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Harrison On LBP Recall: "Absolutely The Right Thing To Do"

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the LittleBigPlanet; recall - you may recall one Muslim group's reply - and now, former Sony President of Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison, has decided to speak up on the issue. This one, not surprisingly, comes from a business-oriented mind.

Harrison, now the president of Atari, told GamesIndustry.biz that he thinks Sony's decision to recall LBP was "absolutely the right decision." He adds that this delay won't have any sort of negative impact on the game's ultimate success, which he considers to be a pretty amazing accomplishment:

"I downloaded the beta, I sat down to play it, and it's pretty rare that within five seconds of starting a game you fall in love with a bit of software. And it was just the most fantastic experience, the whole intro sequence, where you've got the narration and the video of the dreams coming off the people in real life, going up to form the planet - I just thought that was absolutely inspired. ...so I think people are going to be blown away by the game, and while I'm obviously sad for the stumble, I don't think it will affect the long term success of the game one iota."

But during his keynote address at the Unite 08 event in Copenhagen, Harrison said Sony needed to pull the highly anticipated title, as it "was fundamental to the core mission of the game." Remember, Media Molecule and Sony have been presenting this particular title as one that the entire world should enjoy; it's geared towards everyone, so everyone should feel comfortable playing it. Said Harrison:

"I wasn't privy to all of the discussions and debate that went on within Sony, but I know they would have thought very deeply about it, and at the highest level of the company. And on reflection I think it was absolutely the right thing to do, because LittleBigPlanet set out from day one to be a game for the entire world - and if there was anything that accidentally detracted from that vision and made the game not fun for the entire world, then the game would have fundamentally failed in its mission.

So I think Sony took absolutely the right decision - painful though it was, and frustrating though it might be for gamers who were looking forward to it. It only seems to have heightened the anticipation, so I think it'll end up being a win, and full credit to Media Molecule for turning around a fix as quickly as they did."

There are always two sides to every story, and several different ways of looking at things. From a business and promotion standpoint, perhaps Sony had no other alternative. From the average non-Muslim gamer standpoint, it's disappointing, but with so many opinions out there...well, we should try to listen to as many as possible to get a gander at the bigger picture.

Related Game(s): LittleBigPlanet

10/22/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Joe_III
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 10:50:36 AM
Reply

Idiot.

Pretty much anything said by Sony management these days is either uneducated spin or an outright lie.

EDIT: Not that that statement isn't true for just about anyone else.

Last edited by Joe_III on 10/22/2008 10:51:01 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:02:56 AM

Gross exaggeration and Harrison is no longer with Sony.

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 1:01:22 PM

You say everything they say is "uneducated or outright lie"

Care to explain instead of spewing out statements without backing them up?

Now remember, opinions are opinions, I'm looking for facts.

Fact: If LBP kept that offensive song it would've looked on the game. Resulting to controversies(on the media), which leads to lower sells. Sony's arguably biggest game this year would be laughed at, and it would all really go to hell right there.

Not saying that it would get as bad as that, but it would surely make the game look bad.

Funny, people are complaining 'bout a one week delay lol.

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DIsmael85
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 1:09:52 PM

Wow Joe, people can have opinions my friend, but I get a feeling of hidden fanboyism in you. I think honestly, your post should be deleted as it does nothing to help with this article. I can actually say Im offended by the first word you chose to use before spewing out your garbage. I mean literally offended.

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Joe_III
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:13:57 PM

@Ben
Yes, yes it is. Phil Harrison never told a lie while working for Sony, will not tell any lies for atari. That said, I have never been impressed by Mr. Harrison when I've met him in person at E306, or heard him speak at GDC07.

This should be more than enough evidence:

Q: When you speak to Phil Harrison, can you please ask him about his derogatory comments regarding two-tier consoles and motion tracking in controllers, bearing in mind that these features have now been adopted wholesale by his company?

A: OK, what I said, unambiguously, was that we would never give the consumer cause for confusion, and that we would be very clear about our product offering.

http://www.edge-online.com/features/harrison-talks-ps3-reaction-controllers

@ Scare:
"Fact: If LBP kept that offensive song it would've looked on the game. Resulting to controversies(on the media), which leads to lower sells. Sony's arguably biggest game this year would be laughed at, and it would all really go to hell right there."

Wrong. A very, very, _very_ minor base of one Islamic sect was actually worried about it. Even the head of the AIFD said that it was a dumb reason for a recall. http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/10/21/american-muslim-group-leader-slams-little-big-planet-recall

The recall was nothing more than an overreaction by sony because they are afraid that muslims will riot as a result, like they did over the cartoon drawings, oh so many years ago.

But the fact of the matter is that the majority of -- let's call them hardcore for lack of a more generoud term -- muslims do not and will not play video games because of all the other things that go against in the Koran in them.

@DIs
You're absolutely right. As my post indicates, I am a fanboy for consumers and against companies. I didn't say anything bad about any specific game or console, and yet this must show some partiality on my end for something that isn't Sony.

Anyone who indicates that someone at the higher levels of business will ever willingly and knowingly say something about their own company that can harm their business needs a serious reality check.

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Orvisman
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:19:08 PM

Fanboy much!

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ceedot
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7:22:29 PM

Dude, it's a 2 week delay. No one will remember this, or care when it comes out. Think about gta and it's 6 month delay.

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LightShow
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 10:39:59 AM

@joe

So your a consumer fanboy, against companies?

you know what would happen if those companies decided to stop making games? We're all screwed.

Think next time before you say something. While they may be business oriented, it is in their best business interest to make good games (unless your a Wii dev, but i digress). You can be annoyed at companies, but don't be so naive to think that being anti-company will get you annywhere.

