Hotline Miami 2 Refused Classification Because of An Implied Rape Scene

Hotline Miami 2 Refused Classification Because of An Implied Rape Scene

We’ve just received a copy of the Hotline Miami classification report. According to the report the game was refused classification as a result of implied, visually depicted sexual violence featured in the game.

Warning: descriptions of the violence in this game may prove disturbing to some readers.

As per the report:

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.

According to the classification guidelines, 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;” will be Refused Classification.”

The report also states that this isn’t an exhaustive list of the content that caused Hotline Miami 2 to be refused classification.

This sounds like the same scene demoed earlier in Hotline Miami 2’s development. After negative reactions, Dennaton’s Dennis Wedin claimed that the studio was considering reworking it. He speaks more about the context of the scene here. We’ve reached out to Devolver to ask if they will be appealing the decision. We’ll update when we hear back.


  • Pretty sure there are movies that have rape scenes in them and they are given R18+ or AV15+ I can’ remember what is used, how is this different?

    • The OFLC would argue that player agency and forced empathy with the protagonist would heighten the potentially damaging effects of a scene like this.

      It’s not what I would argue, but something like this is well beyond what I would consider tasteful, so I’m honestly not too fussed.

        • Doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. It’s not your decision to make, or the government’s. If they want to make that game and I want to play it nobody else should get a say.

        • I’m 100% anti censorship, If any line is crossed the statement should be made with our wallets, Not by the fun police.

        • Let’s just have rainbows and butterfly’s and happy happy joy joy, no lines crossed. Phlease… The biggest pushers of conservatism are usually the most twisted closeted freaks. It’s just another ridiculous example of our review board and censorship double standards.

          How can blowing someones face off, decapitation, dismemberment be allowed in heaps of games all given classification (all fatal) but raping someone, yes it is horrible, no I am not saying rape is ok, but not usually fatal be ok?
          because… sex. SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!1!11

          • You can have sex, or violence. You can’t have sexual violence. Them’s the rules, like it or not. There’s no hypocrisy from the people on the board. They have guidelines. They adhered to them.

          • Oh bull, they have never consistently rated games according to their guidelines. There’s been games released since the R18+ category was added as MA15+ that have segments that are R18+ or even RC by rights.

          • I’d argue Rape is worse then murder. Murder it’s done, over and them victim never feels anything again. Rape on the other hand is is not only physically violent, but it takes a huge emotional toll.

          • No, give the choice, I’d wager most people will take their lives.

            But, my point still stands. When you murder someone, unless you take your time n make it tortuous, it’s over, done and dusted. It’s not the same with Rape. No where close.

          • The notion that murder creates no long term suffering because the victim is dead is pure nonsense. So when a parent’s son or daughter is murdered only the child suffers? Not the parents? Or the spouse of said child?

            So, if seeing someone being murdered on film or in a game brings up horrible memories about the murder of your child then I guess we should ban depictions of that too?

            Lastly, I have to mention, given what you wrote above, that even if you torture someone before killing them, they’ll still be dead at the end of it so I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. Torture someone all you like because, using your logic, it doesn’t matter as much as rape as long as you kill them afterwards since they’ll be dead and never have to live with it.

            So I guess, according to you, that means raping and then murdering the victim is better than just raping them? Therefore you’d be happier with that being in a game?

        • Then don’t buy the damn game. I am fed up with all you Fucktards who just beg for the opportunity to be offended. It is simple. You don’t like it then stay away from it. Jeez who are we now just a bunch of whiny fucking pricks who are not happy unless we are stating our useless fucking opinions. Pretty much just pissing on anyone who has the drive or guts to do something like make art be it games or film or whatever. SHUT YOUR STUPID FUCKING MOUTHS AND LET PEOPLE GET ON WITH THERE PASSIONS.

