Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been refused classification in Australia, joining the likes of Left 4 Dead 2 and Saints Row IV. The report by the Australian Classification Board cites a visual depiction of implied sexual violence as part of their decision to refuse the game classification.
Kotaku Australia obtained a copy of the report which contained this segment about the scene (warning: description of violence and sexual violence):
“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.”
Again, as per Kotaku Australia, the report goes on to point out that it isn’t an exhaustive list of the content which caused Hotline Miami 2 to be refused classification.
That particular scene sounds like the one which was initially in the demo version of the game but which ended up being removed from the demo following complaints about how it worked and came across in that context.
In terms of what that means for PC, well, classification generally affects retail releases but in a 2013 interview Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (which represents game publishers in Australia), notes that Valve tend to abide by those rulings.
“They don’t have to. They choose to do that,” said Curry. “Steam is like iTunes. They’re an offshore digital distributor so they have no obligation to abide by Australian classifications, but they do it. If a game is RC [Refused Classification] in Australia, Steam won’t distribute that product here. It’s just part of their good corporate citizenship.”
He added that, “Arguably a lot of the work on the consoles is voluntary as well, because there’s an argument that because they’re selling things digitally, they don’t need classification.”
I’ve emailed to ask publishers Devolver what this means for Hotline Miami 2 – whether that’s resubmission, amendments or something else entirely. SR4 and L4D2 both removed their offending bits to gain classification.