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Sony, church discuss violent game

- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2007

TOKYO (AP) — Sony has begun talks with the Church of England over complaints that violent action sequences in a shooting game for the new PlayStation 3 console take place in what appears to be Manchester Cathedral.

The company learned of the complaints through news reports and began direct talks with the church "yesterday or today," Sony Computer Entertainment spokeswoman Nanako Kato said in Tokyo.

"We take the church's views seriously," she said. She declined to give details of the talks.

More time may be needed for an agreement because the problem is complex, she said.

Historical buildings are often used in entertainment, she said, citing iconic movie scenes involving Godzilla and the Tokyo Tower and King Kong in Manhattan.

The church has said Sony Corp. did not ask for permission to use what appears to be Manchester Cathedral in scenes of the game and has demanded an apology.

Miss Kato acknowledged the church in the game "Resistance: Fall of Man," a fast-paced first-person shooter, bears a resemblance in some parts to Manchester Cathedral. The point was to depict a backdrop of an old church, not to illustrate a specific church, she said.

In parts of the game, a character walks through a cathedral armed with a gun and shoots at alien enemies, which spew blood.

Although the cathedral appears only in some scenes, it would be difficult to delete just those scenes from the game, which went on sale with the release of the PlayStation 3 next-generation console.

The console went on sale in Japan and the U.S. late last year, and in March in Europe.

Sony understands the Church of England is offended especially because of its efforts to reduce the serious problem of gun violence in Manchester, Miss Kato said. She declined to comment whether Sony would donate money to such efforts.

Global sales of "Resistance: Fall of Man" — a Sony original — have totaled more than 2 million units, Miss Kato said.