Tough one this and quite surprising too in some ways but first person shooter fans will shed a tear today as Konami announces that they will not distribute the Iraq war epic Six Days in Fallujah.
Funnily enough there was a whopping great out cry about the game giving a firm answer to the question of how soon is too soon? The answer is apparently four years when you’re still fighting the same war.
I say it’s surprising because the cynical side of me though the media circus of a few weeks back was just some kind of PR stunt to make people buy the game but if it was it’s backfired in a rather large way. Scores of ex-servicemen complained despite the title going out of its way to use authentic materials for a full account of what it was like to be there and now it appears that all the work was for nought.
British Army officers are calling for a Konami video game to be banned because it’s set during the Second Battle of Fallujah which took place between 7th November and 23rd December 2004 in Iraq.
Six Days in Fallujah was developed using the photos, videos, memories and stories of the US Marines at the battle, known at the time as Operation Phantom Fury, and it’s intended for worldwide release on PS3 and Xbox next year.
Tim Collins OBE, a former army colonel told the Telegraph:
“It’s much too soon to start making video games about a war that’s still going on, and an extremely flippant response to one of the most important events in modern history.”
“It’s particularly insensitive given what happened in Fallujah, and I will certainly oppose the release of this game.”
With the war still going on it’s quite easy to see Mr Collin’s point but the president of the US firm developing the game, Atomic Games, said:
“For us, the challenge was how to present the horrors of war in a game that is entertaining, but also gives people insight into a historical situation in a way that only a video game can provide.”
“Our goal is to give people that insight, of what it’s like to be a Marine during that event, what it’s like to be a civilian in the city, and what it’s like to be an insurgent.”
It’s clearly a very delicate subject with the true test being exactly how well the game deals with the subject matter, how sensitively it shows the issues on both sides of the conflict and whether you’re able to play from the perspective of both the inhabitants of the city and the soldiers.
What I do know for sure is that until someone plays it, it seems a little early to go calling for a ban, particularly when it’s been effectively endorsed by people who were actually there. Doubtless more on this as the release draws near.