Gamers slam 'dehumanising' Fallujah battle video game

Gamers slam 'dehumanising' Fallujah battle video game
A first-person shooter game depicting one of the US' most bloody battles of the Iraq War is set for release later this year.
3 min read
25 March, 2021
Six Days in Fallujah's developers boast that the game will bring a 'realistic experience' [Screenshot]

Developers behind a once-shelved video game depicting the bloodiest battle following the US-led invasion of Iraq have released a trailer ahead of its release, drawing a barrage of criticism from activists and gamers.

Six Days in Fallujah, a first-person shooter game, recreates  the Second Battle of Fallujah - a 2004 battle which saw hundreds of civilians killed as US-led coalition forces clashed with Sunni insurgents and Al-Qaeda militants. 

The six-minute trailer released on Tuesday shows scenes from the game interspersed with testimonies from US soldiers who fought in the battle.

It boasts the use of procedural generation, which constantly changes the game's landscape for a realistic feel.

"Marines and soldiers never knew what was waiting for them behind each door. And if you want a realistic experience, neither can you," the trailer's narrator says as two characters from the game are seen searching a house. 

"So just like actual combat, you'll never know what to expect," he continues.

The trailer has drawn criticism for its portrayal of Arabs and alleged glorification of war.

Rami Ismail, a Netherlands-based game developer and podcaster, slammed the game as dehumanising of Arabs, Middle Easterners and Muslims.

"They have literally randomised the city of Fallujah so that 'you never know what's behind the door,'" he wrote. "Have to admit that heroically murdering Muslims/Arab/Middle Eastern folks but make it procedural is new. We are literally not human enough to hand-design anymore," Ismail said on Twitter thread response to the trailer.

"Six Days in Fallujah is a 2001-design tactical squad FPS with insincere marketing about 'telling the true story' and 'you had to be there' while literally having Call of Duty damage vignettes and procedural generation of war crime victims," he later concluded.

Ismail also reiterated criticism that the game makes no mention of American troops' use of White Phosphorus, an incendiary substance banned for use as a weapon by the Geneva Convention.

Addressing the white phosphorus issue earlier this year, gaming executive Peter Tatme said he wanted the game to "bring people closer together".

"We're not asking players to commit atrocities in the game," Tatme was quoted by Games Industry as saying.

"Are we effectively sanitising events by not doing that? I don't think that we need to portray the atrocities in order for people to understand the human cost. We can do that without the atrocities."

Six Days in Fallujah was initially announced in 2009 by Tatme's now-defunct Atomic Games and Japanese gaming firm Konami but was pulled in 2010 after criticism from activists.

Now under Tatme's newest publishing venture, Victura, the controversial first-person shooter is set for release later in 2021.

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