          • I hate to be the one who agrees with that guy (see what I did there? I so funny) but he is right and I think the frustrated language speaks to how a lot of people feel.
            The game is that pixelated and stupid (not literally) that I just can’t get behind the argument for the whole rape is different to murder thing.
            Especially if it is used to make us feel for the victim and despise the perp from a character building perspective.

      • I guess it’s a matter of where you draw the line. Interest groups like the ACL would argue for the banning of games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age that allow relationship configurations incompatible with their morality, and I would oppose that banning on the basis that that morality is out of step with society and art should not be subject to censorship based on feels.

        On the other hand, I think we’d all agree rape is bad. Why include in in a game? How far does artistic license go? If I oppose it am I any better than my ACL strawman? Is rape different because it’s a crime with victims? If so, it opens the door to argue that all violence and other crimes in media should be subject to censorship. It raises uncomfortable questions about why we play games where such crimes are depicted anyway. What am I, as a man in his 30s, doing playing GTA where I get to murder and beat and steal from people then visit a strip club to wind down with their blood still on my hands? What the fuck is wrong with me? Sure I’m having some fun in a digital playground where no one’s actually getting hurt, but why do I find it fun to begin with? If it’s all equally harmless why do I balk at rape and not mowing down a street full of pedestrians in a sports car?

        Everyone has a line they won’t cross. I think sexual abuse is exploitative of victims in a way that is different than non-sexual violence, but I’m in the middle of a very broad grey area. I don’t agree with censorship – when it suits my values. That other guy’s values are all fucked up though. Don’t listen to him.

        • The most raw distillation of it I can think of censorship is this:

          Some people will see some art they don’t approve of, and don’t want to be exposed to, and will not buy it.

          Some people will see some art they don’t approve of, and don’t want to be exposed to, and will demand that nobody else can be allowed to buy it.

          There is something fucking wrong with that second group of assholes.

          • That’s not art. It’s documentation of a crime.

            To clarify:

            Eg: the game depicts adult entertainment performers doing a rape scene and simulated murder. There is no murder, there is no rape. It is an act by consenting adults. It is therefore, not a crime being documented. You can film someone pretending to murder, and that is art. You can film an actual murder, and that is not art, it is documentation of a crime, if not being an accessory, depending on your relationship to the act. Children are not consenting adults. They can not give consent to perform in porn. There are no circumstances in which it can be art.

          • Edit: Ugh. Yeah, go homing straight in on my life and challenging me on it whydon’tyou. 😛

            Grey area that goes nowhere near the game example and could probably be safely categorized off on its own as an exception. Art any rational adult would extremely disapprove of? Someone wants to do some drawings of kids, that’s disgusting, and in some places it’s illegal… and a lot of places that ban child pornography, it IS still legal, because no crime was committed in the making of it. (But hopefully used to identify consumers of it.)

          • @transientmind

            Not trying to argue or anything here, not even taking a particular stance on this issue, just pushing the boundary of the censorship argument. Everyone has a line and seems like that’s pretty much yours. The fact that society collectively agreed upon certain lines is why the world isn’t currently a burning wasteland, even if I’m of the opinion that the line is WAY too conservative. Looking through here and on Twitter shows even the majority of gamers draw the line at rape, fictionalised or no.

          • Child porn is not art in the same vein as no one is selling snuff or rape films and calling them art to get away with the crime of child sex, murder or rape.
            It is a forced connection for a forced argument.

        • Bang on the money here dude.

          I don’t believe in censorship but if I had kids I definitely wouldn’t want them playing shit like this. At the same time I’d like to think my parenting skills would teach them better and it’s just a stupid game. If I had to draw a line in the sand and choose which side I’d be on I guess it would be to not censor this game, but damn I can see why.

          Wouldn’t it just make more sense to at least give it an 18+ rating and/or make them edit out that one scene?

    • Name me one movie where the protagonist rapes someone in a scenario like the one described. That’s the key difference here.

      You put a scene like that in a movie, it’s getting RC’d.

      Even films where the protagonist rapes someone in general are few and far between.

