Street Fighter 5 sometimes feels as though it makes headlines more for controversy than its refined fighting gameplay or massive tournament prize pools. It wasn't that long ago that Capcom was forced to remove Street Fighter 5 character R. Mika's butt slap taunt from her animations due to an influx of negative feedback, and that move set the tone for a game that has struggled to escape its reputation as insensitive and incomplete. Now, just two days after releasing a classic Street Fighter stage as DLC for Street Fighter 5, Capcom has been forced to remove it from the PlayStation Store and Steam thanks to religious controversy.
The controversy surrounds the recently added Street Fighter 5 version of the Thailand stage, made famous by Street Fighter 2 and widely regarded as one of the best examples of the Street Fighter series' early level design brilliance. The Street Fighter 5 remaster of M. Bison's Buddhist temple featured some insensitive religious material, however - despite the fact that the level is clearly designed to reflect Buddhism, Capcom's background music for the level featured Islamic chanting instead. Check out the level's original music here:
While it might not seem like a huge mistake at first glance, it doesn't take much reflection to realize that Capcom committed a serious blunder with the implementation of its Thailand Temple Hideout level DLC. The fact that the developer failed to do enough research to determine that it was confusing two religions once again demonstrates the kind of insensitivity that has made Street Fighter 5, despite its crisp gameplay and deep roster of viable characters, so difficult to love at times.
Capcom issued a statement some time after removing the level from online storefronts, saying it would remove the music and replace it with audio from another stage after discovering it contained "unintentional religious references" - presumably, then, the overt Buddhist imagery is intentional, then. Capcom also appeared to have no qualms accepting responsibility for the controversy, releasing a contrite statement on behalf of the company:
"The Street Fighter 5 development and operations team, as well as all of us at Capcom, have nothing but the utmost respect for all faiths and religions around the world, and we would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by this content."
Those interested in reading Capcom's full statement can find it here. Following maintenance of the level, the substitute BGM for the Thailand Temple Hideout stage is currently just M. Bison's Street Fighter 5 theme. Presumably, Capcom will be looking to provide new music to the stage at some point, and perhaps could look a little deeper into the cultures and religions it is representing in its level design before releasing it worldwide as well.
Street Fighter 5 is available now on PS4 and PC.
Source: Capcom Support