Little Big Planet delayed over Koran phrases in Background music

Discussion in 'Sony PlayStation 1 & 2' started by xcalibur, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. xcalibur
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    Member xcalibur Gbatemp's Chocolate Bear

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    I just saw this on the news and I'm confused as to why no one has made a topic about it. I did a quick search of the site and found nothing...

    Anyway, as a muslim I don't find this offensive and any big way and I probably would've been okay if this was in the final game. On the other hand however, this is usually how commercialization starts. Its always with the small things and in a few years we'll have Mohammed: Superstar and Muslim rock and it'll become fashionable to wear muslim symbols on chains around your neck.

    What are your opinions Gbatemp?

    source: http://news.zdnet.com/2424-9595_22-242636.html
     


  2. Pimpmynintendo

    Member Pimpmynintendo GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Nah it's the age old story of not using religion in video games they are trying to cater to everybody.
     
  3. m3rox

    Member m3rox GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    no.

    They said they didn't want to offend Muslims.

    Personally, I think that the middle-eastern Muslims get offended way too easily.
     
  4. warmijwilfaain

    Member warmijwilfaain War Mage MILF

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    I think that's be quite good actually [​IMG]

    Anyway, I thought it was a rubbish reason to delay LBP. Doesn't make any sense at all
     
  5. Opium

    Former Staff Opium PogoShell it to me ™

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    Agreed.

    I don't mind that the Muslim population has its own culture and views Mohammed as sacred. But that's not my culture, nor my country's culture. I don't know why everyone else has to adhered to the whims of the Muslim culture. If they get easily offended so what? Someone sang about Mohammed, oh well, grow a thick hide.

    Delaying the game just because of a few song references is absurd. Next we'll censor TV when people say "Jesus" as an exclamation or in a derogatory way.
     
  6. Hadrian

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Well my opinion is that the song being in the game can't harm the religion, it might even help. People may listen to it and like it, they track down the artists others songs. Then they find out what the words mean and perhaps they'll feel inspired by it.

    It does seem weird that people are up in arms over this even though you can easily buy the song in most places.
     
  7. OSW

    Former Staff OSW Wii King

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    pretty sure they removed some music in OOT due to similar reasoning.
     
  8. mcp2

    Member mcp2 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I think some of you need to do some research first because I havn't seen any Muslims having riots over this, it was only an employee that spotted the lines and brought it up.
     
  9. Hadrian

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    I've seen people bitch about it on TV, most of them don't seem to know what the song is about anyway.
     
  10. Jax

    Member Jax Pip Pip Cheerioink!

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    The same fuss happened with Zack & Wiki, remember?

    Some muslim chants were played in a level.
     
  11. Sstew

    Member Sstew GBAtemp's Grim Reaper.

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    Not trying to be offensive, but I think this is stupid. I understand your not trying to offend anyone and their personal beliefs, but this isn't the middle east.

    Also it isn't like they were using the words in a hateful or spiteful way. I dont seem to understand why the muslim groups are that easily offended.
     
  12. BiscuitBee

    Member BiscuitBee Semi-Resident Cookie-Bug

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    Thanks Jasser, that's exactly what I'm talkin' about.
     
  13. Psyfira

    Member Psyfira Credit: 0ml. Insert tea to continue

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    I'm wondering how it managed to get into the game in the first place. Surely the people who pick background music check the song lyrics as part of their job? I mean, you can't have someone yelling explicit lyrics in the background of the next big kiddies game just because the whole thing's sung in Sweedish. Just sounds odd to me.

    ...actually now I've written that it's just dawned on me that even if they had translated it they might not've realised it was a quote.

    I agree that people go way too far defending muslim sensitivities sometimes, but in this case given the content of the quoted phrases I think delaying the game is justified.

