Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions Remain

May 1, 2009 -

It has only been a few days since publisher Konami bailed on the controversial Six Days in Fallujah, but the CEO of developer Atomic Games discussed the situation at the Triangle Game Conference in North Carolina this week.

As reported by the Raleigh News & Observer, Peter Tamte (left) said:

Every form of media has grown by producing content about current events, content that's powerful because it's relevant. 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?

This is what brought us close to many of the Marines who fought in Fallujah. After they got back from Fallujah, these Marines asked us to tell their story. They asked us to tell their story through the most relevant medium of the day -- a medium they use the most -- and that is the video game.

'Six Days in Fallujah' is not about whether the U.S. and its allies should have invaded Iraq. 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.

GP: Setting aside the issue of whether it's too soon for a Fallujah game, frankly, the P.R. surrounding Six Days was incredibly bungled from day one. There is no precedent for a game project to crater with such velocity. A mere three weeks passed from the initial article about the game in the L.A. Times to Konami's sudden withdrawal from the project.

Here are a few questions I'd like to see Peter Tamte to address:

  • Why was Six Days pegged as a "survival-horror" game, ala Silent Hill? Was that handed down by Konami? Such a designation indicates a shoot 'em-up scare-fest rather than the serious treatment of the Battle of Fallujah which Atomic claimed to be developing.
  • Why does Atomic keep pushing the line that Iraq war veterans were beating down its door, demanding that they create Six Days, when it has been definitively shown by One Last Continue that Destineer, which owns Atomic, filed to trademark the name a mere three months after the battle ended in December, 2004? Most Fallujah vets were likely still deployed at that time.
  • Why would Atomic consult with insurgents (if they actually did)? Whether such consultations took place or were simply hype, why would Atomic think this would be a positive thing to announce? The insurgents were killing and maiming U.S. personnel in Iraq for years with a devastating IED campaign and even occasionally decapitating U.S. prisoners. I'm of the opinion that this piece of radioactive P.R. was the tipping point in Konami's decision to bail.

Comments

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

Speeder, MasterAssassin, please take your mouthfrothing duel elsewhere.

GP is not a place for hate speech, and you two are overflowing with it!

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

@MasterAssassin:

 

Oh yeah, we should be thankfull for your great saviour country helping us by deposing our democratically elected president in 1964 and putting in its place a certainly not communist military government.

 

I should not be bitter because I know missing people, people with deformed heads after confrontations with the police, and the long 20 years of cultural damaged imposed by the censorship trying to hide from the general public what is going on.

 

No, in fact I need to be glad that my history teacher head has a slit in the middle of it, slit made when a cop hit him while he was with other students protesting against the dumbing down of our public education (that remains dumb).

 

I should be thankfull with the fact that some people here got arrested for learning russian, that people got killed for wearing red in groups without question, that during that government, our country attempted to make nukes.

Oh yes, we are great at destroying ourselves, we have all the technology that we need to build nukes, but we have zero of them, and this is certain dangerous. (good source? http://www.forumjogosonline.com.br/archive/index.php/t-19698.html), while you saviors of the world has 9962 nukes (source: www.fas.org/programs/ssp/nukes/publications1/USStockpile2007-2012.pdf).

 

And we have totally useless stone age tech that is used on the certainly bad game World of Warcraft: http://www.lua.org/

 

 

Saying that this is saving the world that is sick, not saying that I want to kill virtual reporters of a evil country. (oooh... evil!!! evil are north korea, iran and iraq right?)

 

Now you wonder why people claim that your country belongs to Satan or why during our great period of propesrity under a rule of a government puppet to yours people threw molotovs on citibank, kidnapped your ambassador, or killed real-life US citizens.

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

 

while Speeder is obviously "sick and disturbed" with his decapitation wishes, I'm curious to find out why does US need to invade countries for resources if they are the "greatest country in the world"?

from this point of view, US is nothing more than a bully taking pocket money from all the other kids. I think that war can be avoided if all americans would be, and I quote MasterAssassin again, "sick of watching the country be the world's savior". unfortunately and realistically, wars will not be avoided. you (americans) like saying this openly (as you need to put your conscience to a rest and justify your country's actions) but if you were to pay triple for your gas (and everything related to it like food, clothing and everything transported across the country) like we do in Europe, then you'd fully support the war. now, do you realistically think that no matter what kind of politicians rule the White House, they would avoid a war and risk having the prices tripled? people would crucify them and a civil war will likely start. the reasons USA is viewed as bad as it is in Europe, is that you benefit the most, while producing the least. why is there a swine flu in Mexico? many US-based companies have out-sourced their operations in Mexico. now, all of a sudden, Mexico is not safe and reliable as a business location any more. the solution? come back to USA where it's safe, where we keep things under control. if this is Obama's plan for an economical revival, lol, it's the same sick and disturbed behaviour, but it will probably work. oh, and just in case someone wishes to argue on gas prices in Europe, check this link

