The Australian Classification Board has refused to classify Dennaton’s Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number effectively banning it in the country.
This isn’t due to the game’s top-down violence as such, which has the player bludgeoning, slicing, and shooting through buildings full of armed and unarmed people and animals.
The reason for the refusal is mainly due to an implied rape scene in the game that goes against the Board’s guidelines, which forbid sexualized violence in video games. This is in spite of the R18+ certificate being set-up two years ago specifically for “classifiable elements such as sex scenes and drug use that are high in impact.”
Player Attack was able to get hold of a copy of the Board’s report of Hotline Miami 2, which explains the scene that caused it to be refused for classification. You can read the relevant excerpt below but, be warned, some readers might find it offensive.
“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.”
Devolver Digital has responded to the Classification Board’s decision by making two points. Firstly, the publisher points out that there is an option at the start of the game that offers the player a cut and uncut version to play. Choosing the cut version means that they won’t be subject to the scene with implied rape.
Devolver demonstrated this with a video that shows how the scene featuring the sexualized violence plays out in the cut and uncut versions.
Secondly, Devolver accused the Board of stretching the truth when detailing the scene that got the game refused.
“[W]e 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 wrote.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is heading to PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 3 in early 2015. Except in Australia, it seems.