    Plus in an odd way it's giving a load of free publicity to the game, the people who aren't bothered by the phrases but hadn't heard of the game before are taking notice. My Mum reckons the little knitted guy is well cute [​IMG]
     
  14. Banni

    Newcomer Banni Newbie

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    Um, that's the one religion you can do anything you want to. The Christian religion is castrated, mocked, misinterpreted, and reinterpreted all the time in worldwide media and if you complain, you only make Christianity look worse. If you just look at Japanese media, the number of ways Christianity is used in anime alone is confusing and mind-boggling. Plus Christian symbols have become simple decorations on characters' outfits without having any meaning to them, which has been confusing to Western audiences. When I look at things from that angle, I can understand the desire to protect your religion and it's sacred symbols from being secularized. And yet I have seen some very creative, interesting programs that would have been negatively impacted if they hadn't been allowed to use Christianity in a fictionalized interpretation.

    My argument to Muslim groups that get upset is that Christianity has survived all the misinformation and misrepresentations (malicious or otherwise). It's the same thing I said ages back when the Hindu groups got an episode of Xena removed because it misrepresented their faith. If you are looking for the truth of a religion in a fictional setting, you are searching for answers in the wrong place.

    It's not the use of any faith in an artistic or fictional way that bothers me, it's the lack of consistency in the reactions to it. If it's not okay to use Muslim chants or holy songs or to mention that faith in any negative light, then it shouldn't be okay to do that to any other religion, even to the extent of cults. And then we run into the problem of what is acceptable discourse about faith and the various world religions.

    That said, I can't help but wonder if half the reason it was pulled was that they feared an anti-Muslim backlash. There are groups of people out there who will make a big deal about Koran phrases being in games because they are afraid or angry. By announcing it in a way that makes them appear sensitive to Muslims who might be offended, they can then get good PR without losing a group who might boycott their product on "principle". Somewhat like my neighbor's son who won't buy any piece of electronics that isn't 100% made in the US. It's all about the almighty dollar in the end and a few delays to edit out someone's artistic vision while earning good PR for the company seems like a better deal than risking outrage over the game from someone or other or lamely (but possibly honestly) announcing that the game just isn't ready. (Maybe that sounds a bit pessimistic, but my group was up late last night discussing this very topic.)

    It is an interesting topic, Xcalibur, and I hope I have responded in a thoughtful way. I am not desensitized to the misuse of religious music, symbols, or holy people. I've studied world religions and lived in three very different countries, so I believe in harmony and inter-cultural understanding without sacrificing who you are and what you value. But I have also experienced the bigotry and closemindedness of human nature firsthand.

    BTW -- pimpmynintendo, many RPG's have religion in them. Harvest Moon and Final Fantasy spring to mind, both of them referencing and building on animistic faiths such as the Druidic faith of the Celtic peoples (which is experiencing a revival, even if it is a reinterpretation of a poorly documented faith system), or "borrowed" dieties from Norse, Greek, and Roman mythology mixed with Hindu gods and goddesses.
     
  15. BlueStar

    Member BlueStar GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Didn't Christian groups get inverted crosses removed from Doom games and didn't the Church of England go batshit crazy, start talking about legal action and want Sony to completely withdraw Resistance because of it featuring a Manchester Cathedral? I always roll my eyes when people say Christianity is 'Fair Game', all it takes is for a company not to put Merry Christmas on one of their leaflets and some people act like Christians are being fed to the lions. When Jerry Springer the Opera was being shown in my hometown Christians were giving me shit just because I was walking past and wouldn't take their leaflets about how oppressed they were because of it being shown.

    As for LBP, I find it quite hard to get annoyed about this - it's not censorship, it's just business. If it was a request to take out content anyone cared about I'd be pretty narced, but I don't think anyone's not going to enjoy the game because it's missing a few words they didn't understand anyway.
     
  16. Little

    Member Little I r Little

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    oh wank! people were talking about this at work today, but didnt mention the game title.... so i wasnt too bothered. its happened with things like mario party where a game gets recalled or delayed (turn that train spastic!)

    but now i know its little big planet, im pissed! been looking forward to this game for aaggesss.

    I bet its cost the company loads of money if they had produced all the CD's and stuff!!!
     
  17. BiscuitBee

    Member BiscuitBee Semi-Resident Cookie-Bug

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    No kidding [​IMG] I hope Sony gets a sweet deal with all those bluray discs! Actually, now that I think about it, they probably get the biggest discount.

