In a turn of events that feels rather sad, Sony Japan has officially cancelled a Japanese release of the PS3 racing game Motorstorm: Apocalypse, which had earlier been placed on indefinite suspension.
Sony gave no specific reason as to the cause of the cancellation, but the motivations are fairly obvious. After all, the game features players racing through a city as it is being actively destroyed by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Plus, Motorstorm Apocalypse was mere days from release at the time of March 11's great Tohoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami.
This decision most certainly smacks of over-sensitivity, similar to the over-sensitivity that axed the development of Irem's Disaster Report 4. Personally I'd think Americans should be more sensitive about Motorstorm's destructive aesthetic than Japanese. The city being destroyed bears an uncanny, almost disturbing resemblance to San Francisco. Driving under a collapsing Coit Tower or over falling ruins of the Golden Gate bridge, or past a doomed building that's obviously the Transamerica pyramid (even though they're never named as such in-game) might feel a bit off for some over-sensitive San Franciscans.
Unless, of course, Americans hate San Francisco now, in which case they might be happy.
That said, I can hardly blame Sony for making the call. People can get offended over the most trivial things, and playing it safe in this case was a fairly harmless option. Besides, Japanese players slavering for the ability to rock San Francisco to its foundations (and below) can always import the game, seeing as the PS3 is region-free.
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