MotorStorm: Apocalypse delayed in Europe

UPDATE: GAME cancels preorders, removes advertising online and in-store

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has confirmed that off-road racer MotorStorm: Apocalypse has been delayed due to sensitivities over the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The fourth entry in the PlayStation-exclusive series is set in an unnamed American city, although one clearly based on San Francisco. The story revolves around a series of earthquakes and destruction, which the game's characters use as the background for their races.

A statement sent to by SCE Europe states that, "We are shocked and saddened to see the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and our thoughts are with all those affected, including our colleagues within the Sony family, living and working throughout Japan.

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

Sony UK.

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. Although the game itself is already in distribution, we are ceasing any further shipments and removing as much of the marketing materials as possible."

Commenting specifically on the situation in the UK, the company added: "Although we have shipped the game into the channel last week, given that we are able to do so, we have chosen to postpone the launch in the UK. In the meantime we will continue to monitor the situation very closely."

Earlier reports had already confirmed that the game's launch would be delayed in Japan. Sony Computer Entertainment America have yet to comment on the game's release.

Sony Corporation also announced today that it would be donating 300 million yen ($3.7 million) to help relief and recovery efforts in Japan. In common with most other Japanese publishers the company is also setting up a disaster relief fund, as well as donating 30,000 Sony radios to victims.

"In times like these, we are reminded of how important and fragile we are and of the positive impact we can have - both as individuals and, collectively, as a company - to assist those in need," said Howard Stringer, chairman, CEO and president of Sony Corporation.

"We will continue to make the utmost effort to help the swift recovery of the affected communities in the region," he added.

UPDATE: UK retailer GAME has cancelled all online pre-orders for the game and said that it is currently in the process removing prominent Motorstorm advertising.

"Following Sony's statement today, we are rapidly changing our launch plans for Motorstorm Apocalypse and are in the process of removing as much promotional material in our stores and online as possible.

However, a small amount of customers on the company's site have had pre-orders fulfilled and will receive the game this Friday, the original launch day.

"We will continue to work closely with Sony on any further developments with this title. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan at this difficult time," added the retailer.

A spokesperson for HMV also confirmed it will not be selling the game this week to our sister site, adding: "Under the circumstances, we entirely understand Sony's concerns and we applaud them for showing sensitivity towards the current plight of the Japanese people, who are responding to this disaster with heroic dignity."

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Latest comments (15)

Private Industry 7 years ago
It`s clear that delaying it in Japan was the right thing. I`m not sure if it would be insensitive to launch the game in Europe.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 7 years ago
Given the recent press in the UK at least about games some in the media would attack them without fully understanding the game and its contents.

Its the right call even if we dont agree with them.
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Toby Lee Managing Director, Eurogamer Sweden7 years ago
Still being released in Sweden tomorrow.

[link url=

From the Swedish distributor:
We are shocked and saddened by the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and our thoughts naturally turn to the victims and their families," said Christine Platon, Marketing Manager for PlayStation in Sweden. "The game will be released stores, but we will minimize the marketing campaign and marketing materials as much as possible."
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Matt Martin Editor, GamesIndustry.biz7 years ago
GAME and HMV aren't selling it on Friday. GAME has cancelled online pre-orders too. Just updated the story.
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Microsoft only donated 100,000 dollars
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PATRICK CHUDE Studying MSc. Information Systems, University of Surrey7 years ago
Will Amazon be fulfilling preorders ?
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PATRICK CHUDE Studying MSc. Information Systems, University of Surrey7 years ago
The reason i asked is because in the article above, you mentioned that some games are already in the distribution channel.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 7 years ago
Very nice to see people being sensitive. Despite not being in the UK, I think that it's nice that people show the respect all the same.

You know, like Activision stopping the CoD servers on Remembrance Day.... oh wait they didn't.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 7 years ago
Maybe i'm just completely insensitive but i don't get the parallels between a fictional world and a real world disaster. Insensitive would be releasing a game that capitalised on the misfortune of a country/people in need when they actually were. Having a racing game set in a post-apocalyptic world isn't the same thing.

I also don't get Patrick's acerbic comment about CoD/Activision. Do we not release war films pretty much every year? Do we not consume novels and literature about those events and also fictional events that can mirror real world events? I don't remember people pulling those things off the shelves.... What about Rap music that promotes gang culture and weapons/mysogynistic activities? (Not saying that only Rap is guilty here) Are we removing those songs and albums from stores/radio whenever there's an incident involving those themes?

There's showing respect and there's being afraid. Which one is this action demonstrating? How about instead they would promise to give a proportion of all profits made on the game to charity for the disaster? Make something positive instead of creating more of a negative vacuum. I was always told when i was younger that giving up something was easy.... giving something of yourself was much harder. I think possibly the same principle could be applied here.

Sorry if my opinion offends anyone, it's not intentional though i know it's probably controversial.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 7 years ago
Whilst I understand your point I think that some people in Japan may be unhappy about others playing a game that essentially consists of you enjoying yourself in an earthquake devastated setting. Frankly the likelihood of someone being offended is low and given short window of time even less so but I don't think that's actually the point. I would think that doing this as a symbol of empathy is the more likely cause.

On point of your response to my earlier comment, I think that Activision could do something responsible/honourable and pay respect for the real life people who are the material that their games are based upon. Many, many people chug away on CoD, capping countless enemies with very little knowledge of the context of warfare or it's implications. I think that it would be respectful if Activision suggested that their consumers got off of the couch and spent some time thinking about those who fought to shape their world.

But screw it when there's a dollar to be made right?
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Private Industry 7 years ago
Activision did indeed donate to war veterans in the past. And none of that has to do with motorstorm.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 15th March 2011 11:07pm

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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 7 years ago
That's a good piece of info and I hadn't read anything about Activision doing this (respect +1) but I do still think that having the servers up during Remembrance Day is inappropriate.

Do you not think that the links between real life events and the contents of a game share common ground with the situation with Motorstorm and Japan then? Or are you suggesting something else?
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
I think the notion of Sony still launching the game here in Europe and other non-Japan territories but donating a portion of the profit to aid in Japan would be a better gesture. I think this would alleviate any negative press that might be directed at the game or Sony at large, although I'm sure the Daily Mail could still manage to skew the facts and maybe get an 'expert' in to say how videogames caused the earthquake.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
@Kurtis, would you not expect a Japanese company to donate more, what with the fact it is closer to home meaning they are more immersed in it? I'm not sure the word "only" in "only donated $100,000" reflects the fact that they still donated a significant amount of money that will hopefully be put to good use.
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Private Industry 7 years ago
Family members died in WW1 and 2 and for me it is not inapropriate to play a war game on that day. There are ways to remember the people, people need to have the choice to do something or not or would you realy force people to do something. Its not like people couldnt play offline war games.

Afyer the earthquake disaster report 4 skyrocketed in the japanese amazon pre order charts. So even many people in japan dont think it is inapropriate to play a game that is set in a city destroyed by an earthquake.

Thats easy to spin Terence you can just say Sony tries to push sales for a game by saying part of it will be donated to get people to buy more copies.
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