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PS3 vs. The Church of England

PS3 vs. The Church of England

Controversy rages over a battle in Resistance: Fall of Man, which takes place in Manchester Cathedral.

Sony can apparently do no right lately (Ed - lately?), causing controversy left, right and centre whether justified or not.

Still, Sony is a giant of the industry and has admirably weathered the storm in each and every case, though this time it may have finally met its match as The Church of England opposes the PS3 game, Resistance: Fall of Man.

The dispute between The Church and Sony has arisen over an in-game battle which takes place in the nave of Manchester Cathedral. The Church claims that Sony has used the location without asking for permission and are furious that the house of God would be used as a backdrop for such a violent scene.

"For a global manufacturer to re-create one of our great cathedrals with photo-realistic quality and then encourage people to have guns battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible." Said The Bishop of Manchester, Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch.

Sony has yet to respond to the Church, who are now demanding that the game be pulled from shelves, that a public apology be made and that a 'large donation' be given. All Sony has said on the matter is the following, reasserting that the game is actually fiction:

"Resistance: Fall of Man is a fantasy science fiction game and is not based on reality. The game is set in an alternate and mythical version of Europe in the 1950s, in which the enemy are strange looking alien invaders seeking to destroy humanity.

Whilst we believe that we have sought and received all permissions necessary for the creation of the game, we will be contacting the Cathedral authorities in order to better understand their concerns in more detail."


It's an interesting situation, and opinion is divided on who's right in this escalating battle. There are a massive number of games with churches in after all, so is The Church of England simply using this as a chance to oppose violence in the media due to the perceived wave of negativity towards Sony in Europe? Can Sony really be faulted for using the location in a game which is obviously fictional?

Is Sony right to use free speech in this way? Is violence in the media too widespread? If God was one of us, which console would he favour? Let us know your answers in the forums.

26 Comments

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Nexxo 11th June 2007, 14:12 Quote
See Serious Discussion (such as it is... :p).
[WP@]WOLVERINE 11th June 2007, 16:16 Quote
Another fine example of religious nuts acting as religious nuts. I sure hope that Sony doesnt bend over and gives in to this.
CardJoe 11th June 2007, 16:41 Quote
This is great for people like me, as it can't really go wrong from my point of view. Either Sony gets sued and hated by christians everywhere serving them right for screwing over Europe for years, or some religious nuts get shown to be idiots in the court case. Win, freaking win, baby. And as a plus, some Daily Mail readers are inevitably going to look stupid when they get caught in the crossfire. Score!
devdevil85 11th June 2007, 17:00 Quote
OMG how ridiculous.......they're just in it for the money. "Just give us a lump sum of $$$ and we'll shut up". I mean for them to take that game seriously or to think that it would alter any gamer's perception of the church is just childish....
Hiren 11th June 2007, 17:23 Quote
Someone needs to make a game where you play as Jesus.......

.......although the ending might be a bit of a giveaway.
[WP@]WOLVERINE 11th June 2007, 17:31 Quote
That would be one mad game :) A first person shooter where Jesus walks around with a huge cross beating the **** out of everything that moves :D Jesus opens a can of Red Sea Whopass on the ROmans :D
Hiren 11th June 2007, 17:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [WP@]WOLVERINE
That would be one mad game :) A first person shooter where Jesus walks around with a huge cross beating the **** out of everything that moves :D Jesus opens a can of Red Sea Whopass on the ROmans :D

You know it! :D

Wonder if there is a mod out there for any first person shooter like that.
Temet Nosce 11th June 2007, 17:33 Quote
While I'm normally agaisnt all the games being blamed for violence trend thats been apparent recently... I'm afraid im with the church on this one. The church represents peoples beliefs and in some cases the way these people live their lives. To have people blasting off weapons inside is undermining everything these people believe in and stand for, which is generally peace and love.

I've seen Manchester Cathedral many times, and its a beautiful place and I certainly can't imagine gun fights going on in it. I am slightly suprised that sony didnt just make a random church that couldn't be identified, its almost as if they are looking for trouble.
Techno-Dann 11th June 2007, 17:55 Quote
While I could see Sony's point if the game just featured the outside of the cathedral, going inside crosses a bit of a line, IMO. The Church (the owners of the building) control what goes on inside the real church, shouldn't they control what goes on inside a digital re-creation of it as well? Or are you looking forward to the day when in UberZombieFest13, players burst into a digital representation of your house, tear up digital representations of your stuff, and shoot your (digitally zombified) family?
CardJoe 11th June 2007, 18:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temet Nosce
While I'm normally agaisnt all the games being blamed for violence trend thats been apparent recently... I'm afraid im with the church on this one. The church represents peoples beliefs and in some cases the way these people live their lives. To have people blasting off weapons inside is undermining everything these people believe in and stand for, which is generally peace and love.

