Game Developer Considers the Politics of Six Days in Fallujah

The controversial Six Days in Fallujah video game project has drawn reactions from military veterans, families of war dead, peace groups, and pundits. But EALA’s Borut Pfeifer is the first actual game developer to weigh in on the Six Days flap.

Writing for his Plush Apocalypse blog, Pfeifer, whose credits include Scarface: The World is Yours and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, questions a Konami exec’s claim that, "We’re not trying to make social commentary. We’re not pro-war. We’re not trying to make people feel uncomfortable. We just want to bring a compelling entertainment experience.”

Pfeifer comments:

The notion that you can make a game set in modern day Iraq without making a political statement is complete nonsense…

If you set out to avoid commenting on the war, in the best case you’d end up with a theme closer to Black Hawk Down, that the horrors of war are survived only through the brotherhood shared between the men fighting…

Such a theme can still influence someone’s political opinion. Perhaps people interpret it as highlighting the need to support our troops more… Or perhaps it is interpreted that the toll on human lives is unacceptable and must be stopped no matter the ramifications…

If you set out to be as unbiased as possible and truly include all perspectives, that is also making a hefty statement in American political culture…

Via: GameBiz Blog

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27 comments

  1. Kojiro says:

    I think this is BS.  Konami was out to make money, not make a political statement, end of story.  There is two sides to every piece of art, the artist and the consumer.  If the consumer sees politics, then so be it, it still doesn’t mean Konami had a political commentary motive.  It was all about the Benjamins.

  2. londinio says:

    People in war are just people in war. Civilians and soldiers alike. I don’t think soldiers consider their comrades when bullets go flying. It’s more like; "good luck soldier"

  3. olstar18 says:

    If you look at regenerating health to represent the enemies focus on you then it does make it more realistic. You run around shooting and they will shoot at you more and if you hide for a while they will have to focus on someone else that is shooting at them right that minute. And then there is the question of why did you not complain about it before this game.

  4. lumi says:

    "Since when did regenerating health somehow make a game or a shooter less genuine?"

    I…don’t understand how you can even type those words.

    genuin: possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real

    How is regenerating health in any way, shape, or form authentic or real, when compared to the experience being simulated by shooters?

    "That said… for anyone to suggest that this game ever had the potential to be the industry’s citizen kane, or anything even remotely close… kind of makes my brain wince."

    This, at least, we agree on.

  5. lumi says:

    "No, it’s really not.  The kind of realism you seem to be looking for would mean that any time you die, the game is outright over.  Your gun would jam and you’d have to toss it (or have it blow up in your hands and potentially kill you).  Your squad mates would get scared, stop cold, and cry to go home.  All sorts of inconvenient things that ultimately ruin the value of a game, which is entertainment, not simulation to the point of frustration."

    Thank you for proving my point for me.  All this crap you’re saying would "ultimately ruin the value of the game" is EXACTLY the crap that made up the experience of being there.

    Atomic claims that they want to give players that experience, and I called them out on it.  As soon as they made that claim, they were putting "simulation to the point of frustration" over entertainment.  Which is why I also said that they were doomed to fail one way or the other.

  6. hayabusa75 says:

    What’s your idea of a top-flight FPS, then?  Goldeneye?

    "De minimus non curat lex"

  7. DarkSaber says:

    CoD 4: Deeply average? Yes.

    Halo 1-3? HIGHLY crappy.

    ————————————————–

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

  8. DarkSaber says:

    And you are a prime example of the pampered, spoilt, wanna be held by the hand gamer that cries TOO FRUSTRATING when you can’t pull more health out of your arse and regen.

    ————————————————–

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

  9. Gaming Observer says:

    This statement is so wrong that it simply makes more sense to spank you than debate you.

  10. Gaming Observer says:

    "It’s a huge deal when the developers are claiming that the game was meant to let the players experience what it was like in Fallujah."

    No, it’s really not.  The kind of realism you seem to be looking for would mean that any time you die, the game is outright over.  Your gun would jam and you’d have to toss it (or have it blow up in your hands and potentially kill you).  Your squad mates would get scared, stop cold, and cry to go home.  All sorts of inconvenient things that ultimately ruin the value of a game, which is entertainment, not simulation to the point of frustration.

  11. Gaming Observer says:

    "and crappy shooters with regenerating health?"

    Call of Duty 4 – crappy indeed?  No.  Halo 1-3.  Personally I don’t like Halo, but you couldn’t call those games crappy either.  So, I don’t really see your point.

    Since when did regenerating health somehow make a game or a shooter less genuine?  Regardless of the game’s context, you’re splitting hairs sir, between the ridiculous and the slightly insane.

    Whether its regenerating health (CoD/Halo), incrimental health (Quake/Half-Life), or a combination of the two (Riddick), it really doesn’t matter.  Getting shot to hell and surviving, or saving your game, dying, and restarting where you were slaughtered, are all definitely NOT functions of the real-life battlefield.

