Bob Marley’s World Tour is a mobile rhythm game that lets players perform Marley’s music and manage his band’s progression to stardom. The game is being developed by LBC Studios, who focus on making games about the rapidly expanding culture of legalized cannabis–however, their Marley game doesn’t have any mention of weed in it.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, studio founder Solon Bucholtz has explained why the game about Rastafarian icon Bob Marley is their first not to feature any kind of marijuana. Their previous games are Hempire, a weed-growing management sim, and Tasty Buds, a match three game that sees players creating new strains of cannabis.
It was their success with these games that led to a partnership with Marley Merchandising, the company that licences Bob Marley’s image, for the development of Bob Marley’s World Tour, but everyone involved decided that, in this case, it would be better to leave cannabis out of the picture.
“When we decided to develop the Marley game, we wanted to make sure we were building a game not just for Marley fans and music fans, but really gamers alike,” Bucholtz explained. “And we wanted to make sure it was accessible to as many as possible. One of the challenges we faced with Hempire is there are countries where we aren’t able to distribute that game, strictly based on the content.”
LBC’s game Hempire is rated M, restricting it to audiences over 17 years old, while Bob Marley’s World Tour has received a rating of E for everyone, showing the impact drug references can have on a game’s rating. Concerns about drug references in games also impact where and how the game can be advertised, an issue which has impacted LBC’s previous games.
Despite the exclusion of any themes involving marijuana, Bucholtz still believes they’ve been able to honor Marley’s legacy with the upcoming mobile game.
“It’s a question we’ve discussed with the family and internally as well,” he explained. “Although there are some aspects of cannabis that obviously were very important to Bob and his beliefs, I don’t think that’s the driving force. And we put enough emphasis on many of the other areas Bob is remembered for today and has a meaningful impact on today in the game that that omission isn’t a negative result in the overall experience or the authenticity we’re delivering.”
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