Sony's long-awaited and much-buzzed LittleBigPlanet will be delayed worldwide. All all copies sent to retailers are being recalled after audio samples from Muslim religious text the Qur'an were discovered in the game's soundtrack, according to new reports.
According to a now-removed thread on the PlayStation Europe messageboards, the licensed LBP soundtrack song 'Tapha Niang' by Muslim artist Toumani Diabate's Symmetrical Orchestra uses voice excerpts from the Qur'an in its musical composition.
The post, by user 'Solid08', indicates of the specific references in the composition: "In the 18th second: "كل نفس ذائقة الموت" ("kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt", literally: 'Every soul shall have the taste of death')... almost immediately after, in the 27th second: "كل من عليها فان" ("kollo man alaiha fan", literally: 'All that is on earth will perish')."
It also comments: "I asked many of my friends online and offline and they heard the exact same thing that I heard easily when I played that part of the track. Certain Arabic hardcore gaming forums are already discussing this, so we decided to take action by emailing you before this spreads to mainstream attention.
We Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Quran deeply offending. We hope you would remove that track from the game immediately via an online patch, and make sure that all future shipments of the game disk do not contain it."
The Media Molecule-developed PlayStation 3 exclusive had previously been slated for an October 21st release in North America, the 22nd in PAL territories, the 24th in the UK and Ireland, and the 30th in Japan and Asia.
Sony hopes the highly-anticipated LittleBigPlanet, a platformer largely dependent on community creations and sharing, will drive PS3 console sales. It's received a swath of warm reception from fans and press ever since early previews, and a limited public beta launched in September has further driven eagerness for the game's release.
[UPDATE: 'Semi-official' Sony weblog ThreeSpeech has an official statement on the delay, confirming it is worldwide, and explaining:
"During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur’an. We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused."]
[UPDATE 2: According to a statement on the official PlayStation Blog, LittleBigPlanet will begin shipping in North America on October 27, the week after its original release date. "Sorry for the delay, and rest assured, we are doing everything we can to get LittleBigPlanet to you as soon as possible," it reads.]