Discussing Six Days in Fallujah with Spec Ops: The Line Lead Level Designer Jörg Friedrich

Dalisclock

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You guys hit a lot of important points about the whole thing and I'm glad it was mentioned that "This War of Mine" was depiction of War from the POV of a civilian(just not in a named, specific war).

One thing that sticks out that didn't comes up is that there have been allegations of War Crimes during the battle(the US military apparently used WP against Insurgents) and that's political as shit. There's like no possible way you can handle that in Apolitical way unless the game is a unbiased documentary, if you can even do that with a video game.Not mentioning it at all makes a statement in itself that you're trying to paint the US military in the best light possible.

Actually, checking again, apparently it's more then allegations about the WP usage. Apparently certain people outright witnessed or admitted to it.
 

Dwarvenhobble

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You guys hit a lot of important points about the whole thing and I'm glad it was mentioned that "This War of Mine" was depiction of War from the POV of a civilian(just not in a named, specific war).

One thing that sticks out that didn't comes up is that there have been allegations of War Crimes during the battle(the US military apparently used WP against Insurgents) and that's political as shit. There's like no possible way you can handle that in Apolitical way unless the game is a unbiased documentary, if you can even do that with a video game.Not mentioning it at all makes a statement in itself that you're trying to paint the US military in the best light possible.

Actually, checking again, apparently it's more then allegations about the WP usage. Apparently certain people outright witnessed or admitted to it.
I mean an easy way round that would be you play it as there were multiple different squads working Fallujah and yours was one of the ones that didn't commit war crimes and was trying to do things by the book.
 

XsjadoBlayde

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The thing is, it's not just the war being unjustified, and it's not just that they committed war crimes. The entire Fallujah clusterfuck was an overreaction by the US for a problem they directly and indirectly caused. It is entirely the responsibility of the US government relying on the unaccountability of PMCs and Blackwater (the jocks of PMCs) doing what cost-cutting cheapskate corporations do in spite of the safety of their own employees. I was going to copy-paste relevant paragraphs from these articles, but the character limit here is just too frustrating and time-wasting to try and figure out what can be squeezed in one post, so hopefully the links alone may do;



This along with the owner/CEO, Peter Tamte, pushing this game as "non-political" who has a history of being paid by the CIA to develop military training videogames, who donated to Trump's election campaign last year, gives me little hope it is anything other than, at best, a whitewashing of American aggression, greed and incompetence, or at worst, another military recruitment tactic due to current day recruitment dropping so much. Their Twitch recruitment tricks didn't pan out so well last year neither.

It's typical republican/right-wing tactics to strip everything of context in a conscious attempt to bait sympathies that would not usually be sympathetic towards aggressors, mostly due to the aggressors being either them, or directly benefiting them financially or otherwise. So I thought it important to add these contexts to understand the doubt towards the CEOs weasel words is a multi-layered gateua of filthy broken problems.
 

stroopwafel

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The thing is, it's not just the war being unjustified, and it's not just that they committed war crimes. The entire Fallujah clusterfuck was an overreaction by the US for a problem they directly and indirectly caused. It is entirely the responsibility of the US government relying on the unaccountability of PMCs and Blackwater (the jocks of PMCs) doing what cost-cutting cheapskate corporations do in spite of the safety of their own employees. I was going to copy-paste relevant paragraphs from these articles, but the character limit here is just too frustrating and time-wasting to try and figure out what can be squeezed in one post, so hopefully the links alone may do;
The biggest 'benefit' of private security contractors is they don't have to count them as military casualties for congress so they can be employed in more risky and/or controversial aspects of foreign policy and tactical planning. The invasion of Iraq was an affront based on lies but you can't really look at it with the moral clarity of one who never experienced a war zone. Most people's psychology would fall apart the moment they get shot at. The insurgent attacks killed and maimed indiscriminately and we don't know what prolonged exposure to such extreme stress do to someone's psyche. After the invasion there was never much open conflict mostly IEDs, sniper attacks and suicide bombers.

For sure there were rotten apples among security contractors but these weren't sanctioned crimes(like the nisour square massacre whose perpertrators were prosecuted, sentenced to life in prison and later pardoned by Trump). Contracts were also ended. The Iraq conflict was pretty much a tragedy for everyone involved and it's destabilizing effect continues to haunt the world to this day(Syrian civil war, ISIS, European refugee crisis, terrorist attacks etc).

The sad thing is that the war itself was just a prelude of something much worse to come; that unholy marriage between Iraqi intelligence(mukhbarat) and sunni terrorists. First giving shape to Al Qaeda in Iraq and then later morphing into ISIS. Military planners considered the possibility Fallujah could be some Stalingrad scenario of door to door combat but what was unbeknownst then was that Iraqi insurgents were playing the long game, something the U.S. military was in no way prepared for. In the end all that the contractors accomplished was burn a lot of goodwill among the population(or atleast the part of the population that suffered the most under the Saddam regime).

The U.S. should have never invaded Iraq to begin with, espescially based on deliberate lies that Saddam was hiding ABC weapons which was blatantly false and denied by both unmovic and the IAEA before the invasion. But what's done is done, we can only hope they won't repeat the same scenario with Iran.

Anyways the game sounds interesting to me. The initial invasion is now almost two decades ago(god I'm getting old) so in the public consciousness most of it's sharpest edges are removed. When the game was first announced it was still too soon. I kinda expected we would never hear anything of this game again but apparently not.
 

Gordon_4

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The best outcome you would ever get with a game like this would to just make the most honest one. You can’t decouple it from the political environment that spawned the events in question. Just lay out all the facts as is and your audience will decide accordingly.
 

