Publisher 505 Games has issued a statement inviting politicians and journalists to judge new PS2 title Rule of Rose for themselves following controversy over the level of violence in the game.
"Rule of Rose is a horror genre videogame, similar to a number of other videogames and movies on the market today, but does not in anyway incite minors to commit violent acts and does not promote acts of violence towards minors," the statement reads.
"Following an in depth analysis by Pan European Game Information, the Interactive Software Federation of Europe and the Video Standards Council, the Rule of Rose videogame was judged to be suitable for European
market distribution." The statement goes on to observe that PEGI awarded Rule of Rose a 16+ rating.
505 Games's comments are in response to a wave of negative criticism from various corners. The mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, demanded that the game be banned in Italy as children "have the right to be shielded from violence".
Then European justice and security commissioner, Franco Frattini, wrote an open letter criticising games with violent content - highlighting what he describes as the "obscene cruelty and brutality" in Rule of Rose. Frattini wants government and games industry representatives to discuss moderating the content of games, and has urged the EU to take another look at ratings systems.
In the UK, Rule of Rose has made The Times and the Daily Mail following Frattini's comments. But it's coverage in Italian publication Panorama which 505 Games has taken exception to - they claim the magazine "erroneously stated" that the winner of the game is the player who buries a young girl alive.
"The burial of the protagonist or of any other child does not appear in any scene of the game, not even indirectly," according to 505 Games.
"The scene that has triggered the discussion is in reality a dream sequence that serves as part of the introduction to the adventure: a non-interactive video sequence in which the protagonist, who is not a minor, is captured inside a crate.
"The interactive part of the game is based primarily on exploration and the solving of mysteries. The only sporadic fighting scenes are against monsters."
Rule of Rose is due out in Europe next Friday. 505 Games has announced that it will be inviting politicians and journalists to the game for themselves by attending a preview presentation, to be held on November 23 in Milan.