Sony is delaying the much- anticipated PlayStation 3 title LittleBigPlanet due to a late discovery that background music tracks contained two expressions found in the Qur'an, an inclusion some might deem offensive.
"We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offense that this may have caused," Sony said on its official US PlayStation blog on Friday. "Sorry for the delay, and rest assured, we are doing everything we can to get LittleBigPlanet to you as soon as possible."
The issue came to light on official PlayStation Community forums and reportedly on some Arabic gaming forums, as well.
"We Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Qur'an deeply offending," a contributor to the Sony forums wrote on Thursday. "We hope you would remove that track from the game immediately via an online patch, and make sure that all future shipments of the game disk do not contain it."
The platform game -- in which players use highly customisable lead characters to solve puzzles and create their own levels -- was slated for release on Friday. The game will now appear in UK stores on the week of Monday 3 November. Copies of the game already released elsewhere in the world will be recalled from retailers and replaced, according to Sony.
British game developer Media Molecule, creator of LittleBigPlanet, said it was as "shocked and dismayed by [the delay] as anyone -- shellshocked and gutted. We can't wait for you all to get playing and creating!"
Media Molecule added, however, that it takes the potentially offensive licensed tracks seriously. "LBP should be enjoyable by all," the company said on its Web site.
Within 12 hours of hearing about the issue, the developer said it prepared an automatic "day zero" patch that would have removed the potentially offensive lyrics, which it says it believes were in Somali. "However, a decision was made within Sony that the right thing to do for quality and support... was to replace existing disks," Media Molecule said.
Many reviewers have praised the game, calling it beautiful and brilliant. GameSpot UK's Guy Cocker described it as "novel and imaginative" and gave it 9 out of 10. -Leslie Katz