Rumor: Sony Considered Publishing Controversial ‘Six Days in Fallujah’

Sony might have once considered publishing Six Days in Fallujah, the super controversial shooter that focused on the real-life Second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq.

The reveal comes from David Jaffe, who tweeted about Sony developer Allan Becker, saying [emphasis added]:

Very proud this week of Allan Becker, my former Sony boss and the man who started Sony Santa Monica.*

He toots his own horn so damn rarely I bet the man doesn’t even know he has one to toot! 🙂 So allow me to do it for him:

A few years back, Allan left Sony Santa Monica to take over Sony’s Japan Studio after a very, very successful run as the SM studio head. When he was at Santa Monica he spearheaded a lot of amazing games, including bringing Gran Turismo PS2 to America (along with sir Taku, of course), TM:BLACK, WAR OF THE MONSTERS, FLOW, FLOWER, JOURNEY, KINETICA, and the GOD OF WAR franchise. He also was the guy who funded and supported LA NOIR for a long time before that game left Sony and went to RockStar, along with SIX DAYS IN FALLUJAH and bunch of other very imaginative, cool games that never came out but clearly carried the banner for ‘games as art/games-being-more-conceptually-meaningful-than-games-as-action-movies’.** He also made lots of earlier Sony hits as well (from Equinox to Skyblazer to Twisted Metal to Jet Moto).

Jaffe’s language isn’t totally clear that Becker funded Six Days while at Sony (hence this being a rumor), but considering Becker joined SCE in 1997 and hasn’t worked anywhere else, it’s unlikely he meant otherwise. Nevertheless, we have contacted Jaffe and will let you know if he responds.

Six Days in Fallujah was originally announced in 2009 (only 5 years after the actual event) as a Konami-published title and was immediately met with criticism by war veterans, peace group Stop the War Coalition and relatives of soldiers. Later that month, Konami declared that they would no longer be publishing the game, causing developer Atomic Games to start looking for a new publisher. By March 2010, after some staff redundancies, it was revealed that the game was finished but a publisher still hadn’t been found. Considering it’s been over 2 years since that date, it’s unlikely that the title will ever be released.

If Sony was indeed looking at the project, it’s unknown if they dabbled with it before Konami became involved, or after the Japanese publisher pulled out. David Cage believes that the video games industry should grow up and others say that developers should make more controversial or political games (for example, Jaffe wanted to make a political FPS for PSP about the Iraq war), but most agreed this game was a step too far. It seemingly glorified and capitalized on the violence of the war, despite how recent and raw the battle was, causing near-universal condemnation.

The developer, however, denied these claims, saying that marines were involved in the game’s development, telling Joystiq:

As we’ve watched the dialog that’s taken place about the game, there is definitely one point that we want people to understand about the game. And that is, it’s not about the politics of whether the US should have been there or not. It is really about the stories of the Marines who were in Fallujah and the question, the debate about [the politics], that is something that something for the politicians to worry about. We’re focused now on what actually happened on the ground.

Along with saying in a press release:

For us, games are not just toys. If you look at how music, television and films have made sense of the complex issues of their times, it makes sense to do that with videogames.

We replicate a specific and accurate timeline — we mean six days literally. We track several units through the process and you get to know what it was like from day to day.

Without playing the game, it’s obviously hard to say how respectful the title was, although the very idea of a ‘game’ on such a subject does leave a bad taste in the mouth. But where do you stand? Share your thoughts in the comments below.