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Thread: Six Days in Fallujah - TFPS from ex-Bungie devs

  1. #26
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I mean, even Call of Duty has its tragic heroic bits meant to show that war is hell in a very Hollywood sort of way. Like the nuke thing. Not a desirable fantasy, but still a fantasy.

  2. #27
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    I assume it is some kind of desirable fantasy since it's intended to be sold for money as an entertainment product to people whose interests are games and tactical combat.

    EDIT: Also agree with what Henke says. Pitching Gunnery Sgt Biceps McHero and his crack squad of flawed but folksy guys just trying to get home for thanksgiving vs Middle Eastern Assholes 1 through 5000 is more than a bit tone deaf.
    As is calling that scenario survival horror - a genre pretty unevenly tending towards surviving against something either not human, or completely psychotic.

    And the idea of patching in the Spec Ops load screen text is gold dust.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    I assume it is some kind of desirable fantasy since it's intended to be sold for money as an entertainment product to people whose interests are games and tactical combat.
    This War of Mine is sold for money as an entertainment product to people whose interests are games and resource management. It obviously isn't promoting being a civilian caught in a warzone as a desirable fantasy. You're not supposed to walk away from Spec Ops viewing mass-murder of civilians as a desirable fantasy, either.

    I thought it was pretty well established that gameplay alone doesn't equal endorsement. Plenty of valid reasons to dislike this title (that's a good point about 'survival horror' reflecting US-centric framing that further dehumanizes the Iraqis) without throwing the rest of the medium under the bus.

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    Does the presentation of the game actually strike you as a desirable fantasy? With the Marines describing in detail how many of their unit died, and the devs billing it as 'survival horror', it doesn't sound like the design goal is to make you think the Second Battle of Fallujah was awesome and encourage you to enlist.

    That's in stark contrast to contemporary military games that build power fantasies out of recognizable organizations and conflicts behind paper-thin aliases. We're not talking about James Bond stopping a space laser; games that leverage the appearance and participants of modern conflicts are inherently commenting on them even if they don't explicitly identify locales. The US Army is actively using Call of Duty as a recruitment tool- selling power fantasy as attainable reality is the bread and butter of recruitment propaganda. Writing it off as harmless escapism seems downright apologetic.
    faetal beat me to it. It has to be a desirable fantasy otherwise it won't sell. So we'll see what the market says.

    Regarding Call of Duty, I'm aware of it's usefulness in recruiting and for that reason I'm not a fan of that game either. My point was that Six Days is worse because it's marketing itself as being authentic. Call of Duty is fiction and everybody knows that. But Highwire is saying this is a simulation of an actual real world battle and we have the Marines who were really there on our team to help make it authentic.

    I think depicting real conflicts should be within the purview of videogames if handled properly, just as it is with film. Games have the potential to use player agency to make them confront uncomfortable truths in a more personal way than films; they don't have to all be fun power fantasy. A game with an honest portrayal of the war crimes, that treats Iraqis as real people rather than dehumanized targets, that acknowledges civilian casualties and the decisions made by Coalition forces (see: bombing mosques), would be a lot closer to Spec Ops: The Line than to Call of Duty. But if they're omitting all of those elements, then even if the portrayal of life as a Marine is authentically awful, it's at best half-truth.
    I think accurately portraying war is impossible in both games and film. It's not that you can't sell a morality play. It's that you can't sell the mundane. For 99% of the forces, war is full of boredom and repetitive work and filling dead time. Even the people at the tip of the spear spend most of their time planning and preparing.

  5. #30
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    The only way you can look at this video and think it has no political message is if you already agree 100% with the politics behind it.
    So either I agree with you or I'm literally Hitler, nice, fair and balanced, not at all reactionary.

    If you truly are interested in hearing the perspective from the other side, Rami Ismail
    I must be literal Hitler because haven't viewed the not at all biased, premium grade, curated media? thats not at all insulting...


