"Slaughter: Horror at Sony's depraved promotion stunt with decapitated goat" is the sort of headline that sells newspapers -- the UK's Daily Mail in particular(NSFW). Starting with an evocative first word and ending with outright animal cruelty, it's a snappy summation of an event that was probably rife with sexual debauchery, devil worship and inappropriate hobnobbery! And that isn't even a word! Indeed, how could other papers even compete with their silly "facts" and less sensational headlines like "Promotion: Butcher-obtained goat displayed in dramatization while journalists drink soup from china bowls!" Well, we suppose that one is a little bit on the long side.
Then again, so is the story revolving around Sony's European God of War II event. It seems somewhere between the Daily Mail's spin and the Official PlayStation Magazine's (now recalled) retelling of the Greek-themed costume party, things... goat a little out of hand. Sony's senior director of corporate communications, Dave Karakker, told Joystiq that the reporter responsible for the OPSM article didn't even bother to attend the event. The basis of his article was the invitational pamphlet, "which employed a degree of hyperbole in order to encourage attendance."
Furthermore, the infamous goat was thoroughly dead upon arrival. It was procured from a qualified butcher, was returned after the event and was never allowed to be touched by journalists (no kidding around). The goat was filled with "a meat soup, made to a traditional Greek recipe and served to attendees in china bowls direct from the caterers," leaving claims of "offal" as someone likely mishearing a complaint about the actual taste of the dish. No soup came directly from the goat.
"We recognise that the use of a dead goat was in poor taste and fell below the high standards of conduct we set ourselves. We are conducting an enquiry to establish the circumstances behind the event in order to ensure this does not happen again. We also apologise to anyone offended by the article in the OPSM (subscription copies were sent out ahead of street date)." It was undeniably tacky, but hardly the "Phil Harrison bites the head off a chimp and mows down the audience using a Tommy Gun" debacle you may have envisioned before.
(They're saving that one for The Getaway 3.)
"The media event for the PS2 title God of War ll took place in Athens, Greece on 1st March. Approximately 20 journalists from European countries attended the event from a variety of gaming and lifestyle media - although none were from the UK.
The event was a theatrical dramatisation with a Greek mythological theme and, as part of the set dressing, a dead goat was provided by the production company from a qualified local butcher. Following the mainstream popularity of shows such as 'I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here' a series of challenges were set for the journalists. The 'warm entrails' referred to in the invitation and in the Mail on Sunday article was actually a meat soup, made to a traditional Greek recipe and served to attendees in china bowls direct from the caterers. There was never any question of journalists being able to touch the goat, or indeed eat the soup direct from the body of the goat, as one report has alleged. The goat was returned to the butcher at the end of the event.
The article in UK Official PlayStation Magazine (OPSM), from which the Mail on Sunday article was sourced, was written by a journalist who did not attend and done on the basis of the invitation for the event, which employed a degree of hyperbole in order to encourage attendance - the journalist chose to take it as fact!
The photograph was one of many supplied to the magazine to provide a balanced view of the event. Unfortunately, the article was sensationalised and focused on a picture that was unrepresentative of the wider event. When we saw the article for the first time on Thursday of last week we contacted the Publisher of OPSM who accepted that the article was not appropriate for their broad audience. On Friday, before we had received any contact from the media, they agreed to remove the centre page article before the magazine goes on general sale.
We recognise that the use of a dead goat was in poor taste and fell below the high standards of conduct we set ourselves. We are conducting an enquiry to establish the circumstances behind the event in order to ensure this does not happen again. We also apologise to anyone offended by the article in the OPSM (subscription copies were sent out ahead of street date)."
Sr. Director, Corporate Communications
Sony Computer Entertainment America