          • Yeah, it is.
            Though if a protagonist got raped in a video game I could imagine it getting RC’d.

          • Yeah Edward Nortons character on camera gets done up the bum in the prison and the camera zooms in on his face as he screams no etc.
            The next scene he is in the hospital ward of the prison all mentally messed up having just been treated for the umh physical damage….
            Very confronting but hey, pixelated vid game is so different…

          • Yet Go! decided to completely censor out the teeth on the kerb part. The edit went straight from when Norton had turned back from shooting at the fleeing car to the scene in the police office. In the uncensored you see Norton tell the guy he shot to put his mouth round the kerb and then the next scene is him stamping down with his foot (with the other guy out of shot completely). Why censor that but completely but not the rape scene?

      • I spit on your grave. Shotgun up the arse. Man raped. Original and remake. Brutal yet allowed.

        • In farness I’ve never seen a rated copy of I Spit On your Grave – unrated imports back in the heyday of ezydvd that as far as I’m aware were not technically legal to see. Have you seen it anywhere, uncut, with an R18+ slapped on it? Genuinely curious.

      • The protagonist rapes a woman in Wings of Honneamise. The scene isn’t quite as explicitly violent (although it put me off the movie somewhat).

        In any case, as others have said, the R18 rating for video games is explicitly more restrictive than for movies. I don’t always agree with those restrictions, but in this case I have trouble disagreeing. Putting the player in the shoes of a violent rapist needs a lot of justification.

      • Yeah, there are a fair amount of films I can think of actually, and they aren’t RC’d. Usually they get a lot of criticism though. The difference I think is that films have a lot more space to justify including something like that if they do. I struggle to imagine something like HM, as much as I love the game, being able to do the same.

        This all kind of interestingly feeds back into everyone claiming games can be on the same level as film though. Something like this kind of clearly exemplifies how they arent.

      • Isn’t there a rape scene in Basic Instinct where the male lead rips the underwear off his gf forces her over a couch and while she is saying stop/no he rapes her?

        • That’s a grey area from memory. There’s some sort of scene after where they talk about it and it was some possibly sort of roleplay but we never find out. I can’t remember. However, context is essential here. This is a story about sexual and psychological abuse, about a serial killer and a police officer becoming too psychologically and emotionally involved in catching that killer. It’s something of an exploration into the darker parts of the human psyche. Pretty much anything is ok to be depicted provided it can be reasonably justified to a standard that society at large can accept. Granted, the bar is higher for games and it shouldn’t be. But in the end, as much as I like HM, I haven’t seen anything that justifies it.

          As always: Context matters.

        • I know the scene. I was a bit puzzled when they showed the film on TV and that scene was cut out. The VHS version had the scene but rated R18+. Not sure about DVD versions though.

      • Irreversible has a single angle, one take rape scene that lasts around 10 minutes, including some brutal violence toward the woman right after.

        • Context.

          The movie’s central themes are about how people deal with emotional trauma and interpersonal issues that come from suffering from an incredibly traumatic experience.

          • Of course it has context. It happens as part of a larger game. The question is whether the context is enough to pull the game back over the line of RC.

            Apparently not.

      • Didn’t Monsters Ball have some rape scenes? Or even Monster (the one with Charlize Theron).

      • Irreversible. Watch the rape scene in that, then come back and try to put that argument forward again. Also, 120 Days of Sodom.

        • I have. First of all as pokedad pointed out above, the context in that is different.

          Secondly, the protagonist is the victim.

      • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Though admittedly he’d raped her first she still sodomizes him with the dildo, and tattooes on his gut that he’s a pig rapist.

    • My first thought exactly.
      BUT, then i thought about it a bit. Movies serve you the experience. they present it. Games make you part of it. generally, you start to identify with the character. Sometimes this happens in movies/books as well, but to another level. When you see a movie with a rape scene – that is being shown to you and there’s nothing you can do about it (except stop watching).

