Though it has no problem with the ultraviolent combat in Metal Gear Solid 4, Konami apparently no longer has the stomach for Six Days in Fallujah's purportedly "ultrarealistic" re-creation of the Iraq War. According to the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, the Tokyo-based company has decided not to publish the Atomic Games-developed war-action title, which it touted at a gamers' day event this month.
"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," a Konami rep told the Asahi Shimbun. When asked for comment by GameSpot, Konami of America said the rep handling the game was out of the office. Inquiries sent to Atomic Games had not been returned as of press time.
Though no opinion-givers were mentioned by name by the Asahi Shimbun, the game had been vociferously criticized by several families who had lost members in the Iraq War as well as by the British antiwar group Stop the War Coalition. Konami and Atomic's defense was that Six Days in Fallujah would be a "survival horror" game that would show the ugly face of the Iraq War, now in its seventh year.
"We had intended to convey the reality of the battles to players so that they could feel what it was like to be there," the Konami rep told the Asahi Shimbun. Those comments were echoed in a GameSpot video interview (below) with several veterans of the actual Second Battle of Fallujah, Operation Phantom Fury, who were acting as technical advisors for the game.
[UPDATE] On Tuesday, Atomic Games president Peter Tamte told GameSpot that Konami's decision had come as a total shock. "We were informed on Thursday night that Konami had decided to pull out of Six Days in Fallujah," he explained. "This caught us by surprise. Development of the game had been progressing very well and on schedule. We would very much like the opportunity to complete the game."