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A new game set during the bloodiest battle in the Iraq War is infuriating critics. Its producer says he wants the game to explain the complexity of war.

A screenshot from upcoming game "Six Days in Fallujah," which is based on the real-life battle in November 2004. Victura/Highwire Games …



Six Days in Fallujah (game)A screenshot from upcoming game “Six Days in Fallujah,” which is based on the real-life battle in November 2004.

Victura/Highwire Games

  • “Six Days in Fallujah” is an upcoming video game based on the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War.
  • The game’s subject matter is so controversial that a previous version of the game was canceled.
  • In an interview with Insider, the CEO of the game’s publisher responded to criticism.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

“Six Days in Fallujah” is a video game wrapped in a nesting doll of controversies, and it hasn’t even been released yet.

The game, which looks similar to the “Call of Duty” franchise, is a “first-person tactical military shooter” set during a six-day period in the weeks-long second Battle of Fallujah – a siege on the Iraqi city that led to the greatest loss of life during the Iraq War.

Peter Tamte’s upcoming project – which has been in some form of development since the mid-2000s – attempts to convey the experience of the invading forces, from the perspective of the invading forces.

“What we really want people to take away from this experience is an understanding of the actual complexity and human costs of urban combat,” Victura CEO Peter Tamte told Insider in an interview this week.

But critics say the history of the Iraq War is once again being written from the American perspective.

Estimates from the Iraq Body Count project put the number of Iraqi civilian casualties around 200,000 as of last February, and the US Department of Defense reported over 4,400 American deaths as of February 2021, but historians say there may never be an accurate way to count the true number of lives lost due to the invasion.

“The massacre carried out by American and British forces in Fallujah in 2004 is amongst the worst of the war crimes carried out in an illegal and immoral war,” Stop The War Coalition spokesperson Tansy Hoskins told TechRadar in 2009, when “Six Days in Fallujah” was originally announced. “To make a game out of a war crime and to capitalize on the death and injury of thousands is sick.”

But that isn’t the intent of the upcoming game, Tamte said.

“There is an assumption that we are going to whitewash decisions that were made by the United States and Great Britain and Iraqi leaders at that time,” he told Insider. “But in truth, I don’t think it’s possible for us to put players into the second Battle of Fallujah without understanding the events that led up to the second Battle of Fallujah. And those events are based on choices by policy makers that in hindsight have proven to be some poor decisions.”

One such poor decision, according to the US military leader who commanded troops and created operational plans for both battles in Fallujah, was starting the Iraq War in the first place.

“We will probably look back on the invasion of Iraq as a mistake,” 1st Marine Division Commanding Gen. James Mattis said in 2015. “I think people were pretty much aware that the US military didn’t think it was a very wise idea.”

It’s this conflict at the heart of the battle that Tamte hopes “Six Days in Fallujah” can accurately represent, 12 years since it was first announced and 17 years since the battle that inspired it.

“When those four contractors were hung from the bridge outside of Fallujah, and people around the world, especially the United States, were hollering for the United States to go in there and take care of business – I don’t think people understood what the military leaders were saying at the time, which was, ‘Please don’t make me do this,'” Tamte told Insider.

Six Days in FallujahA screenshot from upcoming game “Six Days in Fallujah,” which is based on the real-life battle in November 2004.

Victura/Highwire Games

How does a video game convey the disputed history of a real life battle?

Following a series of conflicts – including an incident where US forces fired on unarmed Iraqi protesters which killed at least 17 Iraqis, and an incident where four American private military contractors were murdered and hung from a bridge – US forces laid siege to the city in two major battles.

The first, in April 2004, lasted several weeks before US-led troops withdrew. The second, in November 2004, also lasted several weeks. It’s the second battle that “Six Days in Fallujah” focuses on, with players tasked with going from building to building as a member of the coalition armed forces clearing the city. That gameplay is interspersed with dialog and video from actual people who fought in the battle. During parts of the game, players control an Iraqi family attempting to flee the city as battle rages around them.

But critics of the game’s concept persist in 2021.

When “Six Days in Fallujah” was re-revealed in February 2021, Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad said the game’s developer is, “basing its game on excusing US war crimes.”

In a subsequent Twitter thread, Ahmad said, “The game is very much from an American point of view, as shown in the description.” He said what he’s seen of the game thus far, “strikes me as just another war game filled with US propaganda about the actual events that took place.”

