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Petition to Stop Six Days in Fallujah “Normalizing the Mass Murder of Iraqis” Launched

Six Days in Fallujah

UPDATE: This article was orginally posted stating it was created by Osama Dorias, the Lead Game Designer on Gotham Knights. While this was shared by him on his Twitter, the petition was created by Hala Alsalman. The original article has now been corrected. 

A petition has been released demanding Six Days in Fallujah be cancelled or banned; as it would encourage mass shootings and promote the murder of Iraqis.

As previously reportedSix Days in Fallujah was originally announced in 2009 by Atomic Games and Konami. While set to release in 2010, the game was cancelled by Konami shortly after its announcement due to backlash over its subject matter.

The original and new incarnation follows a fireteam during the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004; and in collaboration with over 100 Marines, Soldiers, and Iraqi civilians who contributed their stories and eyewitness accounts from the battle.

The game seeks to be a documentary as much as a video game, and promises to provide gamers with a realistic and authentic portrayal of the events of the Second Battle of Fallujah from people who experienced it firsthand.

The battle itself took place in 2004; where Iraqi insurgents including Al Qaeda controlled city of Fallujah. While documentaries claimed the US had used white phosphorous as a chemical weapon against civilians (rather than illumination or a smokescreen), the US military has denied this, using it against combatants [1, 2]. As of this time of writing, no charges have been brought against the US.

 

Now, Hala Alsalman has started a Change.org petition to ban the game. Alsalman states the game “promotes the mass murder of Iraqis by American invaders.” She further argues the Iraq war was an illegal invasion and an “international war crime.” 

“Bombing, shooting, and humiliating the Iraqi people is being normalized in this sick video game,” Alsalman argues, “which will also inevitably breed a new generation of mass shooters in America and brainwash gamers into thinking RACISM IS OK.” At this time of writing the petition has 2,638 signatures.

In March 2019, Oxford University released a “definitive” study, declaring “no link” between violent video games, and violent tendencies in teenagers. The report aligns with the findings of several other studies already conducted before [1234567].

Other citations Alsalman uses includes IGN Middle East’s coverage of the game [1, 2, 3] and Kotaku‘s own editorial condemning the gameplay reveal trailer as “one-sided propaganda for the U.S. war machine,” and IGN for exclusively revealing it. They state IGN’s description of the game is “free publicity.” You can find that trailer below.

Alongside interviews with the developers and serving soldiers however, IGN published an article entirely filled with interviews of those condemning or having doubt of the game’s intentions. UPDATE: One of the developer’s names was removed from IGN’s coverage.

Therein, Anita Sarkeesian claimed those saying a video game is not political is “defense most often used to push the most regressive, conservative, and oppressive narratives.” Lebanese-Arab game developer “Alex,” and a Muslim game developer who wished to remain anonymous also expressed their doubt as the game as nothing more than pro-US military propaganda.

Yifat Shaik, an Iraqi-Jewish game development professor, also argued this of the game’s marketing. He claims the game’s images and gifs on Vitura’s Twitter do not show any enemies; thus promoting the player and US soldiers as fighting a “faceless enemy.”

Another anonymous developer also criticized developer Highwire Games’ lack of Iraqi employees, and was skeptical the game had no US military backing or intention to be used as a recruitment tool. For example, publisher Victura founder Peter Tamte reportedly used to create training simulators for US Marines.

John Phipps, a veteran involved in the Second Battle of Fallujah stated “There is a massive unwillingness on the part of American media, no matter what form of media it is, to portray US soldiers as the antagonists or the bad guys, which, in that instance, we were.” 

Phipps also doubted the game could offer a realistic portrayal of the conflict or any battlefield “And if you somehow figure out a way to do that, you need to get rid of it because it’s, quite frankly, a product that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

 

Alsalman also cites the game’s demo via Kotaku, where room layouts “will constantly change to capture the feeling of not knowing what you’ll find every time you step into a new room,” and the demo ends just as the player enters a room where a family of four are hiding. Real-life documentary footage afterwards then shows a resident of Fallujah explaining how their father refused to leave the city during the conflict.

Associated Press (via Fox News) reported in 2004 that the US military received reports that insurgents would drop their weapons and hide among civilians and refugees. As such, US troops were reportedly instructed to turn back any men aged 15 to 55.

 Six Days in Fallujah launches late 2021 for Windows PC (via Steam), and unannounced consoles.

Image: Steam

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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.