Six Days in Fallujah, a game based on real events that takes place during the Second Battle for Fallujah in 2004, is ‘not trying to make a political commentary,’ according to its publisher.
After being canceled by its original publisher in 2009, the tactical military shooter Six Days in Fallujah is now back in development thanks to Highwire Games, a studio comprised of ex-Halo and Destiny developers.
You’d think a game about a real-life warzone would be political by its very nature, but apparently, the development studio and publisher behind the project are trying to approach it from an apolitical angle.
In an interview with Polygon, publisher Victura boss, Peter Tamte, explained that the purpose of bringing Six Days in Fallujah back from obscurity is to highlight “the complexity of urban combat” by letting us see the world from the perspective of boots-on-the-ground soldiers.
“For us as a team, it is really about helping players understand the complexity of urban combat,” Tamte says in the interview.
“It’s about the experiences of that individual that is now there because of political decisions. And we do want to show how choices that are made by policymakers affect the choices that [a Marine] needs to make on the battlefield. Just as that [Marine] cannot second-guess the choices by the policymakers, we’re not trying to make a political commentary about whether or not the war itself was a good or a bad idea.”
It’s strange, making a game set in a real-life war that tries not to have an opinion on war itself. Some may argue that your choice to make this game in the first place is – in itself – a political commentary. We’ve similar slipperiness from developers before, most notably when Ubisoft said it thought being openly political in games is “bad for business” during The Division 2’s marketing campaign.
“A message that I heard from all of the people who’ve lost loved ones in battle is, they don’t want their child or friend’s sacrifice to be forgotten,” Tamte explains. “Even the ones who were very opposed [to the war in Iraq]. And I had conversations with many of them, as well as other members of our team–especially former military who are on our team [that] had conversations with many of these families in 2009–and we heard one after the other, ‘We don’t want you to make a game about this, but we don’t want our son’s sacrifice to be forgotten.’ It’s a mixture of that.
“The reality is that most people are not aware of the battle for Fallujah.”
Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann certainly has something to say about matters (below).
If your game deals with serious subject matter then it is inherently political. If that’s a problem, make a different game… otherwise you owe it to your game to lean into it, doing your damnedest to treat as honestly, completely as possible. Warts and all.
— Dr. Uckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) February 15, 2021
The publisher is eager to outline the fact that the development team hasn’t set out to make a game similar to Call of Duty. “[…] For most [relatives of war veterans] their only idea of a video game is watching somebody else play Call of Duty. Call of Duty is a sport, and if somebody made a sport out of the killing of my son, I’d be pretty upset. Our job now is to show people that we’re not making Call of Duty.”
The game was originally announced and developed by Atomic Games in 2009 and was supposed to be published by Konami, but thanks to its controversial subject matter, the game was canceled and mostly forgotten about until recently.
If you’d like to see some more games that absolutely aren’t political in any way, you can check out our list of the 8 best apolitical video games.