Hotline Miami 2 Developer Responds To The Game’s Banning In Australia
Hotline Miami 2 is Banned In Australia for Implied Rape. Developer Responds That Australians Should Just Pirate The Game
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been banned for sale in Australia after the Australian Classification Board refused the game due to an implied rape scene. The scene in question is optional, and it can be skipped by a notice that warns of the content alluding to sexual violence which the user must choose yes or no to continue. Yet according to the classification report of Hotline Miami 2 it is still being refused classification:
The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer games that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”
This effectively bans the game from sale in retail and many digital distribution formats in the country per principles set by the Australian National Classification Code that is agreed upon by the Australian government. The Classification Board described the specific scene to the publisher Devolver Digital as:
“In the sequence of game play footage titled Midnight Animal, the protagonist character bursts into what appears to be a movie set and explicitly kills 4 people, who collapse to the floor in a pool of copious blood, often accompanied by blood splatter. After stomping on the head of a fifth male character, he strikes a female character wearing red underwear. She is knocked to the floor and is viewed lying face down in a pool of copious blood. The male character is viewed with his pants halfway down, partially exposing his buttocks. He is viewed pinning the female down by the arms and lying on top of her thrusting, implicitly raping her (either rear entry or anally) while her legs are viewed kicking as she struggles beneath him. This visual depiction of implied sexual violence is emphasized by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.”
Devolver Digital responded to the refusal of the classification:
“In response to the report itself, we are concerned and disappointed that a board of professionals tasked with evaluating and judging games fairly and honestly would stretch the facts to such a degree and issue a report that describes specific thrusting actions that are not simply present in the sequence in question and incorrectly portrays what was presented to them for review,”
Devolver Digital isn’t denying that it is certainly an uncomfortable scene, which is why it is optional. However, by banning the game altogether it completely misrepresents the scene itself and the entirety of the game as a whole.
Lead Designer Jonatan Söderström of Dennaton Games took it a bit further and put forward the advice that Australians should just pirate the game after it’s released. Söderström responded to a concerned fan’s email that was later verified by Polygon:
“If it ends up not being release in Australia, just pirate it after release. No need to send us any money, just enjoy the game!”
Which was certainly going to happen anyway, but the blessing from Söderström is nice as it proves that the developer just wants people to enjoy the game in the end. Censorship in Australian gaming has caused games like Saints Row IV and even South Park: The Stick of Truth to change certain aspects to accommodate the Classification Board’s approval system. Piracy however is not the answer because in the end, it’s the developers as well as the fans that end up losing out in a big way. Devolver Digital is standing by Dennaton Games’s decision not to change anything about the final product as they believe that their creative vision is imperative to the story and to the game itself. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number will be launching “very soon” according to Devolver Digital’s website on PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. Check out the optional opening scene from the game below.