LBP just got delayed because of political correctness.
To: Sony Computer Entertainment & Media Molecule
While playing your latest game, "LittleBigPlanet" in the first level of the third world in the game (titled "Swinging Safari"), I have noticed something strange in the lyrics of the music track of the level. When I listened carefully, I was surprised to hear some very familiar Arabic words from the Quran. You can listen to part of the track here: http://mt14.quickshareit.com/share/preview/soundclip22503c0.wav
The words are:
1- In the 18th second: "كل نفس ذائقة الموت" ("kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt", literally: 'Every soul shall have the taste of death').
2- Almost immediately after, in the 27th second: "كل من عليها فان" ("kollo man alaiha fan", literally: 'All that is on earth will perish').
I asked many of my friends online and offline and they heard the exact same thing that I heard easily when I played that part of the track. Certain Arabic hardcore gaming forums are already discussing this, so we decided to take action by emailing you before this spreads to mainstream attention.
We Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Quran deeply offending. We hope you would remove that track from the game immediately via an online update, and make sure that all future shipments of the game disk do not contain it.
We would also like to mention that this isn't the first time something like this happened in videogames. Nintendo's 1998 hit "Zelda: Ocarina of Time" contained a musical track with islamic phrases, but it was removed in later shipments of the game after Nintendo was contacted by Muslim organizations. Last year, Capcom's "Zack & Wiki" and Activision's "Call of Duty 4" also contained objectionable material offensive to Muslims that was spotted before the release of the final games, and both companies thankfully removed the content.
We hope you act immediately to avoid any confusion and unnecessary controversy, and we thank you for making such an amazing game.
(On behalf of the gamers at True-Gaming.net)
As SCEE vaguely put it, "one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game" is the cause of LittleBigPlanet's -- now worldwide -- delay. So which track is it? Well, the song is "Tapha Niang" from the 2006 album Boulevard de l'Independance by Grammy award-winning Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté (and it's available on iTunes, both Zune and Amazon marketplaces, and we imagine just about any place popular world music is sold). You can even listen to the track in its entirety on Toumani's MySpace page.
From the brief research we've done (um ... Wikipedia), we have yet to find evidence to suggest "Tapha Niang" (or any Toumani Diabaté production for that matter) has been criticized for possible religious offenses prior to today's development. In fact, a profile published by Taipei Times describes Toumani Diabaté as "a devout Muslim, with his own prayer room next to his office."
While the backstory seems to indicate "Tapha Niang" was a tasteful, if not highly regarded selection for LBP's soundtrack, the reality is Sony is beginning a process to remove the song's inclusion from the game. With Church of England's beef still fresh in memory, Sony's no doubt playing this one safe as can be. Sorry SackBoy, but you've been benched.