    That said… for anyone to suggest that this game ever had the potential to be the industry’s citizen kane, or anything even remotely close… kind of makes my brain wince.

  12. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Regeneration is a quick fix ,devs don’t have to balance or do anythign subtel they jsut toss it and don;t have to worry about deep level design to hide stuff or fun and intresting weapons its all bland generic sht that gets old fast….

     


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com

  13. lumi says:

    It’s a huge deal when the developers are claiming that the game was meant to let the players experience what it was like in Fallujah.

  14. hellfire7885 says:

    People really need to stop harping about that. So it’s got regen health, BIG DEAL. It’s either that, or the game getting returned due to the frustration of not being able to complete it.


  15. wisdo says:

     The majority of commenters seem to be unaware that the Fallujah massacre was worse than My Lai Massacre in terms of civilians killed.

    The combat ROE for the day were suspended by mid afternoon, with soldiers being ordered to destroy any building with movement. One american commander informed his troops not to worry about shooting Iraqis because: 1. They worship Satan and 2. They are all responsible for 911.

    So a game based on these events, that is in any way balanced, should show the atrocities that were comitted, the use of White phospherous in a built up area, crowded with civilians.

    It makes me sick that so many Americans refer to Iraqis fighting the invasion and occupation of their OWN country as "terrorists". The logic just escapes me. Iraq did not declare war on america, did not attack america, posed no threat to america. Yet america invades and destroys the country, in a brutal fashion – with many cases of rape and pillage, with huge civilian casualties, and with a malicious and vengeful attitude which allowed torture and abuse of prisoners. And yet you call the Iraqis "terrorists"?  WHAT DRUGS ARE YOU PEOPLE ON?

     

    Lastly, If you’re going to have a games based on a recent massacres – Like "Gaza: operation, bomb a captive city to pieces or Rwanda; hack to victory it might be a good idea to interview the victims, not complain that their point of view might be included.

     

    have a read of:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/22/usa.iraq1

    And if you can stomach the footage of melted babies:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1134673789364675735&q=fallujah+hidden&pl=true

     

     

  16. TBoneTony says:

    With any game, we may all play the same game but we have verious different opinions of what that game might be trying to tell us.

    This is all about Visual interpretation and Visual Perception.

    No matter what you try to do, there will always be people who see that same object in a different light.

     

    I’d say, allot Take-Two to publish the game and allow them to take the controversy head on. Because some day, a game like Six Days in Fallujah will come again and again and the mainstream media will always cry foul just to create newsworthy stories.

     

    But how the Videogame Industry will get though this is though persistance and not allowing the opinions of other people outside of the game development to interupt their creativity and their freedom to make games that they want to make.

     

    So if a game is fine by the ESRB, it should be ok for sale, nobody else can have any more influence on a game other than the Developers/Piublishers and the ESRB themselves.

     

     

  17. asmodai says:

    It’s only because it’s current enough to be in peoples thoughts and that the "good guys" might be portrayed doing "not good things" that this has caused so much furor…

    It’s not as clean cut as "heroic Ally vs despised Nazi", even though there were plenty of Ally forces who committed atrocities, and plenty of German soldiers that were good men who served their country at the behest of politicians (reminds you of the current Iraq campaign really).

    Most people don’t want truth, they want the pretty illusion.  These are all good reasons to make the game and publish it.  Confronting entertainment is still entertainment.

  18. hellfire7885 says:

    Too bad the censors won this one, I’d like to have at least seen a game based in a modern conflict.


  19. JDKJ says:

    If you set out to be as unbiased as possible and truly include all perspectives, that is also making a hefty statement in American political culture . . . . and running the risk of being looked at as if you’ve completely lost your mind or you’re from some other planet.

     

  20. Ratros says:

    Too bad this game won’t be published because of a little controversy.  They shoulda gone to rockstar, those guys live on that kinda crap.  Still the stupidity behind the whole thing boggles my mind. 

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  21. Vake Xeacons says:

    Agreed. And yes, you can’t make a game like this without politcal commentary. Doesn’t have to be pro-war. Most realistic war stories, books and movies (All Quiet on the Western Front), are solid anti-war. And Six Days seems to be trying for that.

  22. DarkSaber says:

    it could take the whole world by storm and show that gaming is not just wii bowling and wii-boxing

    and crappy shooters with regenerating health?

    ————————————————–

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

  23. insanejedi says:

    It’s really unfortunate that this game will probebly never be released as it could have been gaming’s Citizen Kane if all the peices fit together. It has the concept, it has the controversy, and it has the input. If executed properly, it could take the whole world by storm and show that gaming is not just wii bowling and wii-boxing but an artistic medium. Too bad we will never know if it could have done that.

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