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/gas1.html

so ya, I'm paying a lot for gas and not just gas, electricity too. I will now show you how and why Europeans think differently. I have two options. Either limit my needs and keep the costs low or not, but if I don't, I'll have to pay for what I consume and this usually means I will have to produce more or work more. I personally have chosen to work more and pay for everything, than limit my needs, but I see many ppl taking the other road. across the ocean, you're all inclined to consume more and more, not caring how much it really costs or if you can really afford everything. you buy everything on credit, stop paying when you get overloaded with debt and then blame others for your mistakes. is this healthy thinking? nope, but again, is anything healthy in the US? I'm watching a program on Discovery Science about a town in Kansas hit by a tornado (greensmthing). just lately they thought about building better, eco-friendly buildings with good foundations meant to resist a tornado. lol, we do this in Europe since...for ever. and there are no tornados here. why? because we invest in things that last. you invest in things which go down in a year or two and then the inssurance company pays. then things again go down next year and the inssurance company pays again. until when do you think this kind of an attitude can last? I'll tell you. until the money ends and they did. there's a crysis, u know? and u're to blame for it. so, USA? the greatest country in the world? lol, I wish I could laugh or even smile, but after reading all the news and realizing the bad situation you're all in, all I feel is pitty. I wish I could do smthing to help, but I don't think there's smthing to do. not by me anyway. it's all in your hands and unless u're not willing to change, you'll probably rebuild it again, just to have it destroyed 50-100 years down the road. why? because what you build does not last. do that and your kids and everyone else down the road will thank you for it.

sorry for the large blocks of text. anyway, just to be ontopic, if Atomic Games was sincere on the insurgents helping them, then why not provide in the game's credits the names of ALL the marines, insurgents and civilians who died in those six days. the army can provide a list and the insurgents, if they are really speaking to insurgents, also know who and when died. regarding civilians, this might be somewhat difficult to get and it will probably not be a final list. I'd really appreciate if all these names were included in the game's credits as a proof of what war is capable of and as a warning for future generations.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

Speeder you are a sick and disturbed person. The fact that you would actually want to simulate the decapitation of innocent people who had nothing to do with our government's actions is precisely the reason why I hate most foreigners. Your arrogant, jealous, bitter, and thankless. An annoying country with a big stick? Well personally I'm sick of watching my country be the world's savior and bail every other country out and get no thanks for it. I say let the rest of the world self destruct and don't come begging for our help either. We are the greatest country in the world. Don't like it? TOUGH!!!! maybe if you weren't still stuck in the stone age you might have a third of the success we have had.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

this is a serious question

but when was the last time the US (single-handedly) "bailed out" a country?

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

Like the flag in the joystick shows, this blog is US centered...

 

As is the users...

 

And in fact telling US people that you asked their enemies something, is bad PR there.

But it is good PR everywhere else.

Seriously, I am a person that dislike war, if the government obliged me to fight a war, most likely I would do my best to avoid it, unless that war was against the US, I would happily go there and blast them, not because I hate US people, but because US deserves to lose a war, here we see the US as a annoying country with a big stick that keep meddling with our affairs and other people affairs, it is a annoying country that has lists of countries that should copy their laws (ie: see another post about Canada getting listed in countries that need to change copyright laws), it is a annoying country that wages war to change another country government (seriously, this is one of the kind of war that is totally wrong, you should fight for like, territory, resources, whatever, not to change one government to one allied to you or whatever), it is a country that has more soldiers outside than inside it (thus proving that the military dept shoould be named offense, not defense in the US), and the list go on...

I am my friend on my country, are happy to know that the game has insurgent data, and if we are allowed to play as insurgents and decapitate US reporters, we would love it.

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

Although I don't think that they were going to handle the game properly, I do believe that such a game could be done well.  I hope that one day we can do a survival horror game based on something horrific like the holocaust.  The developers would probably want to talk to survivors as well as people on the other side (Nazis). Unfortunately, the gaming world isn't ready for something like that and the failed PR of Six days in Fallujah only compounds that problem.

I liken the marketing and PR failure of this game akin to taking the movie "Schindler's List" and having the people behind Mountain Dew ads promote it.  Also unfortunately, this is a "Mountain Dew" industry and not an "Amnesty International" (they have great ads) one.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

Hmm. As far as the entire game idea goes I think it was a good idea that could have been handled better.

As far as the corresponding with insurgents goes, as long as they weren't paying them I don't see an issue. God forbid we get both sides of the story rather then just the candy coated "America is always the good guy" crud we hear from the mass media already.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

While i had no interest in this game i do have to say that is sad that Six Days in Fallujah gets canned just for being based on the conflict.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Insurgents

While it might be bad PR, if atomic really is trying to build a serious (with a small s) game to explore the battle then they SHOULD be talking to at least a few people from the other side of the conflict.

