The Australian Classification Board has refused to classify Hotline Miami 2, effectively banning the game from the country.
Kotaku reports that the board’s report cites the inclusion of violent sexual imagery that it believed alluded to rape – which, incidentally, has previously caused controversy, with developer Dennation having hinted at its possible removal.
Of one sequence it said: 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.”
Hotline Miami 2 publisher Devolver says it will not contest the board’s ruling but does dispute some of the claims it has made, and points out that players are able to choose whether or not sexual violence is displayed in-game.
"To clear up any possible misconceptions, the opening cinematic that was first shown in June of 2013 has not changed in any way,” it said.
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.
"Though we have no plans to officially challenge the ruling, we stand by our developers, their creative vision for the storyline, its characters and the game and look forward to delivering Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to fans very soon."
Here’s the sequence in both violent and less violent forms: