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Church wants cash for 'sick' game

Story Highlights

• Violent PlayStation 3 game set inside Manchester Cathedral
• Officials say Sony's use of building is "sick," sacrilegious
• Church will demand apology and donation from Sony
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Entertainment giant Sony has been branded irresponsible for using a cathedral from a city plagued by gun crime in a violent video game.

The Church of England says the company did not seek permission to use the Manchester Cathedral in the game, and is demanding an apology and a large donation to be used in its work with young people.

Church leaders have accused Sony of the "desecration" of the cathedral after the firm set the top-selling the new PlayStation 3 game, "Resistance: Fall of Man," in the place of worship.

The game, which has sold more than one million copies, sees a virtual shoot-out between humans and gun-toting aliens with hundreds killed during a battle inside the cathedral.

Sony has been criticized for choosing Manchester -- a city where gun violence is rife, and has left tens of youngsters dead. Every year a candlelit memorial services is held in the Manchester Cathedral in honor of people who have been killed by guns.

The Dean of Manchester Cathedral, The Very Revd. Rogers Govender, said Monday the use of the cathedral in the game was "beyond belief."

He said Sony's product undermined the important work the church did and created an image the church did not want to be connected with.

Church officials, who have described Sony's move as sick and sacrilegious, met Monday to discuss the next steps in the dispute and draw up a letter of demands to be issued to Sony.

Church leaders want the game removed from shop shelves or modification of the section of the game to remove the Cathedral interior. They also want an apology from the company for using "realistic photo quality" images of its building without permission. Govender said the church would also seek a donation to be used in its work with young people. He did not specify how much the company would be asked to pay.

Govender urged Sony to get in touch with the church within the next few days to discussed the points raised by church leaders, and hoped the two parties would be able to find a "mutually satisfactory conclusion."

Spokesman for Manchester Cathedral David Marshall told PA the church had received emails in support of its stance against the multinational.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt. Rev. Nigel McCulloch, said: "It is well known that Manchester has a gun-crime problem.

"For a global manufacturer to recreate one of our great cathedrals with photo-realistic quality and then encourage people to have gun battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible.

"Here in Manchester we do all we can to support communities through our parish clergy; we know the reality of gun crime and the devastating effects it can have on the lives -- it is not a trivial matter."

Patsy McKie, from the Manchester-based group Mothers Against Violence, told CNN she was pleased the church was taking action over the game.

In 1999, her 20-year-old son died after he was shot in Manchester.

"We are concerned about the amount of violence in these games," McKie said Monday. "It's real for us. We are living the reality here. It's not just a game."

It is understood photographers may have visited the Cathedral to take pictures for use in the game, PA said.

During the game players are asked to assume the role of an army sergeant and win a battle.

A spokesman for Sony Japan confirmed to CNN Monday that the interiors depicted in the game were based on the Manchester Cathedral. He said Sony was taking the complaint very seriously and is looking into the matter.

Asked what Sony's next move would be, a spokesman said on Monday: "We are now in contact with the Cathedral authorities and will be dealing with them directly," according to a Reuters report.

David Wilson, a Sony spokesman, 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.

"Throughout the whole process we have sought permission where necessary."

Reuters contributed to this report.

The Church of England says Sony did not seek permission for using the Manchester Cathedral in the PlayStation 3 game.


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