I am also getting a little annoyed at the "OMG insurgents are evil!" hype that I've been hearing.  Yes, they are fighting the US which is bad for us.  But the US has a long history of using insurgents of it's own and many of the tactics being employed by the insurgents in iraq came specificly from techniques the learned (dirrectly or indirrectly) from the US for fighting Russia.

 

Re: Insurgents

I was about to post something like this, but I decided to read the existing comments first and, lo and behold, someone has already said it.

I'm not too familiar with the myriad of WWII games, but surely somebody, at some point, has consulted with a former Nazi or German soldier to get some kind of information, details, perspective on a situation, whatever.

While I certainly do not condone or agree with the insurgents' actions, I also don't think we should bury our heads in the sand and try to pretend that they are not human beings with their own motivations and reasons, whether good or bad, for what they are doing.  Dehumanizing them in our minds can only prolong the conflict, if anything.  I don't think there can be any kind of lasting peace without understanding.  Vilifying someone for trying to gain and share such an understanding is something I would expect of the mass media, but I'm a little disappointed to see it here.

Re: Insurgents

If nothing else, when people are doing someting so alien seeming yet have the same basic wetware the rest of us have.. understanding WHY is really useful.

For instance.. you would be amazed how many insurgent's primary reason is lack of better employment.  Troublemakers come in, say that they will pay you and support your family if you die, in an area with massive unemployment? Lots of people will fight with that kind of benifits package.

It is also an easy one to dismantle... give them better options (i.e. employment) and the fighting force starts to disolve.

Another example is that the external entities are funneling support to traditional leaders that have been displaced.  Clan heads and the like.  The local leaders are mostly interested in power for themselves and their families and thus take the best deal they are given.  One problem with the US and central government has been a creation of a feeling of helplessness and decreasing importance of these people.  The solution? Teach them how to run for local council government and get the national government to give authority to local councils.... so all of a sudden the local insurgents have a vested stake in not fighting.

So "why" is pretty damn important ^_^

Re: Insurgents

 One of the major differences is "talking to insurgents" and "ANNOUNCING that you are talking to insurgents"... the former allows you to make a more accurate gaming depiction of what happened, the later does the same but it comes with terrible PR. Just because you use a such methods to help make the game does not mean you have to tell anyone about it... its one of those things that probably would have been better left in the dark until AFTER the controversy passed, the game was released, and the game proved itself to be better than what it's critics claimed it to be... Announcing that they were talking to insurgents after being blasted by tons of bad PR was like rubbing salt into their wounds at that point.

Re: Insurgents

*nods* I agree that it was bad PR.

But I also find it intersting that it is bad PR to admit they are doing something that I feel they should be doing.  Something interesting about PR in general is how it tries to disconnect reality from perception and I think that PR has become so common that people just do not think in terms of reality nearly enough.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

I think GP is showing a disheartening bias and emotional reaction to this.. especially centreing around the issue of talking to insurgents. I've always had alot of respect for this site, but it seems like GP is joining in with the usual media attitude of being unable to detach their feelings from their stories. I get that Dennis doesn't like the idea, that is unimportant, media should be neutral to be reliable.

However... I really don't think, much as they may have had noble intent, this company was the one to take video games to this next stage.

What I think we need is a company to come out that has a history for making good combat simulation games, and create a series of games based on recent military things like this. The first gulf war, the Northern Ireland struggles, Yugoslavia, etc.. and slowly work up to this current conflict. Instead of just making games, make simulations.. make them using accurate information from all sides, without judgement. Give them two modes, game mode, and real mode, so they can be enjoyed and still be a game for those who don't want a documentary.

Sadly, I think this game has done more harm than good for the possibility of something like that coming out.

"We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies... Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

"We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies... Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

This will never happen.  Truly accurate war simulations aren't fun, won't sell, and certainly won't build a reputation for the company that will support them.

A war game that is meant to truly simulate the experience of war will pretty much have to be relegated to the indie game scene as more of a work of art than a mainstream game.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, check out Atomic Games "Close Combat" RTS series.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

There are always companies like Matrix Games, VBS2, etc.

The problem with realistic and "S"erious games is they tend to sell poorly so they rarely go to the general public, but they do get produced.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

 I honestly think that GP is focusing on the wrong questions. Would it be better for them to hide the fact that they received information from insurgents?

Honestly... for a site that covers issues like these on a constant basis I'm just a little bothered by - what seems to me - lack of respect for what they're trying to do. If they truly are trying to create something compelling and relevant, then why not applaud their efforts?

I wonder... how long exactly was it after the towers went down that we heard the first song about it? What about stories or books? Movies? This is the same issue that this site has been covering for YEARS.