      When you play a game and there’s a “Press ‘E’ to rape ” option, then things change. You actively choose to, in this example, rape. The worst scenario, is when something like this is needed for game progression. It’s like saying “if you want to continue playing, you have to rape this character.”. That’s just wrong.
      I am all for liberty of speech and “you don’t like it, you shouldn’t buy it”, but cases like this are on (or beyond) the limit, in my very subjective opinion.

  • Well, I reckon I could handle seeing that, but that’s not at question. Within the boundaries of the guidelines that’s far more brutal than what cost South Park its rating, as well as the dildo weapon from Saint’s Row 4 (although didn’t drug use play a part in that also..?). From the OFLC’s position, this is line with the policies as they’re written and is consistent with rulings they’ve made in the past.
    edit: removed a line which made my post ambiguous – and like the OFLC’s reaction to the scene scene in question ambiguity will just lead to bigger problems down the line.

    • I hear your frustration with the Board there stu, but they enforce the guidelines as they get them. They have no influence over how they are written.

      • I assume your response came before my edit – which, for clarity, the last line in my original comment was, “those bastards”.
        I put it in there initially to try and raise a smile; and removed it because I agree with the decision and didn’t want to seem ambiguous.
        I think the context as described doesn’t justify the scene’s inclusion – it just seems like brutality for brutality’s sake, to up the ante to break a taboo. @Shane put it best a little further up the thread where he said the difference here is the player’s “forced empathy with the protagonist”.
        South Park I was a little more peeved at because the context was clearly comedic – although that edit was eventually applied far more broadly so clearly the OFLC represented the majority view there as well.
        Thanks for your reply.

  • Does that really need to be in the game? Seems a bit over the top. I know it’s just a game, but I can understand why it’s been refused classification.

    • Does it need to be in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Of course not. But it’s a narrative that a storyteller wants to explore.

        • Don’t know but it’s a pretty pointless statement to make that a particular aspect to a movie, game or book is not needed. There are plenty of unnecessary points in a story, but these are added to create immersion, complexity, depth etc.,

      • The question is whether or not it does anything for the story, or the characters, or the emotion the viewer is meant to feel. You can do pretty much anything, as long as you can justify it. In the end, the socially set bar will raise or lower depending on the material.

        Game of Thrones is full of gratuitous, pointless rape that serves no purpose other than window dressing, yet everyone just watches it and says nothing. We as a society collectively lowered the bar for GoT because we like so much else about it. It’s never, ever going to be totally consistent.

        • That rape scene adds colour to the characters involved though. It gives you a slightly different aspect to how you feel about them and their relationship. It could have been shown (rather than just alluded to) to make sure the impact of the action is more confrontational. It simply adds to the tapestry of complex characters that have been introduced that aren’t really needed to get from point A to point B in the plot but it makes it more interesting.

          • According to the guidelines given to the board to work from, there wasn’t enough to justify it. That could be because the devs didn’t argue their point well, or because the bar is set unfairly high for games, or because anything that comes down to a matter of perceived public decency is going to be inconsistent sometimes, or maybe because the vast majority of Australians would find the whole thing over the line and devoid of artistic worth. Who knows?

            The point is that context will always decide this kind of thing.

    • I *knew* there was something else I meant to say in my comment. The only way it could be more explicit is with close-up shots.

    • I think the Classification board always says implied unless they show penetration. I’m fairly sure that it’s just because they’re required to use specific language.

    • It’s implied because this has already been covered, the scene in the game turns out to be a movie set where they are making a movie based on the events of HM1

  • A tough one. Like many others above, I have no interest in seeing this in a game, but I also don’t think that it should necessarily be grounds for banning under a fair system.

    I personally think the distinction should be how it takes place: If it’s in a cutscene, it’s a passive experience that should be held to the same standards as film; If it’s interactive, then different standards should apply and I can see that a ban makes more sense. It’s not really clear which it is from this description.

