I used to spend a lot of time playing video games. As the years have progressed, and I find myself with more and more artifacts of adulthood (job, wife, cats, etc.), that time has diminished. Now I only play the really good games. I just don't have time for crap. Which brings me to the subject of Little Big Planet. You may or may not be aware of the game, but it is shaping up to be the "killer app" for Sony's Playstation 3 console. While I won't get into the specifics, the game looks like an mix between a Pixar film and a Mario-style platformer with the added bonus that you (and everyone else) will be able to create your own levels, upload them and let the world play on your creations. Pretty cool, no? So with that in mind, I have patiently waited for the game's imminent release which was only recently supposed to happen on this coming Tuesday, October 21st.
Supposed to happen until I received this note from my local game store today:
Thank you for pre-ordering:
We have been informed by the publisher that the release date for LittleBigPlanet will change. We have tentatively changed the ship date in our system to October 28, 2008 pending confirmation from the vendor. You will be notified again once we have an official date.
Please Note: Dates are subject to change at any time. In our efforts to keep you informed, we are in constant communication with our vendors, and we are committed to providing you with the most accurate release dates possible.
Thank you for choosing <giant video game chain store>
An odd development to say the least. Especially when considering the fact that the release date is so soon and that the game has already been pressed into production and is in active beta testing on Sony's on-line Playstation Network. This kind of last minute delay must be super costly. I wonder why Sony would do this? Playability issues? Last minute terrible glitch discovery?
Sadly no. Here is the official reason:
During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur'an. We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused.
We will confirm the new launch date shortly.
So, a multimillion dollar game is being delayed due to the fact that there are "two expressions" that can be found in the Qur'an. Am I the only one who thinks that this is crazy? This game is going to be released in a host of participatory democracies (and here in America, too) who all firmly believe in freedom of and freedom from religion. To say nothing of free speech. I'm willing to guarantee that I will not be offended by anything in the soundtrack.
It should also be noted that in the last year, Sony has published a game where you strive to infiltrate the underworld of a seedy, simulated New York City by killing anyone you want to, a game where you travel back in time to refight a peice of the crusades AND a game where you can play as/blow the shit out of Arab (and presumably Muslim) fighters. But I can't manipulate adorable little sack creatures around a fantasy world of my own creation until Sony scrubs "two expressions" from a background song.
I wonder what the expressions are? Does anyone from the audience want to enlighten us?