Little Big Fuss Over Game Music

Sony were due to launch a new game, LittleBigPlanet, on October 24th. However, the background music used in the game caused the release to be postponed, as it was discovered that one of the tracks contains phrases from the Koran…

Offensive Atmosphere

A backing track used on one level of the game apparently contained two phrases from the Koran. Mixing phrases from the holy Muslim text with music could be offensive to Muslims, and to safeguard themselves from any backlash, Sony have issued a worldwide recall of the game. The release date has therefore been pushed back by at least a week.

The game itself is a much anticipated work developed by Media Molecule. It is essentially a 3D platform game, but one of its strengths is that it allows and encourages players to create their own objects and levels, then share them on the Internet.

The Key To Good PR?

While it is commendable that Sony do not wish to offend Muslims, it is interesting that they failed to recall Resistance: Fall of Man when Christians protested about that game’s use of the Manchester Cathedral. However, such protests did serve to raise the profile of the game, and it is certain that the recall of LittleBigPlanet will generate a lot of free publicity for Sony before the game’s rescheduled release.

It is also interesting that complaints so far seem to be directed at Sony, rather than at the artist who actually wrote and recorded the song in question – presumably, therfore, committing the original offense.

The song that caused all this trouble has not been explicitly identified by Sony, but unconfirmed comments state that it has been available on iTunes for some time, although (as most musicians are well aware) being on iTunes is not the quite the same thing as being heard. In fact, the artist in question is Toumani Diabate, and the song is called “Tapha Niang”, recorded in 2006. Toumani Diabate might find his profile being raised quite a lot over the next while, but this is the sort of publicity that needs to be managed very carefully…


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