Several weeks ago I was getting ready to write a blog in regards to why it was a good thing that Konami was going to publish Atomic Games first person shooter Six Days in Fallujah. The game was to be based on the events of the second battle of Fallujah during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unfortunately as I was going to begin, the word had dropped that Konami decided to no longer publish this title as a result of mounting criticism from veterans groups and others sensitive to Atomic's portrayal of the conflict. Now I can not defend freedom like the brave men and women in our armed forces do day in and day out, but I can defend this game, and for better or for ill state why it is important we have the opportunity to decide for ourselves the fate of Six Days in Fallujah
The Call of Duty franchise Is easily one of the greatest first person shooter franchises of our time. All but one of the titles in the series have taken place during World War II, the most important and Earth-shaping conflict in recent memory. Still to this day many still carry the memories of those events, yet their has been no significant backlash to these titles, rather the purchasing public is begging for more. Even Call of Duty: World at War's depiction of extreme violence, be it in your face or unleashing a flamethrower on your enemy did nothing to slow the franchise momentum, rather it accelerated it. Yet Six Days of Fallujah felt the heat so harshly it will never see the light of day. Is it too soon? I argue the time is right now.
Now it may seem in the last paragraph I was down on Call of Duty, rather it is the opposite. I wanted to discuss it to make my point about Fallujah. When I started playing Call of Duty, it was with Call of Duty 2 on the Xbox 360. I was blown away at the time by its attention to detail and its portrayal of the events of World War II. For the first time in my life I became keenly aware of the sacrifices our soldiers went through defending our freedoms. I used that interest as a springboard to learn more about the conflict, to ask questions to what happened and why, and in the end have more respect and admiration for those who have served in the past, present, and future. Playing the game, you realize that this isn't exactly how it goes down as your health doesn't regenerate in real life, but it is just a way for us that get just a tiny glimpse or a feel for what those soldiers faced, to spark that interest and curiosity.
That is why we need Six Days in Fallujah more than ever, to reach those who may not watch the news on TV, or listen to the radio, or read the newspaper. Even if the game is just an adequate first person shooter that does nothing to push the genre forward, by the fact that is taking place in a theatre of operations that has such a profound effect on all our lives, this game could be the catalyst for some person out there to be awakened to what has and is going on in Iraq or Afghanistan. Think of it as the gateway drug to explore their countries involvement in wars that are going on to this day, and perhaps learn more about the sacrifices that have been made and are still being made today. That is why I think Infinity Ward dropped the ball a bit with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Such an incredible game with moments the likes of which we have never seen, but I always felt that the absence of a real-world middle east 'villain' took away from the games impact. I can imagine the difficulty they must have had, even with the decisions they made, in particular, the detonation of a nuclear device, but at the end of the day they still took the easy road out.
In conclusion, I hope that Six Days of Fallujah sees the light of day and makes it onto our gaming consoles. I myself was rather excited at the prospect, now in light of all the controversy I would like to hear and see what discussion would arise surrounding its release. As hey say, their is no such thing as bad publicity, I guarantee that because of the backlash and the news stories that followed, this game would sell through one million units in no time and be a guaranteed financial success. All we need at the end of the day is for one brave publisher to step forward.