    • The issue is (as others have pointed out) that the decision is in line with the current guidelines. But for some reason, the guidlenies for ‘computer games’ are not conistent with those for film, especially in this area, and that’s what seems to be the thing that is difficult to reconcile logically, whetehr one is for or against this particular decision. It would seem that they previously were encompassed by one (albeit stricter) guidline.

      • Sure. Which is why I said that I think it should hinge on whether it’s interactive or not. Allowing a particular passive scene in a film but not in a game seems very inconsistent at first. Therefore I don’t think the Stick of Truth should have been censored. I have less of a problem with the Saints Row censorship – it may seem stupid, but at least it’s somewhat logical that the player should be prevented from controlling such violence.

        But then again, a game cut-scene that involves a character the player was controlling directly before and after the cut-scene would definitely have higher impact, due to the agency and empathy (thanks for the terminology @shane!).

        In short, I dunno, but there is definitely grounds for a little more consistency between games and movies in this regard.

        • I get what you’re saying.

          I think it’s probably blurring the lines too much when talking about interactive or non-interactive parts of videos games. Yes, we know cinematics are not interactive. That’s why they are called cinematics. But, they also make up the minority of the game.

          For the intents and purposes of the classification board, they HAVE to class all video games as “interactive”, otherwise they are not games. You can’t really make a distinction within a medium that it’s got interactive and non-interactive parts without making it really messy. What are they supposed to do, give it two classifications? One classification for the gameplay parts and another for the cinematics?

      • There Guidelines were identical (except for lack of R18+ for games) until R18 was introduced and the Attorneys General insisted on a separate set of Guidelines for games, which held them to a higher level of impact, in spite of the government’s own finding that there was no evidence to support this.

    • Yeah, that does look like they’re acting for a movie. But was he actually killing people? I was a little confused.

      Regardless, that YouTube clip at least made it look like the rape part was being acted. I wonder how that fits into the guidelines?

      • I guess the other part to this… Is this scene even “playable”, or are you watching this scene take place? If you’re playing it, I can understand the RC.

        If you’re watching this take place.. that’s something else altogether.

    • Hahaha. Last just long enough for you to go “wait, what?” then director yells cut and it all falls into place. Also involuntary and without player input, ‘censored’ (pixellated), therefore it’s no worse than a movie scene. GG board.

      • Yeah shit, I just watched it and it was over in a second…. I personally would have just glossed over it and gone…. wtf? And not even remembered it for two seconds.

  • What’s the context of the scene?

    My opinion on whether this is right or wrong depends entirely on the answer.

    • What more context does there need to be? As in whether it’s a nightmare/flashback or something? Because I really don’t see what context could possibly make that sequence not RC worthy. Rape scenes are one thing, rape scenes where its by a player controlled character? Yeah…

    • The context appears to be a porno shoot. Player comes in, kills a couple of guys, grabs the woman, pants drop, she struggles, then the director yells cut with the following scene being the various players (the previously killed henchmen, the woman, the player, director, et al) reading and discussing the script. Here’s the link that Mingo3k posted before.

      Personally, I think it’s a hell of a stretch to claim it’s something akin to a rape scene, especially considering the bulk of the description:

      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.

      …takes approximately 7 seconds and immediately ceases when the director yells cut and the narrative continues. @MarkSerrels does the OFLC description of the scene further describe the scene after the excerpt you included, or does it stop there. Because, if it does stop, I have to ask why the following scene revealing the context of the entire scene was either missed or deliberately ignored. Not including any description of the post-‘implied rape’ scene would seem to suggest dubious or some other untoward judgement from the OFLC reviewer, not to mention inconsistent adherence to OFLC guidelines when you take into consideration scenes like the porn shoot in Vice City, or the implied sexual violence in God Of War series.

