no-one would care about it.

wonzan
wonzan

At first I was all for NOT releasing this game but then I read Nawras' comment. It's very poignant. This game wasn't exactly going to sell big. The only people that were going to buy it were the ones who are already blindly following the government regardless of what they did (seriously, supporting the troops with the mind set of "oh well, the war was done for no good reason but since our boys are already there we might as well support them"is just crazy! Had England called me up for duty on the same grounds I would refuse because that is not what England stands for and its not what USA stands for either and had my brother gone to war I would actively call for him to be brought home from the illegal war). I don't think these people will care much for accurate unbiased portrayal of the battle. Have the developers asked for the opinions of any Iraqi families on what the game should be like? I severely doubt it because otherwise this game would be a totally different creature. In summary, the people who are going to buy this game have virtually unchangeable mindsets. Do I myself have such a mindset? I don't think so, I just changed my opinion based on a very good point raised by Nawras. Publishers! Release this game! It doesn't really change anything.....

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

I just have to say it's really nice to see a rational and articulate conversation here. Kudos. :-) It's very refreshing.

Nawras
Nawras

It's a tough game to swallow, but in the end if no one will buy it - for whatever reason - then might as well not publish it.

nappan
nappan

I guess this all comes down to "if done correctly".. and even I will admit that means finishing and releasing the game. We've all basically run into the wall of too little info, which I guess is the best argument for this game being released that I've heard in days. lol

jadefury27
jadefury27

@nappan: I don't disagree in the least with your arguement, but if done correctly this could in someways be done in tribute to the fine men and women who served. very simular to the small but touching tribute at the end of call of duty 4: modern warfare which in some ways touches on the type of subject matter. i do believe if activision\treyarc\infinity ward, or even ubisoft under the tom clancy banner it would not be getting such a strong reaction. it would be seen as "another war based shooter".

Vlad27145
Vlad27145

@Nappan, Again, I understand your point of view, I'm just not sure I can share it. Simply because we have no proof that this will be a tasteless exploitation of war. I'm for the benefit of the doubt. Besides, as I already said, the fact that US Marines are supporting this, and the fact that Atomic wants to go forward with the release of the game despite the controversy (risking their credibility as developers if they give us a mockery of war), both give me hope that this is less about making a quick buck, and truly more about providing us a meaningful experience. It may be though that I also support them because they are the people behind the Close Combat series, which I believe to have always depicted war as a struggle for power, but sober and "crude" if you allow the term. The type of game didn't facilitate them in delivering a particularly powerful story, or thought out commentary, but at least I believe they had the good taste to leave out the sensationalism and "glorification" of war that usually accompanies other titles. So on one hand I trust them to have some decency and on the other I am very curious as to what they can accomplish building on a premise that would allow them so much more in the means of storytelling and immersion.

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

I think they're being stupid... I mean, they'd let a film about Iraq be made, so why not a game? I remember reading a soldier talking about why Konami couldn't release it because they published MGS. What does that have to do with it? SO what if it's unrealistic? That's like saying EA couldn't publish an RPG from BioWare just because they publish MySims. Anyway, they'll probably find a publisher even if it IS Data Design Interactive... Mind you, DDI can only publish Wii games according to their site =)

nappan
nappan

I don't think taking offense is a valid reason to keep this game off shelves. By the same token, I don't like this game in the same way I flinch a little when I see "made for tv movies" about incredibly recent, or ongoing events. I'm not offended... I'm just.. turned off. I don't want them banned, or even withheld from the public, but that doesn't stop me from expressing my belief that they are tasteless exploitations of tragedy. However, I know I'm not consistent with that ethic. Maybe people who are too upset, dumb, or afraid to think about the conlict between the necessity of free expression, however vulgar deserve to have this kind of thing tossed in their faces to toughen them up. I don't know. I suppose partly that's why I'd like to wait until the war is over before I start playing it on a console. P.S. I know that I just rambled like crazy, but in these articles I've been vocal and opinionated... I thought it was fair to present my thinking behind that, without my personal spin on it.

Vlad27145
Vlad27145

My thoughts exactly, ashalldredge.

FidelSarcastro
FidelSarcastro

@nappan as far as Konami is concirned I agree, they have the choice not to release it, hence why I said that it was their company, their right. No, I was directing that part to those who honestly think that just cause this game might offend their delicate sensibilities that it should not be released to anyone.