True, but nobody has the right not to be offended. I'm an atheist and only believe in the real world in front of me, does that mean that every act of violence offends me or that I don't stand for peace and love? Not at all, as religion and morality are not at all linked - every suicide bomber against the west and the history of the crusades proves that.

Just because something represents someones beliefs doesn't mean that other people cannot oppose it, adapt it, mimick it or change it. I agree it's possibly insensitive for sony not to apologise, but they should really do no more than that in a reasonable culture as they have the right to freedom of speech through a creative medium and the only way they can legally be opposed is if the church counts as copyrightable property. However, it ends there in my opinion and if people get offended they can write a letter to Mr Playstation himself.

Just my two cents
DarkLord7854 11th June 2007, 19:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temet Nosce
While I'm normally agaisnt all the games being blamed for violence trend thats been apparent recently... I'm afraid im with the church on this one. The church represents peoples beliefs and in some cases the way these people live their lives. To have people blasting off weapons inside is undermining everything these people believe in and stand for, which is generally peace and love.

I've seen Manchester Cathedral many times, and its a beautiful place and I certainly can't imagine gun fights going on in it. I am slightly suprised that sony didnt just make a random church that couldn't be identified, its almost as if they are looking for trouble.

I would agree with you, had the Church not said they wanted a big donation. They had me going that it was a bad thing Sony was going, then they mentioned money, and then you realize just how much the Church really doesn't give a damn about religion, cept for a handful of Church officials here and there. It's rather disgusting honestly IMO, you should see the Church near my house, the priest is always asking for donations to "renovate" the Church, but it's always looking as crappy, the furniture is still just as old, nothing has changed, oh wait, he bought a Hummer H2, and a new 7 bedroom house, and he's sending his son to an expensive college, and his daughter goes to an expensive private school. My family has lost all belief in church. So I hope Sony wins :)
metarinka 11th June 2007, 19:37 Quote
I'm not sure about copyright laws etc in england but I believe this is a civil case that falls under those bounds. sony had to secure rights to use the church in their commercial product and as long as they didn't breach contract and lie about how they would portray the church then there is no issue in my mind. or perhaps the church being as historic as it is falls under general domain and then you could do what ever you want with its likeness. it is obviously ficition and they aren't slandering the church in any way so i don't see what the big deal is

I think the church is trying to make a big deal out of a very small and benign issue, asking for the donation is kinda shady as well.
Drexial 11th June 2007, 19:41 Quote
i dunno how extortion works in the UK but.... "give me a large sum of money or we will sue you" seems to be extortion to me.

i think its ridiculous, i mean if they were truly serious about desecrating a connection to god, then wouldn't they appose any violent game happening anywhere i mean after all the earth was created by his own hands right?

i could see the church having an argument if they showed the clergymen performing satanic rituals in the basement of it. but its just a building made by man as a place to be with others that believe the same thing. the universe as they would believe it is gods house.
completemadness 11th June 2007, 20:15 Quote
Is it just me here but, doesn't the church oppose violence and such, therefore any christian shouldn't really be playing this game, and therefore, how do they know that the church was used as a backdrop ?

Although i have to agree with the above, it sounds rather like extortion
CardJoe 11th June 2007, 20:22 Quote
As far as copyright on buildings goes: The copyright on a structure holds for the entire architects life, plus 70 years.

The cathedral is over 800 years old, so unless the architect is a vampire then they don't have a leg to stand on legally. If the architect IS a vampire, then the church should deal with him and stop fart-arseing around with all this Sony nonsense.
sandys 11th June 2007, 20:29 Quote
This is ridiculous piece of news but hey its probably good for Sony, the Goat slaughter news no doubt helped shift a lot of GoWII and this will probably push a few more units for RFoM sales, nice bit of publicity. :D
sinizterguy 11th June 2007, 20:48 Quote
I saw a priest park his Ferrari behind a church. Guess they want Sony to pay for all those amenities.
Asphix 11th June 2007, 21:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techno-Dann
While I could see Sony's point if the game just featured the outside of the cathedral, going inside crosses a bit of a line, IMO. The Church (the owners of the building) control what goes on inside the real church, shouldn't they control what goes on inside a digital re-creation of it as well? Or are you looking forward to the day when in UberZombieFest13, players burst into a digital representation of your house, tear up digital representations of your stuff, and shoot your (digitally zombified) family?


Quite honestly, I would be honord if someone chose my house as a location for a video game. That would be pretty sweet.. sadly my house isn't quite that exciting.

Secondly, your argument is taken out of context as soon as you mentioned people. In resistance there arent priests that look like the priests who live at this cathedral. Hell, to my knowledge there aren't priests - PERIOD! If there were and it was in effect a semblence of a simulation killing priests i could understand them being upset.

As it stands they have no grounds upon which to be upset. Churches have been used in various other mediums from movies to books to television shows and it usually goes through without complaint. Unless there were implications that this was reality, non-fiction, and thus having some false real-world commentary (is this cathedral really the site of bloody battles with aliens bent on human conquest?) then they may have some traction in the form of slander.