By some accounts, thousands of civilians were killed in the second Battle of Fallujah by a military coalition primarily made up of American and British soldiers. It was the bloodiest battle in a bloody, controversial war, and has become symbolic of the US policies that led to the Iraq War in the first place.

The US government admitted to using white phosphorus in the battle – a substance commonly used for smoke screens that can also be used as a weapon of chemical warfare. Its use as a weapon is a violation of the Geneva Conventions that govern international conflict, and may have contributed to a years-long spike in birth defects.

An Iraqi soldier guards the railroad station in Fallujah, Iraq. November 9, 2004.An Iraqi soldier guards the railroad station in Fallujah, Iraq. November 9, 2004.

AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

Though “Six Days in Fallujah” intends to tell the harrowing story of the Marines charged with taking a city, it’s unclear how it will convey the complexity of the use of chemical weapons.

“I don’t have a good answer to that, to be honest with you,” Tamte said when asked how the game would deal with its use. “I don’t have a good answer for it because I do understand part of the argument of: If you’re going to talk about this battle, you need to at least have some reference to white phosphorus.”

The concern, Tamte said, is how to handle player interactivity when it comes to international war crimes.

“I don’t want to give players white phosphorous as a weapon,” he said. “We don’t want to ask players to commit war crimes, or even things that are in the gray area of being a war crime. We don’t want to do that. That would actually be kind of the opposite of what we’re hoping players will take away from us.”

His intent, he said, is “to share these remarkable stories of people and let people experience these stories.” And doing that, he said, doesn’t stop the game from “discussing some of the tougher aspects of the battle – we can do both.”

After three years in development, and 15 years of total germination time, “Six Days in Fallujah” is scheduled to launch in late 2021 for the PC and undisclosed consoles.

Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
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    Business insider

    Two new Florida cruises have cabins for solo travelers – see inside the ships

    The Solo Suite available in 2022. Atlas Ocean Voyages Over the last month, Oceania Cruises and Atlas Ocean Voyages have unveiled ships with si…



    The cruise industry is gradually resuming operations, and at the same time, some cruise lines are tapping into a specific segment of customers: solo travelers.

    volunteer employees boarding a cruise ship carrying luggageVolunteer Royal Caribbean employees for the Freedom of the Seas sailing at PortMiami on June 20.

    Marta Lavandier/AP Photo

    Over the past month, two Florida-based cruise lines – including a newcomer to the industry – have unveiled new ships with cabins designed for lone travelers.

    top view of the World NavigatorThe World Navigator.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

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    a bed next to a desk, tv, and mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages

    Source: Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, Norwegian Cruise Line

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    a bathroom with a shower, sink, mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages

    Source: Travel Weekly

    Staying in solo suites allows independent travelers to bypass paying single supplements, the fees that come with staying in a room designed for more than one occupant.

    a bed besides a balcony with views of the oceanThe Anthem of the Seas’ Studio Ocean View Stateroom with a balcony.

    Royal Caribbean International

    Some solo travelers see this single supplement as a “major obstacle” and a “penalization” for solitary vacations, Alberto Aliberti, president of Atlas Ocean Voyages, told Insider in an email statement.

    a bed besides a balcony with views of the oceanThe Quantum of the Sea’ Superior Studio Ocean View with a balcony.

    Royal Caribbean International

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Atlas Ocean Voyages just debuted this month, and it’s the first luxury cruise line to join the market in over 20 years, according to the company.

    the exterior of the World NavigatorThe World Navigator.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Source: Insider

    To cater to this solo traveler segment, Atlas Ocean Voyages decided to include single-person suites aboard its first and and only vessel.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    The brand’s World Navigator cruise ship has 98 guest rooms that can accommodate just under 200 travelers.

    a bed besides a armchair, lights, and a nightstandThe Veranda Stateroom.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Beginning March 2022, the World Navigator will also have six 183-square-foot suites designated for solo travelers.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    These single rooms – which Aliberti says have prompted “very positive responses” – will come with the same perks as the ship’s other suites. This includes binoculars and in-room Nespresso coffee, a stocked mini-refrigerator, and bar and butler services.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Similarly, in July, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Oceania Cruises brand announced plans for its Vista cruise ship, which will officially debut in 2023.

    a living room with a couch, coffee table, and deskThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    Source: Oceania Cruises

    The Miami-based cruise line’s upcoming ship will have “concierge level solo veranda staterooms” created for lone travelers, a first for the cruise line.

