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Atomic Games: Major Game Publishers Won't Take Chances

Atomic Games never did get a publisher to produce Six Days in Fallujah, the controversial title based on the war on terror. Konami was initially pegged to distribute it but eventually caved under the pressure of media scrutiny.

Now, Atomic president Peter Tamte reveals that despite all the advances video games have made over the years, many people - even those within the industry - still consider games to be "nothing more than fancy toys." It's an unfortunate sentiment; we really thought we were well beyond the "games are toys for kids" mentality.

"For us, Six Days in Fallujah has always been much, much more than just a game. I am surprised by the large number of people in senior product positions in our industry who truly believe we sell nothing more than fancy toys."

Unsurprisingly, major publishers wanted no part of the Six Days in Fallujah outcry, and Tamte believes this unwillingness to take chances indicates a dark future for the interactive entertainment industry:

The culture of most publishers is built on repeating what has already been successful. By definition, this eventually fails because new franchises are always created by offering something new. Unfortunately, publishers are getting even more cautious as games have become ridiculously expensive to build."

That's very true. Maybe they should approach Sony, as they seem to be one of the few publishers that are willing to take a big chance. However, they're usually willing to take the risk based on creative reasons; this is more about political controversy (regardless of what Tamte says), so that may be a more challenging risk to take.

Tags: six days in fallujah, atomic games, gaming industry, game news

6/27/2011 10:06:49 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Temjin001
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:37:15 AM
Reply

Yep, it's a very interesting landscape out there. Very different from the one I grew up with. When I was younger I never thought of how user base and market penetration can dictate a production ceiling for game design. The next gen has been effectively stunted for this reason alone.

EDIT: well, maybe not for that reason alone. But it is a big reason, no doubt.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 6/27/2011 10:42:43 AM

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Lenoxseer
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:44:43 AM
Reply

they should just try and publish it themselves. I have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan 3 times I think from what I witnessed the people have the right to see things. Besides the families and soldiers the characters in the game are based off of are fine with Atomic Games making this game and want it to be released.

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maxpontiac
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:55:28 AM

That's all that should be needed in my book. If the families of the soldiers are fine. The rest is inconsequential.

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BikerSaint
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:49:19 AM
Reply

Somebody really needs to step up & show they got the stones to let Atomic Games put this game out!

It's a shame that Atomic Games itself, doesn't have the capitol to publish 6DIF themselves so they could thumb their noses at all these "Mr Mainstream" Publishing Sheep!

I wish I had the money to invest in AG, because this game WOULD BE COMING OUT, no matter who want's to cry about it.....
and completely unf*ckingcensored too!

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:15:03 AM

If they self publish, what about a PSN release?

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Temjin001
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:22:02 AM

In terms of production expense, I think that'll be a major angle for the coming generation. That is, getting the most done with the least amount of work. I see both Sony and MS really aiming towards a more developer friendly effort during the next cycle.
Though, if games are to become more sophisticated and broader in scope then the amount of man power needed to fill the measure of their design will need expand regardless. I see games like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout needing a lot more than better tools and processing to progress subsatantively in their purpose. With an even more detailed and intensive effort on the part of the developer to make the world that much more "virtual"
I've been playing Fallout 3 and I can't tell you how much the game sorely lacks in presentational budget, it can leave a lot to the imagination.
It makes me wonder if those games will ever acheive a fully convincing virtual and first person experience when their aim I think far out weighs the grade of their budget ceiling.



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Temjin001
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:32:53 AM

Sup, biker, to save any confusion I meant to reply to highlander in his post below.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:52:00 AM
Reply

Hmmm...interesting.

I think that the greatest analog for the gaming industry is the movie industry. In the movies, a movie that tackled topics in the way that Six days in Fallujah apparently does would almost certain be handled by one of the smaller independent or art-house publishers because it would be deemed not mainstream enough for the majors.

The idea that games could go the way of the movies leaves me fearful of the future. Te Modern Movie industry is not exactly known for it's subtlty, artistry or intelligence. Movies do not tend to be thought provoking pieces. The most successful movies are low brow comedy, action movies, thrillers and horror flicks. I'm not sure I like the idea of games following that trend.

I hope that some major publishers see games more in the way that publishers see books, allowing greater diversity in the works themselves and allowing more controversial works to be brought to the public, rather than left on the cutting room floor.

All that said, I think that there is a chance for the games industry to capitalize on something over the coming years. As the platforms we have today mature, and development environments improve and mature, the actual cost of building a game are declining because there are assets to re-use. There are so many common libraries and other development support tools that simply didn't exist 4-5 years ago. If the next wave of consoles doesn't really do much to game resolution except making 1080p possible, then there will not necessarily be a huge shift in the tools, libraries and assets needed, not perhaps in the programming skills required. In which case, the actual cost of making games may decrease in real terms. If the game industry can capitalize on that combined with low cost distribution via PSN and XBL, perhaps we will see more games that might not get a publisher today, being published via downloads because the reduced cost of publication and lower development costs put generating a profit within the reach of more challenging projects.

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Qubex
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 3:19:57 AM

Hmmm... " If the next wave of consoles doesn't really do much to game resolution except making 1080p possible, then there will not necessarily be a huge shift in the tools, libraries and assets needed, not perhaps in the programming skills required."

True in some respects Highlander, but I recently read about the technical additions and enhancements being made to the Crysis 2 game, bringing it up to spec for all those power hungry PC rigs out there that can enjoy the latest graphical bells and whistles thanks to Direct X 11... well the patch is 2.2GB in size... that is to improve the graphics performance, updated textures etc, better lighting a showing and, most importantly, active tessellation of polygons... to render characters and environment assets (especially fluids such as water) at higher resolutions with more complexity...

