The Church of England has struck out against PS3 title Resistance: Fall of Man, developed by Insomniac and published by Sony, due to the game’s featuring a faithful recreation of Manchester Cathedral in a war-themed setting.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, said it was "highly irresponsible" to feature the landmark in the 15-rated FPS, adding in a report on the BBC that it would be offensive should "any cathedral" be represented in any violent game.
It’s an incident that has caused, according to the BBC, "genuine anger" in Manchester, given the city’s difficult history with gun crime and that the place of worship has been used for memorial services for war victims. The city hasn’t been singled out by the game, however, Resistance also features Grimsby or Nottingham as settings for its levels.
The Church and Sony are set to talk on Monday, with religious authorities apparently set to demand the game to be removed from sale. The C of E is apparently also considering legal action to have Resistance officially taken off the market.
In the meantime, SCEE has released a statement saying it is "aware of the concerns expressed by the Bishop of Manchester and the cathedral authorities" and "we naturally take the concerns very seriously".
The statement adds: "Resistance: Fall of Man is a fantasy science fiction game and is not based on reality. We believe we have sought and received all permissions necessary for the creation of the game."
There has been precedent for such complaints. In 2002, complaints from the Sikh community caused Eidos to remove scenes featuring a mosque from IO Interactive’s Hitman 2 – although versions on shelves were unaffected, future versions of the title had the level taken out. Allegations said the temple in the game, where players were asked to kill turban-wearing enemies, was modeled on Amritsar, India’s Golden Temple.