Another cathedral gets shoot-em-up treatment

The Church of England has demanded that Sony apologise and remove from sale a computer game which features Manchester Cathedral as a backdrop for a gunfight. They have threatened to sue if the company does not comply.

The church claims that Sony Playstations “Resistance: Fall of Man” used the nave of the cathedral without permission.

The BBC report contains lots of outraged quotes from the Bishop of Manchester and the Dean of the cathedral: “highly irresponsible”, “beyond belief”, “undermining”, “shocked” – you get the idea.

Sony has not returned the Church’s calls.

Last May a similar spat occurred when Canterbury Cathedral featured in Koch Media’s “War on Terror”. Nothing happened then, either.

UPDATE: (June 11) The BBC today reports that the Church is making 4 demands:
– An apology for using the cathedral
– Withdrawal of the game, or modification of the section of the game to remove the cathedral interior
– Sony to make a substantial donation from the games’ profits allowing the cathedral’s education department to target more effectively those aged 18 to 30
– Sony to support other groups in Manchester fighting against gun crime.

19 Responses to “Another cathedral gets shoot-em-up treatment”

  1. […] Media Watch Watch comes the news that the increasingly irrelevant Church of England is considering legal action […]

  2. ZombieHunter says:

    Resistence fall of man has been on the shelf for ages and has sold millions of copies (It was the first game I got with my PS3 :P).

    The CoE is about to make a major arse of itself if it pursues any legal action against sony anyway, besides I wonder how many of the people moaning about it have actualy sat down and played it.

  3. mark says:

    What on earth has this got to do with “Mothers Against Violence?”

    Sure, interview the Church and Sony, who are both relevant to the story, but why is the BBC allowing this group to push their fictional-violence-causes-violence agenda? If it wants to consider the violence/censorship debate, why is no opposing viewpoint being given?

  4. Sam says:

    If they are opposed to the violence to the game, it shouldn’t make a difference where it is set. To say that it is wrong to kill fictional aliens in a fictional game in a church, implying that it is ok as long as it is set anywhere else is ridiculous.

    It’s a great game, btw.

  5. Church Fights Resistance: Fall of Man…

    When the entire Islamic world called for cartoons slandering Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to be removed there were global outcries that this constituted a breach of freedom of speech and expression. In contrast, now the Church of England is calling for So…

  6. Chris says:

    Sony spokesman David Wilson told The Times: “It is game-created footage, it is not video or photography.

    “It is entertainment, like Doctor Who or any other science fiction. It is not based on reality at all.”

    So, a lot like christianity then.

  7. sean says:

    …and another excuse to slag off SF, to boot!

  8. Matt Wardman says:

    The Muhammed Cartoons comparison is a red herring – that was about the image of Islam created by certain terrorist movements. This is about permission to use a particular location and whether that was necessary or not, and whether the local community has been offended or not.

    I think the Canterbury Cathedral example – if they used the exterior from published materials – is also not directly relevant.

    Also, note that this is not an action by “The Church of England” – no such organisation exists. It is by “The Dean and Chapter of Manchester Cathedral”, with support from the Bishop of Manchester. Crucial difference – the action is coming from the local community.

    It may be that other Bishops will express a different view, as they are perfectly entitled to do.

    – 7: …and another excuse to slag off SF, to boot!
    Que? Dr Who recently filmed in Southwark Cathedral – with permission (which is why it is a different case).

    -4: They have not implied that violence is justified set anywhere else. They have addressed the issue directly relevant to their congregation and community.

    I have covered some of the specific legal points. Link on my name.

  9. sean says:

    Matt, sorry, I was being lighthearted – taking offense at the comment that SF is not based on reality (when some of the best of it is).

    And another thing…

    [Off topic rant about SF deleted by the little man in my head!]

  10. Christ didn’t die on the cross so you could shoot baddies in his house, Goddamnit! 😛 He died because… er… well, ’cause the Romans put him there!

    And that’s why not to make a videogame in a cathedral!

    Yeah, I sure showed you.

  11. Andy L says:

    I have to say, from the footage I do not believe that there is any sufficiently modern item featured in the recreation of the church that the CofE has a leg to stand on copyright wise, and there is no chance that a trademark would be granted or saught for the design of a cathedral.

    Which is no doubt why they have taken this to the media rather than just sending a lawyers letter demanding the game is taken off sale.

  12. Matt Wardman says:

    >Matt, sorry, I was being lighthearted – taking offense at the comment that SF is not based on reality (when some of the best of it is).

    Cheers. Matt

    I’ll be returning to the subject, but not for a couple of days.

  13. Matt Wardman says:

    Andy L

    >I do not believe that there is any sufficiently modern item featured in the recreation of the church that the CofE has a leg to stand on copyright wise

    * I’m inclined to agree with you copyright wise – sense implies they would only rebuild the walls in the game.
    * Access is a different matter, however – which depends on whether they (Sony or it’s agent – sorry forgot the name) took footage and a million legal nuances that noone will want to visit.
    * If they did take footage without permission when it was needed, I’d suggest the outcome will be an apology + a reasonable (10s or hundreds of K not millions) donation to a gun crime project in Manchester. That would Sony a relatively cheap exit and some good PR, and not establish a precedent of free access to cathedrals for commercial filming.

    OTOH, as you say, Manchester Cathedral (note: not the CofE) may be out too far on a limb.


  14. ZombieHunter says:

    I honestly hope that Sony doesn’t give in over this, my one main critisism of the video games industry is that they’ve sat back and done nothing while politicians and ambulance chasing lawyers and unelected pressure groups have slandered them and used them as a scpegoat for societies ills.

  15. I don’t remember any such complaint from the church in France regarding a shootout with zombies in Notre Dame in the game Timesplitters 2…

  16. Marc says:

    Yeah Daniel. If Christ had had an Uzi, things would have been different for those Romans I can bet.

  17. Stuart says:

    It’s arguable that it’s not ‘their’ cathedrals to protect, but ‘ours’ – on basis our ancestors built em & involuntarily paid for the upkeep for centuries!
    The definition of ‘private’ or ‘public’ property also seems to change when they want public money to preserve ‘national monuments’, or to avoid being taxed as a rather large corporation.

  18. martyn says:

    ‘cartoons slandering Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’

    pbuh?? what’s that stand for then? Paedophile be upon her, as in his pre teen wife?

  19. […] Sony set a scene of its video game “Resitance: Fall of Man” in Manchester Cathedral, the Church demanded […]