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Controversial Six Days in Fallujah gets surprise early access launch

Procedurally generated tactical shooter hits Steam on June 22

Marines move up a stairwell, backlight by a second-floor window. Light streams through the dust in the air. Image: Highwire Games/Victura
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Six Days in Fallujah, the controversial tactical shooter video game set in one of the bloodiest operations of the Iraq War almost 20 years ago, got a surprise launch date on Wednesday — June 22. It’s an early access release for Windows PC via Steam.

The June 22 launch will include four co-operative four-player missions. “These missions are set in urban maps that are generated procedurally every time the game is played, to recreate the uncertainty of combat, along with unlimited replayability,” developer Highwire Games and publisher Victura said in a statement.

A trailer released Wednesday illustrated Six Days in Fallujah’s gameplay with voiceovers from U.S. military personnel who saw combat there. The trailer notes that the operation it represents — the Second Battle of Fallujah, in November 2004 — was “the largest urban assault since 1968,” meaning the Tet Offensive begun by the North Vietnamese army that year.

Players will be able to play “cooperatively as special operations or Iraqi soldiers fighting alongside coalition forces, and players will begin to encounter civilians as the battle progresses,” Victura said in the statement. Additional cooperative missions are planned for the early access period, including “story campaign missions recreating real stories from the Second Battle of Fallujah from the perspective of both coalition forces and Iraqi civilians.”

Obviously, not only were many Iraqi civilians killed in the door-to-door fighting (the International Red Cross counted 800), the operation still traumatizes many of the U.S. soldiers and Marines who survived it. Six Days in Fallujah was first proposed all the way back in 2009 as a collaboration between Atomic Games and Konami; it was immediately and harshly criticized in mainstream media, causing Konami to pull out of the project. Atomic Games went bankrupt two years later.

Highwire Games picked up the project in 2021. The studio was founded by Jaime Griesemer, game designer for the Halo and Infamous franchises; Highwire’s developers also include Jared Noftle, co-founder of Airtight Games (Murdered: Soul Suspect, Dark Void); Marty O’Donnell, audio director and composer on the Halo and Destiny franchise; as well as several former design director, character, vehicle, and weapon artists from Bungie.

Victura was founded by Peter Tamte, a former vice president of Bungie Studios who was also involved in the original version of Six Days in Fallujah.

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