Updated at 1 p.m. PDT Monday, October 20, with name of song and artist and link to YouTube video of the track.
Sony is delaying the much-anticipated PlayStation 3 title Little Big Planet due to a late discovery that background music tracks contained two expressions found in the Koran, an inclusion some might deem offensive.
"We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologize for any offense that this may have caused," Sony said on its official PlayStation blog Friday. "Sorry for the delay, and rest assured, we are doing everything we can to get Little Big Planet to you as soon as possible."
Concerns about the lyrics--contained in the track "Tapha Niang" by Grammy Award-winning African kora player Toumani Diabate--came to light on official PlayStation Community forums and reportedly on some Arabic gaming forums, as well.
"We Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Koran deeply offending," a contributor to the Sony forums wrote on Thursday. "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 puzzle-based game--in which players guide highly customizable lead characters through a series of mental challenges--was slated for a North American release Tuesday. Instead, Sony says it will start shipping Little Big Planet to North American retailers on October 27. Copies of the game already released elsewhere in the world will be recalled from retailers and replaced, according to Sony.
British game developer Media Molecule, creator of Little Big Planet, said it was as "shocked and dismayed by (the delay) as anyone--shellshocked and gutted. We can't wait for you all to get playing and creating!"
Media Molecule added, however, that it takes the potentially offensive licensed tracks seriously. "LBP should be enjoyable by all," the company said on its Web site.
Within 12 hours of hearing about the issue, the game maker said it prepared an automatic "day zero" patch that would have removed the potentially offensive lyrics, which it says it believes were in Somali. "However, a decision was made within Sony that the right thing to do for quality and support...was to replace existing disks," Media Molecule said.
Many reviewers have hailed the game, calling it beautiful and brilliant. A CNET review posted Thursday described it as "novel and imaginative" and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
A number of videos containing the song have been posted to YouTube in the last several days.