Vlad27145
Vlad27145

Nappan, this is the exact archetype of a constructive discussion. People that have different opinions and tastes, who expose them politely and, if you will "enrich" the others with what is their thought out take on a matter. So I don't agree with you either, but I'm happy to have had this conversation, and as Voltaire put it "I don't agree with your opinion, but I would give my life to guarantee you the right to express it." I just wish, someone could also give Atomic this chance. Edit: In this case I may also be found guilty of uneducated opinion, since I'm mostly a PC gamer too. :)

nappan
nappan

@Vlad27145: True... however, given the lack of quality, polish, and creativity in the vast majority of games (not just the hits), I think that one must put the basics before a full fledged pursuot of art. I'm not saying that games CAN'T be art, contain art, or be moving. I'm also not saying that they are not a form of Artistic Expression (in the legal sense, and practical). However, my priorities and tastes seem to run differently from yours, and therefore my priorities are different as well. I don't think you're wrong... but I don't agree either. Edit: Hmmm... you know, I think I may be wrong here. I've never seen a problem with PC games being more art than "fun"... I may just be prejudiced against consoles, for all that I own and play em lol.

Vlad27145
Vlad27145

@ Nappan Quote - I think that developers need to work on quality, polish, and creativity before they tackle gaming as a purely artistic medium. My opinion granted, and founded on nothing more than my own experience. - End quote I personally think that one thing does not exclude the other, and I'm also not sure I can agree on the given priorities. Depending on the type of game you are developing, I think artistic vision could come first in line. But this IS a matter of opinion, and mine isn't worth any more than yours. What on the other hand is a fact is that if Atomic cannot release this game we will never be able to judge the amount of "quality, polish, and creativity" they will have managed to deliver. Who wins in this? Also, I believe this discussion may be taking a wrong turn. I think most people here are not against Konami and their (legitimate) decision, but against the people who, with their rising up against the supposed "offence" this game causes, have "forced" them to drop this game.

nappan
nappan

@Vlad27145: Gotcha. I understand. @ashalldredge: It isn't semantics. We're talking about the difference between choosing to balence profits and losses in a totally free environment, vs. what censorship really is. If so many were not talking about 1st ammendment rights, free speech, and censorship, I wouldn't have brought it up at all... but they are. I'm happy to argue semantics, but this is about the meaning of something at its most basic level. Censorship offers no choice. Konami had all the choices in the world, and I don't think a few families of dead soldiers and one British Aniwar group constitutes much pressure for a company like Konami. The pressure they felt, was that of bad PR... and bad PR just means that once you do or say something, LOTS of people will think you're a ****. That means that x,y, or z person or group, to Konami, is representative of a greater population, and based on their internal research they chose the long-term route to fiscal success. It is impractical for people to represent themselves outside of an organization, when dealing with corporations and governments. Besides, freedom (amongst other things) is being able to make and say what you want, and then taking it in the kiester when it turns out you made bad choice. Konami just decided to cut its losses, and nothing is stopping a developer who believes the game has more potential for success and less for bad PR is still free to release it unaltered.

Vlad27145
Vlad27145

@ Nappan: My use of the term "suffering" was strictly related to the context of this discussion, and more specifically brianpoetzel's post. He was lamenting the fact that some were turning against Konami for not publishing the game, and I underlined how this is a consequence they are "suffering" for the path they chose to follow. I did not mean to imply anything more vast than this, or I would have specifically stated it. I realise though it was open to mis-interpretation, hope I cleared it up.

Shlomiki
Shlomiki

This is frustrating - why do the movie and TV industries have the right to provide content about sensitive subjects? The gaming industry has evolved and I think that things like this hold it back a little from growing further and delivering more and better - to a wider audience. I think that if people really do oppose to such forms of entertainment, they should have try to seek another way around the problem than making so much trouble Konami will eventually need to drop the case. Anyway - if there are no signs of racism or such in the game, it should have full permission to sell.

nappan
nappan

@Vlad27145: I think that developers need to work on quality, polish, and creativity before they tackle gaming as a purely artistic medium. My opinion granted, and founded on nothing more than my own experience.

FidelSarcastro
FidelSarcastro

@nappan Now its just arguing over semantics, true the people that are railing against this game dont have the power to keep this game from the market but they sure are championing the cause, supporting the notion.

