Konami's upcoming third-person military combat game, Six Days in Fallujah, puts the player into the boots of the United States Marine Corps soldiers who were involved in the six-day assault on Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Described by military officials as some of the heaviest urban combat involving Marines in recent memory, the six-day battle is being re-created by developer Atomic Games with input from some of the 3rd Battalion 1st Marines who were there. Konami unveiled the game last week during its spring press event in San Francisco and showed some footage of the game in action.
A squad-based third-person shooter that will put you in the boots of a Marine on the ground, Six Days in Fallujah is aiming to put an emphasis on accuracy and realism in its re-creation of the tense urban combat that defined the assault on the city. The video footage of the game shown during the stage demo featured small squads of Marines engaging Iraqi insurgents in cramped alleyways as well as in and among buildings.
With a focus on urban combat, and all of the complications that fighting in close quarters and among civilians brings with it, the developers at Atomic Games have created a new game engine to power the action in Six Days. The hallmark of the new engine is destruction; everything from individual bricks to entire buildings will be candidates for destruction in the game, a fact that opens up entirely new avenues of strategy when taking to the streets in the hunt for insurgents. In one gameplay video, a Marine squad was stationed outside of a building that was filled with enemy insurgents. Instead of attacking through the front door and risking casualties, the Marines blew a hole in the side of the building, stormed inside, and forced the enemies out into the street, where another pack of Marines were waiting to pick them off.
There were several examples of the kind of destructive power on display in the Atomic engine (as it's known), including Marines taking down sections of buildings with RPGs and grenade launchers, and cover being completely destroyed by hails of gunfire. As a result, this level of destruction puts particular demand not just on the game's AI (ensuring that enemies and allied units react accordingly), but also so that the player is always moving from one cover spot to the next.
Graphically, the Atomic engine seems to have captured the Iraqi architecture and dusty climate well, and little touches, such as the sound of the weapon reports themselves, sounded authentic to us. On the other hand, the destruction effects seem a bit too Lego-like and blocky for our tastes--here's hoping that the Atomic engine evolves in the coming months with more particle effects and a greater sense of "randomness" in how structure damage is conveyed.
Although the focus in Six Days is on realism, the game is still making concessions to some video game staples, such as the regenerating health meter. We'd like to see the option to turn on one-shot kills in the final game, if only to amp up the tension of every encounter. We're also curious to see how both the enemy and friendly AI react to the potential of constant change in the levels thanks to the engine's destruction effects.
Having produced training tools for the Marine corps before beginning development of Six Days in Fallujah, there's little doubt that Atomic games has both the pedigree and experience needed for an accurate re-creation of the events in Fallujah back in late 2004. Here's hoping that the team manages to strike a balance between the need for making a historically factual account with the equally important requirement of making a game that's fun to play. Stay tuned for much more on Six Days in Fallujah in the coming months.