Atomic Games President Peter Tamte is still hopeful that Six Days in Fallujah will one day be made, but says he won’t “fictionalize” the game in order to make it more palatable to publishers.
Most of you probably know the story of Six Days in Fallujah by now. Atomic Games set out to make a “documentary wargame” based on the November 2004 battle in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, a third-person shooter that featured input from over a dozen U.S. Marines involved in the battle and documentary-style interviews spread throughout the game. Naturally, the outrage over making a game out of a major battle in a war that’s still smoldering came fast and furious, bringing the project to a screeching halt. Atomic Games has since moved on to other things, but Tamte said he nonetheless remains hopeful for Six Days.
Rumors surfaced earlier this year that the game was almost complete, when Atomic lost its publishing deal, but Tamte told VG247 that only a few levels are actually done and that the studio needs funding in order to finish it. But he also made it clear that he would not “intentionally fictionalize” the game in order to make that happen.
“Six Days takes place during the most relevant event of an entire generation,” he said. “Some people suggested, ‘Why not just make it Six Days in Bullcrapistan?‘ We could have done that, but that would have taken away one of the reasons why we made the game, which was to recreate the specific stories of some people who are our heroes – I can’t do that in Bullcrapistan because it loses its context.”
He also had some choice words for publishers who he claims “want to keep doing what we’re doing” despite slipping videogame sales. Some of that decline can be blamed on the economy, he said, but some of it is also results from the industry’s refusal to do anything new. “Consumers are starting to say, ‘Hey, what you’re selling – I’m not buying’,” he continued. “I have conversations with senior people at publishers all across the world, and they’re telling me that videogames are trivial, and we’re going to keep making trivial games. Someone needs to slap them on the side of the head and say, ‘Hey, guys, sales are going down. Something is wrong’.”
Tamte’s idea is to “experiment with new categories of games,” which is what he had in mind for Six Days. But he added that the usual argument in favor of the game – that videogames deserve to be taken more seriously as a medium and can treat controversial subject matter with at least as much depth and respect as conventional forms of entertainment – isn’t relevant to the problem of actually getting it made. “It has to be made into a purely commercial argument, ignoring all the arguments about the importance of the medium, and the things that we can do for consumers that can’t be done via passive forms of entertainment – because most of the publishers are interested in the economic argument,” he said.
Atomic is currently working on the multiplayer FPS Breach, which is slated for release next year on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.