Vlad27145
Vlad27145

@ raahsnavj I see your point, but I beg to disagree. Games do not necessarily need to be fun, they can get by, as movies do, with being "meaningful". Moving you in some way, and your emotions as you play through. One example I could give you, just to keep it recent, is an Indie game called "The Path". It's a truly disturbing tale about growing up, that has absolutely NOTHING in the way of fun, and yet is a exceptional experience. And by all means, it has been very well received by the critics (except IGN, but it's been a while now since IGN reviewers have gone the way of embodied idiocy, and actually, even they "liked" it, they just scored it a little low). I think it's terribly wrong to average down the gaming public to the admittedly many immature jerks that are part of this public. It's basically asking the developers to cater more and more to the tastes of these individuals, leaving out any and all more profound matters they could develop upon. I think we're ready for more, and deserve more.

nappan
nappan

@Vlad27145: How is Konami suffering? You think their accountants and lawyers didn't figure out how much they'd lose on NOT publishing this game, vs. time in court and bad PR? Ha. @ashalldredge: Ask Gallileo what censorship really is. Being FORCED is censorship... this was just lobbying.

FidelSarcastro
FidelSarcastro

@brianpoetzel You are correct, Freedom is a two way street. The same freedom that allows person A to walk around all day complementing people is the same freedom that allows a person B to walk around all day insulting people. freedom shouldnt be limited to just popular opinion. as far as the question of Should Person B Insult People doesnt matter. He chose to insult people and by the same token people can be offended and angry. But when those people tell the man that he cant speak, that just cause they dont like it he has to either complement people like person A or he cant say anything at all is Censorship. I dont have a problem with Konami's decision to not release this game (their company, their decision). I do take issue with people on this thread and people in general that think that just cause something personally offends them that it shouldnt be said, read, or made. But then again its a two way street... they have the freedom to say what they want, they have a right to try to keep the game from being made but then again I have the freedom to support this game and the right do and say whatever I can to support it.

Vlad27145
Vlad27145

@brianpoetzel Yes, you would have the freedom to do all those things. And no, they would not be a good idea. But: 1: Your examples are for the most part unilaterally offensive. This game is not proved to be so. They do have the chance to make something good out of it. As many have pointed out, the marines involved in this battle have voluntarily come up to Atomic and were eager to co-operate in telling this story. Also, I've encountered, both on this article's discussion, as in others that revolve around this matter, many comments of Marines which have been to Iraq. And ALL of them favoured this game's release. Who are WE to tell THEM they should feel offended, and stop this game from coming out? 2: You could choose do the actions you have described anyway (while certainly offensive, which the game, I repeat, may not be) , because for some reason you think they are the right thing to do, and because they are not illegal (racism is, in certain nations, actually). When it's done, you would simply suffer the consequences. Now, the right thing to do, is give this game a chance. If it does turn out to be an offence, the people involved will certainly suffer the consequences also. After all this controversy, I think that coming up with a mindless trivial shooter would pretty much kill their careers as a game developer company. This also gives me hope, as if they're willing to risk that, it means they are very confident in their product. Finally, yes, Konami was also perfectly free to walk away from this deal, as in fact they have. And they as well are now suffering the consequences of their choice. I really don't see your point, as I think everything adds up perfectly.

Mick_Drasador
Mick_Drasador

This game should be made for the shear fact that a group of people DON'T want it made. The ability to chose whether to go out and get it is left entirely up to the consumer. People should be allowed to protest it WHILE being allowed to buy it. It's what our country is ALL ABOUT people. As the great Cartman once said "It's called having your cake and eating it, too"

nappan
nappan

@jadefury27: Accuracy (such as it is) comes AFTER wars end, after the politicians who had a hand in it are retired, dead, or discredited, and through the lens of history. Also.. who the heck forced you to listen to Soulja boy...on... radio? As so many others have said, this is a one-sided game. Don't get me wrong, I'm not interested in playing as some putz with a hand-me-down AK-47.. of course, that would never be published either. Unless this game includes blue on blue fire, civilian casualties, and totally ignores the political and implications, it is about as realistic as a slapstick... lots of noise and visuals... no pain, no substance. P.S. See Dante May Die's post? There's another good reason not to make this game YET. P.P.S. Finally... I'm soooo tired of "realistic shooters". Nobody but a psychopath wants realism in war, and given that, I'm tired of playing the same settings, with the same weapons, same tactics, same backstory. Is this game going to do something, with GAMEPLAY, that CoD4 (and perhaps 6), KZ2, HL2, FSW, Resistance 2, GoW1/2, Rainbow Six(all of em), Ghost Recon... etc... etc...

Dante_May_Die
Dante_May_Die

as long as they dont mention Islam in this game..im gonna pick it up happily :) lol