Six Days in Fallujah has reportedly been dropped from the publishing scedule by Konami

Six Days in Fallujah has reportedly been dropped from the publishing schedule by Konami

Reports this morning have appeared that Konami has quietly dropped controversial title “Six Days in Fallujah” from its publishing schedule. That’s a fairly fast turnaround, given it only announced it under two weeks ago. What’s odd is that it was announced in the full knowledge that it would court controversy, and indeed seemed to be relying on it to an extent to promote the game, so it can hardly have come as a surprise when it did, er, stir up a controversy.

A little like the furore over Manhunt 2, one can’t help but wonder whether the subject matter was masking a mediocre game, forcing the anti-censorship brigade to jump to the defence of something that was less than the incisive examination of the subject matter. Because here’s the thing. It was a real and recent conflict in which people lost their lives, and as such, it belittles us to trivialise it. However, we would not have the outcry if Six Days in Fallujah were a book or a film, so it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. If Six Days in Fallujah, the videogame, were to allow the gamer a thought provoking experience that questioned the events and the motives and methods involved, if it were to be a gameumentary (a completely new genre I just made up) then we have every right to cry censorship and be outraged, but let’s be honest, no game has ever come close to holding up a mirror in that way. We don’t even have agreement that games are art by developers, and you could argue that it is precisely for this reason that games like Six Days in Fallujah should be created, but only if they genuinely address the subject matter.

While I’m a big believer that games get unfair press – see the post on Violent Videogames made me do it – we should also be honest to ourselves. If the game had been “Escape from the Twin Towers”, an RPG that has you racing out of the towers as planes smashed into them, and maybe even allowing you to play the “other side” and pilot a plane, there wouldn’t have been any uproar, because no publisher in their right or wrong mind would have gone within a hundred miles of publishing it. Knowing that, then you have to question whether Six Days in Fallujah should have ever got a publishing deal in the first place, or else it’s just double standards, isn’t it?