Hotline Miami 2 has been effectively banned in Australia this week, after the classification board refused to give the game a rating.
“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.””
The ratings report was shared to Polygon by publisher Devolver Digital, which explains the offending scene:
“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,” the report reads, in part. “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.
“This depiction of implied sexual violence exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.”
Devolver Digital has since released a statement in response to the board’s decision.
“First, to clear up any possible misconceptions, the opening cinematic that was first shown in June of 2013 has not changed in any way. We also want to make clear that players are given an choice at the start of the game as to whether they wish to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence,” Devolver said, in part.
“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.”
In response to an Australian fan that wrote an e-mail to the developer, the game’s lead designer Jonatan Söderström wrote back with some advice on what to do:
“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!”