Sony Apologizes for Game's Bloody Church Shootout; Refuses Demands

LONDON – Sony has issued a public apology for using Manchester Cathedral in northwest England as a backdrop for a bloody shootout in a violent video game.

The entertainment giant, however, has also confirmed that it will not be withdrawing the game or making any changes to it.

In the apology statement on Friday, Dr. David A Reeves, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said: "It is clear to us that the connection between the congregation and the cathedral is a deeply personal and spiritual one.

"As a result," he stated, "it is also clear that we have offended some of the congregation by using the cathedral in our science fiction game."

The game, "Resistance: Fall of Man," features a building that resembles Manchester Cathedral as the scene of a gun battle between aliens and an American soldier. When the Church of England found out a month ago, it threatened legal action.

In response, Sony had sent a letter to the Anglican house of worship mid-last month "sincerely" apologizing for causing offense. But it wasn't until after a meeting between the cathedral and the company that Sony issued its public apology, which appeared in the Manchester Evening News.

"It was never our intention to offend anyone in the making of this game," Reeves stated in the announcement, "and we would like to apologize unreservedly to them for causing that offense, and to all parts of the community who we might also have offended."

Although the Sony representative said the company would ensure that Manchester Cathedral would not used in any of its games again, Manchester's dean, the Very Rev. Rogers Govender, said he feared another religious building may later be "cloned for virtual desecration."

"We asked Sony to withdraw the game. They have refused to do this," Govender said, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.

"We asked Sony to make a substantial donation to community groups nominated by the Cathedral. They have refused to do this.

"We also asked them to sign up to the Sacred Digital Guidelines. They have refused to do this.

"We fear that the next buildings to be cloned for virtual desecration could be a mosque, synagogue, temple or other churches," he said.

According to Sony Computer Entertainment spokeswoman Nanako Kato, "Resistance: Fall of Man" had sold more than 2 million units around the world by the middle of last month.

Christian Post correspondent Anne Thomas in London contributed to this article.