Konami Digital Entertainment Co. has decided to pull a videogame that realistically reproduces the bloody street battles between U.S. forces and terrorists and insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.
"After seeing the reaction to the videogame in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and e-mail, we decided several days ago not to sell it," a public relations official of Konami said. "We had intended to convey the reality of the battles to players so that they could feel what it was like to be there."
"Six Days in Fallujah," developed by U.S. company Atomic Games, was showcased earlier this month at an event in the United States for magazines specializing in the videogame industry.
Konami had planned to put the game on sale in or after 2010.
However, bereaved families of soldiers, retired troops and citizens' groups in the United States and Europe criticized the game as in poor taste and insensitive.
The fighting in Fallujah in November 2004 was among the most intense after the U.S.-led war against Iraq's regular forces ended in 2003. More than 2,000 people, including many citizens, were killed in the street battles over several weeks.
In "Six Days in Fallujah," gamers play the roles of U.S. Marines deployed on the streets to wipe out the enemy. In some situations, the players must decide whether to shoot unarmed people.
Jamin Brophy-Warren, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal and a specialist on videogames, reported that about 40 U.S. soldiers who saw action in Fallujah helped in the production of the videogame by, for example, offering their diaries and journals to Atomic Games.
The times of the battles, the locations of troops and other details in the game are extremely close to what had actually happened in Fallujah, Brophy-Warren reported.
The reporter also said several thousand photos, including satellite images classified by the U.S. military, were used in the production of "Six Days in Fallujah."
"We think Atomic Games used a network (to produce the game)," the Konami official said. "But we don't know the connection (between the company and U.S. military forces)."(IHT/Asahi: April 27,2009)