Alten8 cans Office Massacre following negative press

Reaction to mob game kills it.

UK publisher Alten8 has told GamesIndustry.biz that the release of mobile phone title Office Massacre has been cancelled after the game received what it describes as "unfair and unjust" criticism in the press.

In a statement, Alten8 said: "We have taken the decision to stop the release of the mobile phone game created by the Russian development team Zen Design, and planned for publication by ourselves. We are genuinely shocked by some of the press reactions to the game."

Alten8 described Office Massacre as being nothing more than "harmless cartoon fun, which was very, very mild graphically compared to many commercially released mainstream games."

Office Massacre, which was awarded an 18 rating by Alten8, is a first-person shooter which sees players going on a killing spree in the workplace, gunning down colleagues and police. Alten8 said it never saw the title as "anything other than a harmless casual game."

"No offence or damage to society was intended by this game, and we resent the comments made by some individuals about our company, also the unfair and unjust comparison of this game to other extreme games."

"We cannot allow Alten8 to become the centre of a witch hunt , or allow individuals to further their causes at the expense of our fledgling company."

In an opinion piece about the game published on Next-Gen.biz, Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver described Alten8 as a "bunch of idiots" who "do not understand the first thing about social responsibility."

"They make the specious claim that if the characters are cartoon-like, it somehow mitigates the underlying reality. This is the sort of nonsense spouted by apologists for those internet-only 'games' based in WWII concentration camps," Weaver wrote.

"Anyone who thinks that shooting fellow office workers is a fun way to spend your time needs to see a head doctor. What comes next, Virtual Columbine?"

Alten8 has now removed details of Office Massacre from its website. The game was due to be published for mobile handsets and PDAs next month.

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