- A petition to cancel Six Days in Fallujah has appeared on the Internet;
- It is signed not only by gamers, but also by some developers associated with the game industry;
- More and more journalists also express their opposition to the game.
The controversy surrounding Six Days in Fallujah emerged right after the announcement of the resuming of work on the game. It was not helped by the narration of the creators, who first claimed that they preferred to avoid any difficult topics, but then completely changed their minds. Subsequent announcements, including the first gameplay trailer, only added fuel to the fire. Some players, developers and journalists began to loudly demand the game's cancelation. Among those who signed the petition was Osama Dorias, the main designer of the upcoming Gotham Knights.
People who oppose the release of the game do not like the narrative shaped by the creators. Six Days in Fallujah is a game which focuses primarily on the fate of American marines engaged in military operations in Iraq. The form of the game is to be partly documentary in nature. The game will be accompanied by the statements of American soldiers who were eyewitnesses of the events. At the same time, the fragments of interviews that appeared in the game's trailer completely ignore the question of civilian experience in Fallujah. Some of the claims made there also turned out to be shocking for some internet users. Particularly negatively received were the words of one of the marines describing the clearing of houses. He said that the actions of the person who first enters a building should always be considered appropriate, as he is under a great deal of stress. Some have taken this as justification for random killings of civilians.
Rami Ismail, a developer of Iraqi descent, also drew attention to the way the experiences of the Americans were portrayed in contrast to those of the local population. He acknowledged that the game portrays soldiers as the most affected. They are the ones who have to face fear as well as death. However, the theme of civilian casualties was not emphasized in any way. The only moment in which the theme of local people was shown was when they were accused of not escaping from the war-torn city. According to Rami, this can be described as blaming the victims and dehumanizing the Iraqis.
According to many, the subject matter of the game has been handled in a bad way, not only by narrating it from the American perspective, but also by omitting important facts. Six Days in Fallujah is a game that focuses on the subject of a war that many consider illegal or at least unjustified. Furthermore, the Second Battle of Fallujah is an episode of the Iraq War that is simply incomplete to discuss without mentioning civilians. The fighting in the city caused great controversy due to the approximately 800 casualties among ordinary citizens, the footage of American soldiers killing wounded combatants, and the use of illegal weapons such as incendiary and depleted uranium projectiles. However, the developers have revealed that they do not intend to refer to these events. As stated by the CEO of the game's publisher Victura, Peter Tamte: "I don't want the search for sensationalism to distract from the main experience the game is supposed to bring."
Some internet users have also expressed their outrage at the actions players will be taking as part of the campaign in Six Days in Fallujah. Stepping into the shoes of U.S. Marines, the game will enable the players to clear out apartments that were, in fact, the homes of ordinary people. The system of random generation of buildings was also criticized. Such a solution would bring the suffering that Iraqis went through down to a roguelike game.
A tweet by journalist Alanah Pearce also added fuel to the fire. She did not comment in any way on the controversy surrounding the game. On the contrary, she expressed her regret that she won't be able to do it together with Rami Ismail, which was her original plan. However, it turns out that possible criticism of Six Days in Fallujah could negatively affect decisions on her visa. In response to one of the comments under the post, she merely wrote: "Three different people have told me not to do it. You have to be careful about the American military."
The growing backlash, the petition, and the suspicious matters experienced by journalists like Alanah Pearce guarantee that the controversy surrounding Six Days in Fallujah will be with us for a long time to come. The game is set for release in 2021, but the creators have yet to reveal a specific date. With protests growing, one has to start wondering if the game will once again face an obstacle on the way to its release.