Atomic Games announced today that it has been forced to lay off an unspecified number of employees after being unable to secure funding for the controversial shooter Six Days in Fallujah.
War game developer Atomic made a lot of people very unhappy earlier this year when it announced plans for Six Days in Fallujah, a game based on the November 2004 battle in Iraq. Despite the fact that the game was intended to provide a realistic look at the battle and the war in Iraq, opponents caused enough uproar that Konami, which had signed to publish the game, dropped it only three weeks after it was announced.
The extent of the backlash and Konami's decision to pull out seemed to surprise Atomic CEO Peter Tamte, who nonetheless expressed hope that the game would eventually be completed and released. But difficulties in finding a publisher willing to step into the storm have finally caught up with the studio, which announced today that it has been forced to lay off employees.
"Due to a mixture of fears about the edgy subject matter of Six Days in Fallujah, as well as low videogame sales this summer, we have been unable to secure full-scale funding from a major publisher for Six Days in Fallujah. This has caused us to reduce the size of our studio today," the company said in a statement.
"We wish to assure the dozens of Marine veterans who have collectively invested hundreds of hours in this project that, while we have been badly wounded, we will fight on," the statement continued. "The stories of your brothers' courage and sacrifice in Fallujah must be shared with the world."
Atomic isn't closing its doors; the company said a smaller development team would continue to operate with funding provided by Destineer, Atomic's "sister company." Whether yesterday's report that creative director Juan Benito has parted ways with the developer is connected to the layoffs is unknown, although it appears likely; at this point, however, Atomic still has not confirmed his departure.