Following on from yesterday’s decision to delay this week’s launch of Motorstorm Apocalypse in Japan, Sony have today also announced their decision to postpone the games release beyond its scheduled Friday launch in the UK.
A statement issued by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe read “We are very conscious of the parallels between these events and the underlying theme in MotorStorm and are doing everything we can to be as sensitive as possible to the situation.”
Regarding copies of the game already in the retail system, the statement added “Although the game itself is already in distribution, we are ceasing any further shipments and removing as much of the marketing materials as possible.”
While the odd copy slipping into the public’s hands is probably an inevitability at this point given the incredibly short notice of the delay, major retailers including GAME and HMV have already halted the processing of pre-orders. A revised launch date for the UK is currently unknown, although parity with the as of yet unaffected US launch on April 12 seems a likely guess. According to reports, the playable demo has also been withdrawn from the PlayStation Network with immediate effect.
Such a last minute delay is obviously disappointing, but the circumstances are totally understandable. Releasing a game that involves driving around an earthquake ravaged landscape a week after one of the most devastating natural disasters of recent times would have been pretty hard to swallow for many. As meaningless as it may be in the grand scheme of things, Sony would have also been welcomed with an absolute PR disaster. The gaming industry endures a turbulent relationship with the mainstream press as it is, and sandwiching advertisements for Motorstorm Apocalypse between rolling 24 hour news coverage of a very real and very current catastrophe would have presented far too much of an easy target.
Sony themselves have understandably been hit pretty hard by recent events in their home land, with many employees obviously affected. The company are however donating 300 million yen to the relief effort and will provide as many as 30,000 radios and other localised aid as and where required.
I’m sure the Tap community will join Evolution Studios and Sony Computer Entertainment in sending our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the recent tragedy.
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