EvilRoy

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I'm not a huge fan of dealing with heavy political themes in games in general - personally I find it an exhausting experience and its just not something I want in my relaxation media - but I do really agree with the point Jorg brought up in the interview there. If you aren't going to bother doing the whole thing, digging into the full experience of that real thing that happened and effected a lot of real people who are still alive and dealing with the fallout today, then why does this game need to be about an actual conflict at all?

It feels like a cheap marketing trick. "Oh we'll piss them off and get them talking about the game and then it'll sell like hotcakes". I know you guys mentioned that there's a chance the game isn't a slimy attempt to make money by sugarcoating a still fresh real world conflict, but if the people involved with its production are coming out and talking like this - be it to drum up attention via controversy or not - I don't know if I care.
 
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Gergar12

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If you are going to make a war game, don't glorify it, and don't be neutral. War by definition is not neutral.

War is hell, and you need to show that either from a non-combative or a soldier fighting through the hell.

Specs Ops the line was amazing at doing this.
 

Gethsemani

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Back when Six Days in Fallujah was first announced, wasn't it explicitly a political game back then? As in, it really dug into the "showing what the soldiers went through and how it differs from the media pictures of the Iraq War"? Oh, how the times are changing.
 

Samtemdo8

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If you are going to make a war game, don't glorify it, and don't be neutral. War by definition is not neutral.

War is hell, and you need to show that either from a non-combative or a soldier fighting through the hell.

Specs Ops the line was amazing at doing this.
Another important thing, do not have a multiplayer focus with this game.
 

Dalisclock

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If you are going to make a war game, don't glorify it, and don't be neutral. War by definition is not neutral.

War is hell, and you need to show that either from a non-combative or a soldier fighting through the hell.

Specs Ops the line was amazing at doing this.
Arguably This War of Mine as well. Part of the reason I have a hard time playing that is I know it's based off an actual war, even if not explicitly named. Except the Siege of Sarajevo(the conflict it's drawing influence from) lasted for 4 years, whereas the game doesn't require you to survive nearly that long.
 

BrawlMan

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So this happened.


We'll see soon enough if it actually means anything.
So now they care about being political. It feels very half-ass from that statement. As much as I dislike Spec-Ops The: Line, at least it had the balls to stay dedicated with the white phosphorus use and showed the consequences of using such a horrible weapon.
 

Dalisclock

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So now they care about being political. It feels very half-ass from that statement. As much as I dislike Spec-Ops The: Line, at least it had the balls to stay dedicated with the white phosphorus use and showed the consequences of using such a horrible weapon.
Damage Control by tweet, for sure. I have no doubt this is gonna be a hagiography of the US military(and as a vet and a history buff, I particularly disdain such things). At most there's gonna be "Well, some bad things happen, but we were there for their freedom" speeches. Basically what the Black Hawk Down movie ended up doing and it was Bullshit there too.
 
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Nick Calandra

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So this happened.


We'll see soon enough if it actually means anything.
I’m still in the wait and see crowd. If the game can share a lot of personal stories from that battle from both soldiers, Iraqi soldiers / civilians, I think that could be informative and provide new perspectives on what happened.

Peter needs to just stop talking and let the game be judged on its own at this point, cause the marketing for this has soiled the waters of any message he might want to deliver with it.

I also think it was a mistake providing the outlets that they did with interviews since they were never going to really look at this project and give it a fair shake. As soon as he said the quotes we pointed out in the interview, that was game over.

Whether it deserves a fair shake or not, who knows until we see more of what it is and what they’re trying to do? I’m just conflicted on this knowing all the games we have on Ww2, Vietnam, Call of Duty etc. Same with movies that depict this stuff...
 

Gordon_4

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Damage Control by tweet, for sure. I have no doubt this is gonna be a hagiography of the US military(and as a vet and a history buff, I particularly disdain such things). At most there's gonna be "Well, some bad things happen, but we were there for their freedom" speeches. Basically what the Black Hawk Down movie ended up doing and it was Bullshit there too.
Analysed on a technical level, Black Hawk Down is a really well made movie. Just, it’s utterly self-serving on the story level. And there’s that whole having to replace the actual protagonist because holy shit reasons.
 

Dalisclock

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Analysed on a technical level, Black Hawk Down is a really well made movie. Just, it’s utterly self-serving on the story level. And there’s that whole having to replace the actual protagonist because holy shit reasons.
I totally agree. It looks really, really good and feels very "real" but yea gads does it lean so far into the "America is doing what's right" angle(complete with shoehorned little exchanges forced there to appease the pentagon) it's shocking it doesn't fucking fall over. And reading the book makes it even worse because the book was a bit more even handed on what was going on there.
 

Gordon_4

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I totally agree. It looks really, really good and feels very "real" but yea gads does it lean so far into the "America is doing what's right" angle(complete with shoehorned little exchanges forced there to appease the pentagon) it's shocking it doesn't fucking fall over. And reading the book makes it even worse because the book was a bit more even handed on what was going on there.
And again, then you read about the guy who was replaced by Everman in the movie........Wow.
 
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Dalisclock

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And again, then you read about the guy who was replaced by Everman in the movie........Wow.
I think it was "Grimes"(Played by Ewan McGregor) who is the fictionalized insert but your point stands.

And I just reread what the real guy was convicted of and....holy shit. I knew it was bad but not that bad.
 

laggyteabag

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Controversy aside, the game is being made by Highwire Games AFAIK, so the music is likely going to be done by Marty O'Donnell, who also did the Halo/Destiny 1 music.

So at least that'll be good.