As it stands waht resistance does is akin to someone telling a yo-mama joke about Jimmy's mother (Jimmys momma so stuipid she... !). When jimmy hears it he succinctly demands a forced public apology and some sort of compensation.

You can ALMOST see why the person (jimmy in this example) would be upset if you really try and sympathize for them but once logic, reason and context are applied the arguement is rendered moot and you have to question the sanity and emotional stability of the offended.
whisperwolf 11th June 2007, 21:37 Quote
There really is no point even in trying to defend the church's point of view on these forums anymore, you immediately get looked at as a religious nut case. However stuff it.
1. The church’s main concern seemed to be the use of the interior of the building being used for a gunfight, the same church that has tried for a good number of years to reduce gun crime (yes probably in their own ineffectual way) in one of the most gun prolific places in the UK. Making it feel to them that their building was encouraging gunfights and destroying the work they have done.
2. In this day and age the only way to attract the attention of a major multinational organisation is to threaten their profit, so yes money was going to be shouted about.
3. If your worried they may be misusing funds raise a query to the church elders or depending on the diocese the district chairman or bishop.
4. Priests are not monks and are allowed possessions, so what if they happen to want a nice car.
5. The church has raised to my mind an interesting debate on the legal ownership of the graphical representation of privately owned interior spaces, leaving aside the fact that its the church that has raised this where do people stand if someone creates a virtual copy of your house and fills it with animal porn?
Now you may all happily ignore this post as another of those religious nut cases.
supermonkey 11th June 2007, 21:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinizterguy
I saw a priest park his Ferrari behind a church. Guess they want Sony to pay for all those amenities.

Really, people, let's try to keep this in perspective. So you saw a priest driving a Ferrari. It is possible for priests to have other forms of income. It's entirely possible that the person you saw was wealthy before becoming a priest. Do you even know, for certain, that the person was a priest to begin with. How did he come to own the car? Did he pilfer the donation bin, acting the part of the greedy, good-for-nothin' priest that you already had in mind? Did he save up his own money for years and years, making wise investments, just to treat himself with something nice? This kind of comment just shows an utter lack of understanding of how organized religion works.

As soon as I saw this news on the front page, I just knew that I would come here to find the anti-religious zealots out in force. Good to see that I wasn't disappointed.

I can see why the church is taken aback. Sony have used a recognizable structure (one that does indeed stand for peace) and have used it as a location for a violent confrontation. It doesn't matter what form the building has taken: Photograph, video, or digital render; Sony have used the likeness without permission. I wonder what Sony would think of me creating a digital render of the Playstation 3, and using that image to make money?

Some people have mentioned that churches and priests are used in film all the time. Generally, when a known church is used in a media form (particularly any interior shots), the producer obtains permission to use the location. Watch the credits for any movie, and you'll generally see a list of people and places that are given thanks for their cooperation. Contrary to popular belief, film crews don't just show up on the street and start filming.

Furthermore, just because something was done in the past, it doesn't make it right. Maybe the church - in the general sense of the word - is growing tired of seeing its image used over and over again in a negative light. "Too bad," you say, "that's how it's always been, and you didn't complain before."

Yeah, if only those slaves hadn't started complaining, either...

-monkey
saeghwin 12th June 2007, 01:15 Quote
I wouldn't say it's any different than featuring the location in a book. So, assuming there's nothing wrong with that, the church shouldn't be making that big of a deal.
teabagger 12th June 2007, 10:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
This is great for people like me, as it can't really go wrong from my point of view. Either Sony gets sued and hated by christians everywhere serving them right for screwing over Europe for years, or some religious nuts get shown to be idiots in the court case. Win, freaking win, baby. And as a plus, some Daily Mail readers are inevitably going to look stupid when they get caught in the crossfire. Score!


I see some of still haven't grown out of jumping on the anti-Sony bandwagon.
CardJoe 12th June 2007, 11:38 Quote
I'm not anti-sony per-se. In fact, I'm on their side now in this thing. I just don't like how they neglect Europe, which I also feel about Nintendo to a lesser extent.
mikeuk2004 12th June 2007, 19:06 Quote
Money Money Money the world is greedy and all they want is Money
dgb 13th June 2007, 05:28 Quote
I'm a strident atheist, but in this case I have to come down on the side of the Church. While it may be legal, it is definately poor form to use detailed images of a private location without getting prior permission to do so. Arguments over what the Church's role is etc. aside, I live in a house that would be fine for Sony to use under the copyright law given above (life of architecht + 70 years), but I'd be pretty pissed off if I found it being used in a game without permission.

Sony are just showing themselves to be their usual arrogant, we can do no wrong selves.
themax 13th June 2007, 17:17 Quote
I didn't know using a 100+ year old church in a video game as part of a site of a Humans versus Alien invaders (Mankind is fighting for survival) was pretty arrogant of Insomniac, oops, Sony.

All aboard!

That arrogance label sure is getting out of hand ;)
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