    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    What. Ok, look. The whole thing is incredibly skewed in favor or portraying the Americans as the heroes. When they do intervew some Iraqis the reason they give for staying in the city is "stubborness", with no mention of the fact that adult males were forbidden from leaving the city.
    With that logic, surely every game or film/tv series ought to be lambasted for the same reasons? Band of Brothers episodes opened with interviews from the soldiers who were there and they didn't kneel or beg forgiveness for bombing Dresden. Look. this amounts to engaging in whataboutisms and its futile at worst, self-serving at best. This game clearly isn't about the decisions that led to the 2nd Iraq war, it might only loosely feature decisions closer to the ground (like ordering "fighting age males back" out of fear of insurgents hiding among the civilians), its quite clearly, specifically, about the "marines' experiences" and trying to translate that into a video game...that features some replayability. If you watched the video and immediately envision MAGA hat neckbeards jerking off over it, that says more about you than the game.


    If I didn't agree at all with the politics behind either Afghanistan or Iraq 2 would that surprise you? I know I'd feel a bit of a presumptuous twat



    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Yes, of course. There are quite a few games that explore the civilian perspective of armed conflict. Valiant Hearts, This War of Mine, Through The Darkest of Times... Hell, you could even make an argument that Spec Ops: The Line was basically all about modern military adventurism of the US.

    Not saying that all these games are necessarily great at depicting war, but they are considerably more nuanced than making "fun combat puzzles" out of breaching civilian buildings and trying to make war not political.
    Not quite what I was thinking of when it comes to war games, and although they're great, they also pretty niche, but point accepted.

    Can those themes adequately be applied/explored in much bigger scale games? Arguably Spec Ops tried, I'm not sure how well it succeeded.

    I was thinking more about how in all the Total War games they don't really bring up the horrible rape that tends to follow the pillaging etc. A game, much like a film, tends to have a narrower scope.

    Is it the passing of time or general ignorance that leads us to stuff like 300, glamorizing a nation of child buggering slavers who gave zero shits about freedom unless it was their own (not much different to anyone else at the time, but still).




    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    I think accurately portraying war is impossible in both games and film. It's not that you can't sell a morality play. It's that you can't sell the mundane. For 99% of the forces, war is full of boredom and repetitive work and filling dead time. Even the people at the tip of the spear spend most of their time planning and preparing.
    Arma/OFP nails the boredom part. It was effective, but I think I'm too old to sit for an hour in an online game only to do nothing, then roll on the next round.
    Last edited by DaBeast; 29th Mar 2021 at 13:43.

  6. #31
    So...

    I'm in that group that some of you all are getting angry on behalf of and am pretty strongly anti-war.

    Let me put it this way. I wouldn't play it, but I find this type of game far less distasteful than sanitized power-fantasies about the War on Terror. Games like this, Spec Ops, and ARMA I can stand to mess with. Call of Duty type games I avoid entirely because after you've seen people on your team killed the way those games portray it is entirely crass.

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBeast View Post
    So either I agree with you or I'm literally Hitler, nice, fair and balanced, not at all reactionary.

    I must be literal Hitler because haven't viewed the not at all biased, premium grade, curated media? thats not at all insulting...
    Yeah you're definitely arguing in good faith there, good job.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBeast View Post
    With that logic, surely every game or film/tv series ought to be lambasted for the same reasons? Band of Brothers episodes opened with interviews from the soldiers who were there and they didn't kneel or beg forgiveness for bombing Dresden. Look. this amounts to engaging in whataboutisms and its futile at worst, self-serving at best. This game clearly isn't about the decisions that led to the 2nd Iraq war, it might only loosely feature decisions closer to the ground (like ordering "fighting age males back" out of fear of insurgents hiding among the civilians), its quite clearly, specifically, about the "marines' experiences" and trying to translate that into a video game...that features some replayability. If you watched the video and immediately envision MAGA hat neckbeards jerking off over it, that says more about you than the game.


    If I didn't agree at all with the politics behind either Afghanistan or Iraq 2 would that surprise you? I know I'd feel a bit of a presumptuous twat
    You complain of whataboutisms and then whatabout Band of Brothers? A series where the main characters were never involved in anything that caused mass civilian death, let alone the bombing of Dresden?
    You're right that the scope and framing basically prevents telling more nuanced stories than just those of the American troops on the ground, but that choice of scope and framing in itself is also political. What you consider normal or "our side" and what you focus on is political.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBeast View Post
    Can those themes adequately be applied/explored in much bigger scale games? Arguably Spec Ops tried, I'm not sure how well it succeeded.

