An alleged implied rape scene has caused the Australian Classification Board (ACB) to refuse classification for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, developed by Dennaton Games and published by Devolver Digital. What this means is that the game has effectively been banned for release Down Under, and will not be able to be sold there, either in retail or digital downloadable form, a fate that games such as South Park: Stick of Truth and Saints Row IV received prior. This comes after the introduction of the Rated 18+ classification, which reduced the amount of games failing to be classified by a non-trivial amount. The failure for Wrong Number to receive classification comes as a further surprise because of this.
Comment from the ACB states that Wrong Number has been refused classification due to falling in 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.”
The game has already had some controversy from apparent sexual violence depicted in the game, and after a statement from the Classification Board, it appears that this is also why the game has been refused classification in Oz.
The statement, which some readers may find upsetting, is below:
“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.”
This is not the only issue that the board has found with the game, although it does appear to be the largest.
The Oz classification board forbids sexual violence explicitly, and therefore it’s no surprise that the board has taken issue with that being found in Hotline Miami.
Publisher Devolver Digital has released a statement on the game stating that at the beginning of the game, the player is given the choice to skip content that alludes to sexual violence, in a manner not dissimilar to the way that the No Russian level was handled in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. They also mention that details reported by the ACB are simply not present in the content presented for the board to review. Devolver’s statement can be viewed in full here.
It appears that Devolver will not be challenging the board’s decision to refuse classification for Wrong Number.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number releases on Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as on PS Vita, PS3 and PS4 sometime in early 2015.