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FLYING_APE
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 10:57:29 AM
Reply

well the song is by a muslim he never got no backlash. But because its developed by non muslim and bought by most muslims it a different story. That BS man.

I don't know what i will do without sex, pot and led zeppelin. LOL

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Aftab
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:28:17 AM
Reply

"Developed my an non Muslim and bought by most Muslims"? "Sex, pot and Zepplin"? Dude, I would ask you what drugs you are on, but you already answered that. Seriously, though, what are you trying to the prove to the rest of the world?

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crapreviews
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:16:27 PM

the artist of the song is a muslim and an award winning one at that. there hasnt been backlash on him but now cuz someone NON muslim used the song, its a big issue.

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Aftab
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 4:22:32 PM

Thanks, Captain Obvious, but the question was a rhetorical one. If during these times in the state of the world, the delay of a game, out of all things, is considered that much of a social injustice/ill to you, you should not be pointing out hypocrisy on other. Hint as to what that means: look in the mirror.

Last edited by Aftab on 10/22/2008 4:29:43 PM

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whooka
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:58:37 AM
Reply

I agree with the premise since LBP was designed as an all-audience experience that it was a good idea to remove the content that offended this particular religious affiliation. People waited this long for the game another week or two isn't going to hurt anyone. While I'm not Muslim I can appreciate their sensitivity these days since, at least here in the States, they've been unfairly vilified as a religion (just last week a comment was made by a politician inferring that being muslim and being a good family person are mutually exclusive) not to mention we've spent alot of time and money incarcerating them without any due process and blowing historical areas of their countries to bits. A minor change in the soundtrack is not going to sink this game.

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Shatterday
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 12:48:07 PM
Reply

I'm one of the people who read all there is to read about LBP, and there is a ton of it let me tell you. I'm not excited for this game. I don't know that I'll even purchase it.

"Pretty much anything said by Sony management these days is either uneducated spin or an outright lie."

I agree with this statement for the most part, but with this issue you need to take a step back and view the situation critically. The game is targeting everyone. You need to think about what in the game could possibly offend someone or a group of people and to what extent. I think regardless of his education on the subject, all you need to know is that they pulled it because one of the songs had lyrics that might be offensive to a large group of people who might shun the game and not experience what it has to offer because of that simple fact.

I love the PS3 and what it has to offer, I think that Sony has made innumerable bad decisions in the past, especially with marketing, but this decision I would definitely stand behind.

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crapreviews
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:18:50 PM

i hope you feel that same way when the next person or small group of people complain about something in a game, and because of it the game is delayed or worse cases pulled completely.

sadly this little thing just opened up the door to a bigger problem that mark my word, will show up in the future.

Last edited by crapreviews on 10/22/2008 2:19:06 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:47:51 PM
Reply

Yeah delays suck, but maybe this guy is right. LBP isn't the title we should be using as an example of "free speech and everyone else shut the hell up" In-game there is even a reporting tool for offensive level content. I'd be quick to make that argument for any GTA title, but like the guy said, it's a game for everyone. I was irked by all this too but once you let the furor die down and look at it sensibly it really is hard to blame them for this decision on THIS game.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/22/2008 2:48:37 PM

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Alienange
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 3:15:05 PM
Reply

Looking at the picture I thought this was an article about the Smashing Pumpkins.

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okgo
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 2:51:58 PM

HAHAHA, I also thought that was a picture of Billy Corgan too!

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JoshBall
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 3:33:13 PM
Reply

Damnn i can't wait for this, i've seen the song on youtube and it is pathetic really, but it probably was needed.

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shaydey77
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 6:52:39 PM
Reply

You cant please all of the people all of the time only some of the people some of the time.

As for calling Phil Harrison an idiot..
President of one of the biggest game companies in the world..
In that case id love to be an idiot..

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xnonsuchx
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 10:07:43 PM
Reply

My 'unexpurgated' copy is waiting for me at home right now...can't wait to get home from work!

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infekt
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:28:19 PM
Reply

Delay is mediocre people. Its done with. Stop hating on Phil and Muslims. Jeez. Some ppl just need to complain even second of their waking lives. Unbelievable.

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LightShow
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 10:43:30 AM
Reply

I agree with Infekt. It's done. There's nothing anyone can do about it. Quit your b****ing...

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Joe_III
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 10:53:25 AM
Reply

@light
you know what would happen if they stopped making games? They'd go out of business. Or other companies would come in to take up the marketshare. This is a multibillion dollar industry. You don't really think that they're just going to let it go away, do you?

Sadly, your pov has been taken on by too many people in this day and age. Usually, that's the corporate mentality though, not the consumers.

It used to be that there was this thing called corporate ethics. Where companies wanted to be trusted by their consumers. Sadly that has pretty much completely vanished. Nowadays, it truly is a fight between consumers and producers. They try to get as much money out of us for as little effort because that's what gets them the real money: shareholders.

We try to get as much quality for as little money. We let them know through sales volumes what we want and how much we want it for. But sadly, the video game business is still small enough that sales alone aren't enough, because just about any title that has a marketing budget >= to the dev budget will sell enough thru hype to warrant a sequel. Heck they even plan it that way at times. That's why you will see crap like Kane

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Joe_III
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 10:54:17 AM
Reply

and Lynch 2 coming to stores soon.
http://kotaku.com/gaming/sequels%2C-lunchboxes%2C-pez-dispensers/eidos-spending-big-on-kane--lynch-sequel-already-in-development-307418.php

stupid site keeps killing my comments

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