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Street Fighter 5 players notice Islamic chants in new Buddhist temple stage (update)

A big cultural error that games have made before

street fighter 5 Capcom

A new stage in Street Fighter 5 has already been mysteriously removed from the game, according to players on Steam and Reddit. After launching just yesterday, the “Temple Hideout” stage has been pulled from sale without warning.

On both the PlayStation 4 and Windows PC versions of Street Fighter 5, Temple Hideout is no longer available to purchase from the in-game store. We’ve reached out to Capcom about this, but the stage’s removal coincides with a curious discovery made by those who were able to buy it before it disappeared.

A reworking of Street Fighter 2’s popular Thailand level, Temple Hideout is set at a Buddhist temple. Yet the background music uses the sound of an Islamic prayer with clear Arabic heard throughout.

That’s a pretty huge cultural error to make for obvious reasons. Although Thailand has a sizable Muslim population, this stage is explicitly filled with Buddhist iconography.

Capcom isn’t the first developer to make this exact same mistake, which others have been quick to rectify in the past. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time featured the same sample track as part of the score for the Fire Temple level. Yep — literally the exact same Islamic prayer was borrowed for the non-religious Ocarina of Time, nearly 20 years ago. YouTubers The Game Theorists have a detailed explanation of this strange event, which led to Nintendo excising the music from the game for its second printing.

In a similar case, LittleBigPlanet ended up being delayed in Europe because of a song that borrowed some verses from the Qu’ran. Although the artist, Toumani Diabete, was Muslim himself and quoting another song from his home country of Mali, Muslim fans who picked up on the references were aghast. Sony removed the song’s offending lyrics before LittleBigPlanet’s European release, and it also recalled existing copies from worldwide retailers to replace them with the fixed version.

Although there hasn’t been an outcry about the Thailand stage — in part because it wasn’t available for all that long — it’s a reminder that borrowing something sacred to one culture for an irrelevant text can come with consequences. That’s not to say that’s the main reason for the stage’s removal, but it would be a striking coincidence.

Update: Capcom has issued a statement about the removal of the Temple Hideout stage. The stage will be re-released “at a later date,” the company said, after it fixes the background music.

“It has come to our attention that part of the background music track used in the DLC Thailand Temple Hideout Stage, released on April 25, 2017, contains unintentional religious references,” the company wrote. “Capcom has therefore immediately ceased distribution of this DLC and, as a temporary measure, will be performing an emergency server maintenance update in the very near future to remove this track by replacing it with existing music from another stage. Details of the timing of this update will be provided via the @SFVServer Twitter account.”

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