    I was thinking more about how in all the Total War games they don't really bring up the horrible rape that tends to follow the pillaging etc. A game, much like a film, tends to have a narrower scope.

    Is it the passing of time or general ignorance that leads us to stuff like 300, glamorizing a nation of child buggering slavers who gave zero shits about freedom unless it was their own (not much different to anyone else at the time, but still).
    300, Total War and the like are not that big a deal because the political situations they depict don't really influence current day politics (except maybe for people glorifying the perfect past that never existed, like fascists tend to do). I'm not sure Spec Ops succeeded either, if its message really landed with most people more than "whoa what a twist!" after spending a few hours getting sick headshots. I think the fun element takes some of the sting out of it, even if the game does try to guilt you for having fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    So...

    I'm in that group that some of you all are getting angry on behalf of and am pretty strongly anti-war.

    Let me put it this way. I wouldn't play it, but I find this type of game far less distasteful than sanitized power-fantasies about the War on Terror. Games like this, Spec Ops, and ARMA I can stand to mess with. Call of Duty type games I avoid entirely because after you've seen people on your team killed the way those games portray it is entirely crass.
    I think we'll continue to see pushes for more "gritty" games about war, while still being sanitized. One of the latest Call of Duty games had you raid a house and possibly shoot civilians. It's now about "yeah shit happens but they're individuals making mistakes/going crazy rather than systemic problems with warfare." The soldier shooting a civilian is either making a regrettable mistake or has gone crazy. The generals and presidents ordering the war are out of the picture, out of the blame being thrown around other than vague mutterings of the goddamn higher ups. The war itself is shown as just something that happens, or as righteous and just.

  8. #33
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeshibu View Post
    Yeah you're definitely arguing in good faith there, good job.


    You complain of whataboutisms and then whatabout Band of Brothers? A series where the main characters were never involved in anything that caused mass civilian death, let alone the bombing of Dresden?
    You're right that the scope and framing basically prevents telling more nuanced stories than just those of the American troops on the ground, but that choice of scope and framing in itself is also political. What you consider normal or "our side" and what you focus on is political.
    Technically it was the other way around, which is why I framed it that way. An attempt to question the acceptance in certain types of media. I guess I could have just asked his thoughts on gritty realistic tv shows, like BoB, is it acceptable to just sit back and enjoy the gritty realism? If so, is it as equally unacceptable for games, irrelevant now I suppose.

    What you're suggesting is that every decision a developer makes is on some form of left/right political scale? Swat 4 featured the ability to beat up civilians and effectively be reprimanded for it, iirc it amounted to a reduced score, which wasn't very realistic, but serves its purpose both as an attempt to coral the player into being moral whilst working within the context of a game.

    Does this mean they were trivialising the fight against police brutality or does it mean they were trying to making a videogame and did what they could to both make it realistic and at least in some way balanced? Where their personal politics on display at all thematic levels?

    I would understand if 6 Days was a junk bargain bin game like I said earlier, I just don't think it is and the reaction on the first page was more likely a result of the currentyear outrage fetishism that broke commchat. For christs sake, it was a teaser. We don't know if its going to be all "Support the Troops" when it could be more Generation Kill.

    Arguments about developer ignorance is one thing and likely valid, I disagree about intent and in particular its politics. I think I was trying to be reasonable and balanced since it's just a teaser for a game that isn't out yet. Or perhaps I merely reacted to what I perceived as reactionary, which makes me just as reactionary, I definitely reacted to thinly veiled insults. Maybe I'm a centre-left dinosaur and ought to just accept that everything is political and if you don't voice the right opinions or argue an alternative you get subjeff'd lose.


