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Privates neutered for Xbox Live Arcade

Microsoft warns against Zombie Cow and Channel 4's sex education game

Controversial new indie game Privates is unlikely to appear on Xbox Live Arcade, according to new comments from a Microsoft spokesman.

The game is a twin-stick shoot 'em-up in which players control a team of shrunken condom-hatted marines as they battle "monsters" in "people's vaginas and bottoms".

Speaking to website seattlepi.com spokesman David Dennis stated that, "This game has not been submitted to our pre-publication peer review process, and it has not been approved for distribution on Xbox Live Indie Games."

"We have guidelines in place that closely track requirements of content ratings boards worldwide and, among other things, prohibit the publication of strong sexual content," he said.

"While we haven’t seen this game, we can confirm that if it is consistent with the description we have seen on the Internet, this game would not pass peer review and would not be permitted to be distributed on Xbox Live", he added.

The new game is the latest from UK indie developer Zombie Cow Studios, previously responsible for ribald graphic adventures Ben There, Dan That ! and Time Gentleman, Please; as well as shoot 'em-up Gibbage and puzzler Cruxade.

Privates was announced last month for the PC and Xbox Live Arcade and has been created with funding from UK television broadcaster Channel 4. According to designer Dan Marshall the game was created to follow health guidelines from the UK's National Curriculum.

Also speaking to the seattlepi.com, Marshall indicated that he was not concerned about Microsoft approval, commenting: "It's one of those bridges we'll just have to cross when it comes to it."

"There was always going to be a risk it won't pass peer review, but obviously we'll do whatever we can to get the Xbox version out," said Marshall. "It'd be a shame if a huge number of teenagers missed out on some quality gaming and vital education because of some abstract, cellular-level innards and pubic hairs."

"Although the content nudges the boundaries of the XBIG terms, I'm pretty sure we're acceptably within them – particularly when the educational value of the title becomes apparent," he added.

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David Jenkins