The publishers and developer of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number have responded to the game being refused classification in Australia saying they are "concerned and disappointed" by the Classification Board's treatment of the game.
In a blog post the publisher Devolver and developer Dennaton contest several of the elements of the board's report. First up is Midnight Animal – the movie set scene which the board described as a visual depiction of implied violence". The company isn't disputing the violence or that the scene exists but is pointing out that it's not a compulsory part of the game.
As per the blog entry:
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. The sequence in question is presented below in context, both after choosing the uncut version of the game and after choosing to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence.
This is the video to which they're referring:
The response also calls into question the accuracy of the report as it goes on to say:
"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 terms of where this leaves the game, Devolver says that while there are no plans to officially challenge the decision "we stand by our developers, their creative vision for the storyline, its characters and the game".
As per our previous post on the subject, these rulings tend to affect retail copies of games, with the digital distribution of titles at the discretion of the companies involved. Steam has a history of abiding by regional board classification rulings but other companies may be more willing to offer Hotline Miami 2 up for sale. A DRM-free version could work anywhere.