UPDATE: Hotline Miami 2 too offensive for Australia

An implied rape scene has made Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number too offensive for Australian audiences, says the local Classification Board. The latest from Dennaton and Devolver has been Refused Classification (effectively banned), and will not be released Down Under. A public statement from Devolver and Dennaton claims the Board’s decision “stretches the facts“.

UPDATE: The Classification Board has gotten back to us with a copy of the Hotline Miami 2 report, which explains that the game has been Refused Classification for an implied rape scene.

The following excerpt may be offensive to some readers:

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 emphasised by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.

We’re warned that this is not a complete list of the offensive content featured in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.

The Australian Classification Guidelines explicitly forbid sexualised violence in video games, so it’s no surprise that this scene has caused issues with the censorship board. We are still waiting to hear back from Dennaton and Devolver about whether or not the developer or publisher will be appealing the decision or submitting a modified version of the game.

FURTHER UPDATE: Devolver and Dennaton are “concerned and disappointed” by the Board’s decision, but will not submit an appeal or a modified version.

The introduction of the R18+ adults-only rating two years ago has significantly reduced the number of games being refused classification, so it’s very interesting that Hotline Miami 2 has fallen foul of the censors.

The Classification database entry is pretty slim in terms of details, only citing the relevant segment of the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table. The quote explains that Hotline Miami 2 falls into the category of 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.”

Packed with some pretty explicit (albeit stylised) violence, Hotline Miami 2 has already courted controversy by including scenes of apparent sexual assault. It’s unclear whether this is what’s “wrong” with the 2D top-down action title, but we have contacted the Classification Board for more details, as well as the game’s local distributor.

UPDATE: It seems the sexual assault scene in the game – present (and controversial) since 2013 – has pushed the game into RC territory. Devolver has made a public statement that it “stands by the developers [and] their creative vision for the storyline“.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is due for Windows, Mac and Linux as well as PS3, PS4 and Vita, some time in the first few months of 2015.

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