MotorStorm: Apocalypse European release delayed

UPDATE: Sony confirms international delay for the racing game; "parallels between these events and the underlying theme in Motorstorm" lead to suspension of distribution and marketing.

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Sony's MotorStorm series has been something of a poster child for the PlayStation line over the past few years. The first game was used to demonstrate the technical prowess of the PlayStation 3 console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2005, while Arctic Edge, the third game in the series, was launched just ahead of the PSP Go in 2009.

The newest game in the series, however, may become renowned for rather different reasons. MotorStorm: Apocalypse is set in an earthquake-ravaged city, with other natural disasters affecting the city while players race around it. While the game is clearly set in a fictional universe, it is due to arrive in Europe a mere week after an 8.9-strength earthquake struck Japan, leaving thousands dead or missing and leading to explosions at a nuclear power plant.

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, the publisher behind the game in the territory, has announced that it has delayed the game there. Sony had already confirmed after the devastating earthquake in Christchurch last month that the game's release in New Zealand was being delayed.

It is not yet clear if this delay will now be mirrored in other territories. Speaking to GameSpot UK this morning, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe said, "[The game's release is] under discussion at the moment. We'll get back to you when we know more." Sony Computer Entertainment America is currently slated to release the game in its territory on Tuesday, April 12.

UPDATE: SCEE has released a statement saying that the release of Motorstorm Apocalypse has been postponed: "We are shocked and saddened to see the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and our thoughts are with all those affected, including our colleagues within the Sony family, living and working throughout Japan.

We are very conscious of the parallels between these events and the underlying theme in Motorstorm and are doing everything we can to be as sensitive as possible to the situation. Although the game itself is already in distribution, we are ceasing any further shipments and removing as much of the marketing materials as possible."

Touching on the UK situation specifically, SCEE said, "Although we have shipped the game into the channel last week, given that we are able to do so, we have chosen to postpone the launch in the UK. In the meantime we will continue to monitor the situation very closely."

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