    a bed tucked away in the corner of the suite with the living room in the backgroundThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    Like Atlas Ocean Voyages, solo guests sailing with Oceania will have the same luxury amenities as other concierge level passengers, such as free laundry and access to the Concierge Lounge.

    a living room with a couch, coffee table, desk, and bed in the backgroundThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    And according to Aliberti, that’s the point. Many of these “underserved” solo travelers want the suite amenities, just not the single supplement payments.

    a table with seats and a mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages


    two-new-florida-cruises-have-cabins-for-solo-travelers-- see-inside-the-ships

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    Blackstone’s betting $6 billion on the rental market – here’s why private-equity loves real estate right now

    Jonathan Gray, Blackstone president and chief operating officer Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal via Getty Images Blackstone is all-in on rent resets…



    Jonathan GrayJonathan Gray, Blackstone president and chief operating officer

    Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    • Blackstone is all-in on rent resets and long-term property assets to combat potential inflation.
    • Private equity firms have trillions of dollars in cash to put to work on acquisitions.
    • Blackstone’s share price ticked over $100 for the first time this month.
    • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

    It’s been quite the month for Blackstone.

    The private-equity behemoth is part of a consortium of investors that bought Medline for about $34 billion, its share price ticked over $100 for the first time, and it’s doubling down on residential real estate with a $6 billion Home Partners of America buy.

    It’s a bet on scorching demand for housing continuing, and also a defensive move as inflation worries start to seep into investors’ minds. The average price of a home topped $350,000 for the first time inn May, according to the National Association of Realtors, logging the largest-ever increase in prices since the NAR began tracking data.

    “Whether it’s apartments, storage facilities for warehouse distribution, or single-family homes, private-equity is getting into this as an inflation hedge,” Nicholas Tsafos, a partner with accounting firm EisnerAmper, told Insider.

    Home Partners, which owns more than 17,000 homes in the US, rents out these properties, but tenants have an opportunity to someday buy the home.

    In the single-family rental arena, private-equity firms can hike rents, while also holding onto profitable, tangible assets.

    “Because interest rates are low, and with the potential for a pick-up in inflation, private-equity also feels the need to be long on hard assets,” Tsafos said. “In real estate, you buy it today and then flip it for a higher price.”

    Jon Gray, Blackstone’s president and COO, alluded to it during the firm’s earnings call in April when he said multi-family apartments that come with the ability to reset rents were key for Blackstone.

    The firm bought many houses at remarkable discounts after the housing market crashed in 2007. It accumulated a number of single-family homes through a former portfolio company Invitation Homes. Blackstone sold its final block of shares in the company in 2019.

    The private-equity shop also favors logistics spaces, such as warehousing, life sciences offices, and media and studio businesses with offices, according to a June 22 research note from UBS.

    In October, Blackstone made a handsome investment when it sold life sciences real-estate company BioMed Realty for $14.6 billion, after acquiring it for about $8 billion in January 2016.

    And it’s not just Blackstone. Fellow private-equity investor KKR is investing in My Community Homes, a platform that buys and manages single-family rental properties, according to Bloomberg.

    KKR will invest in My Community Homes through its real-estate and private-credit vehicles.

    A spokesperson for KKR was not immediately available to comment.

    The Carlyle Group said in May that it provided up to $300 million to Four Springs Capital Trust, a private REIT that acquires and manages single-tenant properties with long-term net leases.

    Four Springs will use the money to build its portfolio, which encompasses 122 properties across 29 states, Carlyle said in a press release.

    The move on real estate comes while private investment firms sit on more than $1 trillion in cash. Borrowing costs, too, remain subdued as the Fed keeps interest rates at all-time lows.

    Given the sheer amount of dry powder available, coupled with accommodative credit markets, private-equity is keen to conduct a surfeit of acquisitions, and isn’t shy about injecting large sums of equity into prospective investments.

    Medline, for example, is expected to raise roughly $17 billion from the debt markets, while the private investors are providing a similar amount in equity.

    “Big leveraged buyouts are back in vogue,” said Christopher Zook, chairman and CIO of alternative investment manager CAZ Investments. “Whether it’s KKR or Blackstone, they have large capital to put to work. So they’ve got to do a ton of deals.”

    Disclaimer: KKR holds a majority stake in Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer.

    It’s been quite the month for Blackstone.



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