    I hope they can use the same packaging and manuals [​IMG]
     
  18. Pimpmynintendo

    Member Pimpmynintendo GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Isn't that what I said basically?
     
  19. Banni

    Newcomer Banni Newbie

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    BlueStar -- you just proved my point. As for the protest of inverted crosses, well, that just shows some people haven't read their Bibles, since the inverted cross was used in martyring. And I was talking about Christians, not the Christian Right movement -- which is out of control. As for your other comment about Christianity not being "Fair Game", I'd love to talk to you about it offpost if you want to look at that stance from all sides.

    Can't say I know much about the Manchester Cathedral and that drama, but I can say that locations have special meanings to specific people. Would you be as upset if the French didn't want the Louvre used in something? And would you be understanding if it was a mosque? I think the real question of this thread is where is it okay to draw the line? Around one religion? Around one culture? Xcalibur raises the valid point of commercialization and its impact on the religion involved. I personally feel that if you are recreating a location, then all buildings are fair game. But it's the purpose of the building that needs to be analyzed. Are you involving a church/temple/mosque/other type of worship site for the shock value or does it really contribute to the storyline? Ultimately, I'm not a fan of censorship and I'd prefer to let the consumer decide if something is appropriate for them, but as an artist, I have always embraced the concept of self-editing and ensuring that the things I choose to include (language, location, characters, etc) is truly relevant to the message. Again, I invite you to share that information with me off-post, since that is devolving into a different discussion.

    My reason for bringing up Christianity and Hinduism is that those two plus Islam are the three biggest world religions and they have all been exposed to reinterpretations and secular uses. The violent reactions to media referencing Islam have not just occurred in the Middle East. It wasn't that long ago that a Danish newspaper ran a political cartoon satirizing Mohammed and violence broke out there. Or look at the Satanic Verses by Rushdie that most Westerners see as a man's exploration of his faith and ultimately embraces Islam after questioning it. It may have been an over-reaction on the part of the company to pull game for re-editing, but it isn't as if there aren't precedents. A Japanese manga in re-release has had to issue apologies for using an image in which the villain is seen reading a "foreign" book. They wanted something very different to show consumers who were familiar with the Roman alphabet. They found that in Arabic. They either did not realize or comprehend the religious importance of using the Koran or the stigma which would be perceived by Muslims. Their innocence of intent, however, means nothing as they are having to apologize and if I remember correctly, recall and re-draw that piece. The company has decided to err on the side of caution rather than risk the protests of Muslims who might find it offensive. I'm fairly certain most companies don't worry about what the Hindu population might think and most have realized the vast majority of Christians have a sense of humor (again, I'm leaving the Christian Right out of it) or can shrug it off. Not to say Muslims can't. More to say that I think a lot of Western companies don't understand the Islamic culture well, nor even, should I say, do most Americans. And I really can't help but wonder if some secularization wouldn't help make Islam less "obscure" to the average person.

    As for the comment about loads of money lost on CDs and stuff, I really have to doubt that. It's the cost of development and advertising that you are paying for, not the plastic discs that may end up "mysteriously" available on Ebay or something. They're still releasing the game, with loads of new, free advertising thanks to this announcement and the debate it is causing, so don't worry over the company.
     
  20. xcalibur
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    Member xcalibur Gbatemp's Chocolate Bear

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    Banni raises some great points in his posts and I must say that I got a great deal of information out of them.
    I completely and wholly agree with whatever he's said.

    However I feel that I should explain the reason muslims got so pissed at the danish illustrations.
    It is in the sunnah and the most likely the arab culture that a man of great importance (in this case the prophet) must never be insulted. The first followers of the prophet would not tolerate any slander or ill speak of their prophet and the devotion ran so deep that a blind man killed his wife (who happened to be his caretaker), because she kept cursing the prophet.

    Another thing is that this over sensitivity is probably a ploy for more publicity. There was no massive outrage, just a beta tester pointing out that the song had a koranic verse.
    It was most likely just an arab song, as those have a tendency to reference to religion.
    No one in arab countries go mad over those songs so it seems a bit like a double standard to me.
     

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