Surely a jump from 720p as standard to 1080p as standard would put extra burden on development teams to make sure games look outstanding and worthy of the graphical and hardware upgrade console owners want and may pay quite a bit of money for from the outset. Essentially, I am sure Sony (and relevant 3rd party developers) will not want release a slew of bad games to mark the launch of a true HD console; especially if the PS4 is released to finally give gamers what they have wanted all along... a true next generation experience.

I think the costs will still climb and marginalise more of the smaller developers out there trying to make their way and fight up the food chain...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 6/28/2011 3:20:24 AM

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main_event05
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:52:15 AM
Reply

Six Days in Fallujah > A night in Paris.

just kidding.

but seriously, isn't it sad that politics have infiltrated almost everything that has nothing to do with politics? then a good chunk of those complaining aren't even gamers. i say publish it and let the people whine because i'm sure those people will whine just because its another game more than its subject matter.

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maxpontiac
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:53:34 AM

Politics isn't the only "agenda" that has infiltrated gaming.

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main_event05
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 1:13:27 PM

Yea, shareholders shouldn't have a say in the gaming process either.

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Wendell
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 11:28:56 AM

How do you figure that a video game about the Second Battle of Fallujah has nothing to do with politics?

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maxpontiac
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:52:29 AM
Reply

I believe that if the game was of high quality and was developed with a high budget, it wouldn't even matter.

It's my guess that this game has a story to tell, but does it poorly. In an already crowded genre, it might not might financial sense for a publisher to take that risk.

I do believe that Sony should be approached for reasons Ben provided though.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:29:07 PM
Reply

I don't think it's unusual to find top officials of major publishers that don't have a hold on the true meaning of video games.

Gaming as an art form or as a form of expression, education, or unique experience is something that is only understood by gamers and the ones who have a passion for making them: the developers.

High ranking officials of publishers know business. It's a completely different skillset. However, it is unfortunate most do not have the transferable skills of someone invested into the video games themselves. As a result, we get bums like Wada or entire boards of other publishing companies unwilling to see what the games are REALLY about. We get good business minds who have limited knowledge about their product.

That's what we're missing. CEO's and Presidents who aren't truly invested into video games. It just happens to be the industry they're marketing at this point in their careers.

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Qubex
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 3:27:11 AM

"Gaming as an art form or as a form of expression, education, or unique experience is something that is only understood by gamers and the ones who have a passion for making them: the developers." ...hmmm, indeed it is... BUT...

...it doesn't help if your top industry leaders are actually shouting at the tops of their voices dumbing down the very industry they are supposed to be talking up and supporting.

All this does is make the general populace believe that gaming truly is for kids, and is like playing a toy, when clearly we can see it is not. When the PS3 was released in 2006 it was not a toy, it was a highly tuned piece of computer hardware that is still very powerful today! Sony exclusives are like art work in their own right... so where this toy business comes from... I have no clue.

What a bunch of old crocks!

The commoditisation of the "casual gamer" and the "games @ 0.99c" also help to continue debasing the gaming industry and further reflect gaming as an activity for kids who like to play with toys - how pathetic...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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A2K78
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:46:51 PM
Reply

"Unfortunately, publishers are getting even more cautious as games have become ridiculously expensive to build.

And I don't give them any wrong being cautious given the fact that far too few games these days are profitable/recoup their investment. I mean it would be crazy from a business POV to throw $50 million into making a game only make back a quarter to half of the investment back; in such an scenerio its the publisher rather than the developer who suffers.

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slugga_status
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 1:28:15 PM
Reply

I just don't understand why nobody will publish this game. I'm sorry but it's pure BS. There's no problem with publishing CoDs and MoHs but there's a issue over a game based on true events?!

It's just strange that we can make games and kill people of real military factions but b/c the story isn't real makes it ok? I just disagree..this would be a game that if done right would be great to play and educate some of what these soldiers actually went through.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 1:30:50 PM
Reply

Eh, it's big business, and they're designed to make money, not fund creativity. Still, controversy creates cash, and I think that the amount of it swirling around may have been enough to increase the sales of Six Days in Fallujah on top of what the real-world scenario was already destined to do.

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Qubex
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 3:29:33 AM

"Eh, it's big business, and they're designed to make money, not fund creativity." ...it does not make it right though. This is what happens when an industry is commoditised and product churn takes over with any investment in "originality".

Games become indifferent; games become like Lego... same old same old.

This is something we don't want the industry to become. You have to take some risk, you have to innovate otherwise you are dead.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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mastiffchild
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 7:54:37 PM
Reply

I doubt that Sony will want to take this one up Ben. As a Japanese company needing to have good headlines in the US(where this would be most widely hated on)they'd be being suicidal, in my eyes, in allowing the media another stick to hit them with after the bashing they already took this generation.

Would I admire them for doing it? Sure. Do I think they should? not in a million years,sadly. Atlus, Atlus should publish it-everyone likes them and they don't need to worry about a consoles sales and as a lot of their games are niche we'd all buy the next one anyway.

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Douchebaguette
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 7:58:23 PM
Reply

Sounds alot like Major labels in the music industry, however this shouldn't be surprising.

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Qubex
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 3:30:49 AM

No it isn't surprising, it just shouldn't be allowed. Us gamers can change and influence markets and products by voting with our wallets... but there are too few of us who care about these things, and that is the problem.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Nickjcal
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:53:11 PM
Reply

So Russians can attack New York, Alaska and wherever the heck else they're attacking in the U.S , but we can't play a game attacking terrorists? This is Gold Star Mom allllll over again.

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___________
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 3:47:00 AM
Reply

of course they are, wouldent you be hesitant to put out 50M on something not sure if your ever going to see even half of that back!?
publishers are out there to make money, not to become everyones best friend!

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