Let's forget about the execution of such a loaded title. The execution, in my opinion, is likely going to fall way short of what people in general consider to be relevant and compelling. So even though I know I'd probably be disappointed by the title, I can't help but commend their efforts. That is, if they're trying to do what they say they are. If they really are receiving some kind of information from insurgents then hopefully that would only make the events that occur in the game be more accurate. Sometimes you need to cross that line in order to tell a story that is objective.

If this is just another action title, then they shouldn't speak about it as if they're pushing the medium of video games to a higher level.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

"If they truly are trying to create something compelling and relevant, then why not applaud their efforts?"

"Let's forget about the execution of such a loaded title. The execution, in my opinion, is likely going to fall way short of what people in general consider to be relevant and compelling. So even though I know I'd probably be disappointed by the title, I can't help but commend their efforts."

This is not a subject where you can get an A for Effort.  If they truly wanted to do justice to the subject, then yes, it damn well does matter if they fail in the execution.  It matters on principle, and it really matters when it comes to how this impacts the standing of the gaming industry in the court of public opinion.

The fact that (in my opinion) they were doomed to fail their stated goal from the start is irrelevant to the fact that they completely and utterly screwed the pooch on PR for this project.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

Picasso had to learn how to paint before he could produce works that have been revered for ages. You can't expect artists to get everything right the first time they try to do something profound and meaningful.

There is a growing process. If we as an industry aren't willing to move the medium in another direction... how can we even be bothered by the reactions of mainstream America when they treat the industry like we're toy manufacturers?

As with everything in life... you gotta walk before you can run.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

 "Would it be better for them to hide the fact that they received information from insurgents?"

Yes it would have... they is something to be gained from receiving information from them, but much less to gain from announcing it. when it comes down to it it was just bad PR, coming out at a time when the game was getting blasted with bad PR; all it did was add fuel to the fire. 

Sure, the intent of the announcement was for Atomic to tell people that they were taking the game very seriously, but that is NOT the kind of news a lot of people want to hear... all it does was backfire, and Atomic must of been a little short sighted not to see the backfire coming... if they were to announce such a thing, they should have wanted until after the game was released, instead of early in production

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

Most of the info from people who played the game says it was a generic cover-based shooter with freakin' regenerating health.  That does not bode well for a game with a real message or serious way of dealing with the topic.

True, games should be able to address these events just like movies/music do, but imagine the outrage if Blackhawk Down was a comedy or a Rambo film. 

Plus, this topic is a bit too polarizing in an already divided country: The right wing folk would demand for the US soldiers to be portrayed as nothing less than super-human (and probably Christian) saving the doe-eyed citizens from ugly, sub-human terrorists.  Left wingers would want the insurgents portrayed as misunderstood freedom fighters battling overly-macho American soldiers who rape and pillage at every corner- thereby justifying the beheadings as a means to get their point across.  

Mix that with a public & government who still are distrustful of videogames, and you have a situation very few publishers would be cool with.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

I somehow doubt you complained when brothers in arms or cod used regenerating health.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, Questions

I agree with everything the CEO says. I simply continue to wonder if his studio is the one to make such a game.

Maybe this is that game; but I also want to know why the studio has gone about such a bassakwards way of pulicizing it.

If they truly had this sort of ground-breaking game, surely they could have done somthing at least a little bit level-headed to get it published without making every sort of freshman-level mistake that's in the record books. It's like they're trying to emulate Funcom with the launch of AoC (based on what they learned from AO) instead of doing the dumbest things possible to draw attention to themselves.

PS -  I should probably go to sleep now.

 

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

I'd like to know myself. I'd also like to hear a word from those Marines. I want to see this game make it, but Atomic isn't making it look good. We want to know.

Re: Developer Addresses Fallujah Game Cancellation, ...

 Most gamers think that terrorists make lousy games, so I agree that it was the nail in the coffin.

 
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NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldEZacharyKnight : Lemme ask you a question. We have people who cling to walls, people who fire lasers from their eyes, people who can shapeshift....and yet fabric needs to be upheld to RL physics?09/17/2014 - 6:54pm
james_fudgebody paint?09/17/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
james_fudgeAlso http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/17/2014 - 4:29pm
Andrew EisenI read the Kotaku story. Nowhere does it say anything close to "Gamers are white bigoted sexist losers." It's commenting specifically on the crap being slung at people discussing gender issues in games. So, what's the problem?09/17/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenYeah, I can imagine Spiderwoman posed like in your second link.09/17/2014 - 4:00pm
Andrew EisenThat's not the same pose. Spiderman (who is wearing an actual outfit rather than body paint) is crouched low to the ground. Kinda like a spider! Spiderwoman has her butt up in the air like she's waiting to be mounted.09/17/2014 - 3:59pm
 

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