    I think we'll continue to see pushes for more "gritty" games about war, while still being sanitized. One of the latest Call of Duty games had you raid a house and possibly shoot civilians. It's now about "yeah shit happens but they're individuals making mistakes/going crazy rather than systemic problems with warfare." The soldier shooting a civilian is either making a regrettable mistake or has gone crazy. The generals and presidents ordering the war are out of the picture, out of the blame being thrown around other than vague mutterings of the goddamn higher ups. The war itself is shown as just something that happens, or as righteous and just.
    No Russian is still affects me to the point where I actually shoot over the npc's heads if at all. Friends just saw it as a game and mowed everyone down because 'lol they aren't real'. The question of Infinity Ward's motivation remains and I suspect it was equal parts to shake things up, make some noise and get attention, but also crafted to make the player actually sit back and think about what they're doing, even if only for a moment. Could be crediting them too much.

    Now it seems they're just trying to one-up themselves because it's expected?

    Developer intent is rarely discussed as it would be with a controversial film that seems to automatically gain artistic license. What we end up with is more marketing wank about upping the ante and making it more visceral experience or some shit.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeshibu View Post
    Yeah you're definitely arguing in good faith there, good job.


    You complain of whataboutisms and then whatabout Band of Brothers? A series where the main characters were never involved in anything that caused mass civilian death, let alone the bombing of Dresden?
    You're right that the scope and framing basically prevents telling more nuanced stories than just those of the American troops on the ground, but that choice of scope and framing in itself is also political. What you consider normal or "our side" and what you focus on is political.


    300, Total War and the like are not that big a deal because the political situations they depict don't really influence current day politics (except maybe for people glorifying the perfect past that never existed, like fascists tend to do). I'm not sure Spec Ops succeeded either, if its message really landed with most people more than "whoa what a twist!" after spending a few hours getting sick headshots. I think the fun element takes some of the sting out of it, even if the game does try to guilt you for having fun.


    I think we'll continue to see pushes for more "gritty" games about war, while still being sanitized. One of the latest Call of Duty games had you raid a house and possibly shoot civilians. It's now about "yeah shit happens but they're individuals making mistakes/going crazy rather than systemic problems with warfare." The soldier shooting a civilian is either making a regrettable mistake or has gone crazy. The generals and presidents ordering the war are out of the picture, out of the blame being thrown around other than vague mutterings of the goddamn higher ups. The war itself is shown as just something that happens, or as righteous and just.

    Probably. The reality is that the following fact needs to be taken into consideration before ordering military actions: some level of civilian casualties are unavoidable in contemporary war because those battles aren’t fought in near lines between cities anymore. They’re fought extremely quickly, with extremely deadly weapons, In and around cities and infrastructure assets where people live, work, and commute. Such casualties can be significantly reduced but it will still happen, and overdoing it can actually make things worse because an insurgency will recognize your reluctance and begin using the local population as human shields by doing things like deliberately firing from crowds, religious buildings, or Occupied family homes.


    One example: a common tactic(as in “favored”. The setup time limited frequency) in the major city nearest is was to instigate a protest, send one team into the crowd with weapons and another up on rooftops with camera equipment, and then start shooting from the crowd Forcing our commanders to decide between just taking fire and casualties without response or giving the Taliban footage of US Soldiers “firing into a peaceful crowd”.


    The reality is that no video game can capture how nasty close quarters battle is. Our area was rural but some of the stories my acquaintances who were in Fallujah have are horrific. My CCE instructor was there and he has a story about busting into the back door of a building, catching the dude off guard, and shooting him in the face before the guy could shoot him. The bullet caused the guys face to sink in and he was so frozen by it that he didn’t even realize he was being shot at from another room until the guy behind him pushed him out of the way.

  10. #35
    Should that yeah. Some of this stuff does still bother me because when you’ve seen people die that way it doesn’t seem cool anymore. I still won’t play the games that make it “cool” like that and go for the Hollywood envy glam. I do occasionally play games like ARMA which are making a more good faith attempt to simulate or Spec Ops where there’s a genuine attempt to have some literary value on the topics at hand

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Location: Bar o' Gold, upr Swandam Lane
    I believe it was Jaime Griesemer (mentioned in the quote above) who was the sandbox guy on the first Halo and described Halo as "30 seconds of fun that happened over and over again".

    I know Halo, at least on Legendary difficulty on the Xbox version, was one of the few games where sometimes I found myself in some sort of tunnelvision, enjoying those 30 seconds over and over again.

    I vaguely recall Bungie hired him because he was a Myth modder.

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