      • I mean any portrayal of rape is an extremely difficult thing to undertake in any narrative. But the question I’m left with after seeing this is: Is a portrayal of rape in a game just a bad as a rape itself, being that one is the act and the other is a recreation/facsimile of the act? I know you’ll have an opinion on this, @Grimbles…

      • So what we’re actually protesting here is that violence and murder are far more acceptable than being a pornographic performer doing a fake rape scene.

        • Interesting note: That would also get porn restricted from sale in Australia, weirdly enough. Part of the restrictions for the sale of pornography means that there must be no violence combined with a sexual act. Which is why the weird pirates porn parody got refused classification, due to having a pair of claymation skeletons fighting poorly in a side scene.

          It’s more that porn stores, at least in the ACT, aren’t as policed as video games and mainstream movie stores.

        • Well that’s the history of gaming, huh? It’s BMX XXX all over again: Beating the christ out of someone with a chain or paddle: No problem. Show the slightest bit of sexual content, like a pixelated nipple: Outrage! I mean, the potential for player abuse of sex workers in GTA 4/5 would seemingly be potentially more damaging than this^^ scene. This is what bugs me about this judgement. Personally, I don’t like this scene, in fact, I’d prefer not to play anything with any level of sexual assault. I’d just like some level of consistency considering the OFLC’s guidelines and the extremely liberal interpretation of them resulting in some huge discrepancies. I mean, yay, we finally got the R rating, but nothing at all has been done to remedy the inconsistent, seemingly very subjective application of the guidelines. So we’re back here again.

  • Sounds great. I look forward to buying it through one of the many millions of available channels to get RC games, and will enjoy the one and only scene of rape in a game that is literally a murder simulator.

    Double standards yo!

  • Wait, so not only was the rape fake; as in, the scene was really a shoot for a porno or something, so it wasn’t actually rape. And even in the chance that this wasn’t the scene they were thinking of, it seems damn disgusting that they were literally talking about the violence right before talking about the rape scene. Why does it have to be that brutal mass murder is excused, but the rape scene is the thing that gets called out? I get it, rape is terrible, but so is stomping on a guy’s head ’till it pops. And apparently, he did similar acts to five people. Seems like it would outweigh the rape scene.

  • Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Problem solved, no need to ban anything. Where the fuck is this wonderful Liberal government we’ve been hearing about, cutting the red tape and government intervention for companies? You can start by getting rid of archaic institutions like the censorship board.

      • Except they act as a censor. I’ll call them the classification board when they stop censoring.

        • They don’t censor. They classify, or refuse classification, based on a set of guidelines.

          • And if they refuse classification it’s illegal to be sold in Australia. The board is being used to censor things.

          • I never said they did. The person making the burger at McDonalds doesn’t come up with the way to make it, it’s just their job to make it. Same thing here, their job is to classify and censor things based on the rules they’re given.

  • Rape is bad but the representation of it shouldn’t be she’d away from by any medium. It’s sad that one person can be offended by something but force themselves into some sort of moral superiority complex by saying things like “they’ve crossed a line”, as if any one perspective is enough for the way everyone else perceives a story. We could argue that you aren’t necessarily a protagonist because people with a basic understanding of story actually knows that what one is. Trainspotting glorified drugs but most people who saw it understood the implication due to a few fairly common film conventions, some of the exact same ones appear here in the depiction of rape and I would contend that the creator here doesn’t expect you to empathize with rape but feel disgusted by it. But what does “meaning” matter when we can just flap our arms up and down and simplify everything into oblivion and prevent games from covering truly meaningful and relevant – but uncomfortable – discourse? Why do people fight so hard to pretend half the story in our games should be ignored because it’s confronting and enables knee-jerk reaction.

  • Disgusting. We need constitutionally protected freedom of expression in this country. I’m sick of being treated like a child. Nobody else should get a say. If this is banned I’ll simply pirate it or buy it with a VPN. The government won’t stop me playing it.

    • Yeah. I can’t believe the government wouldn’t be supporting things like this, it’s clearly such wholesome entertainment that we should all sit down and enjoy with the entire family.

      Seriously, I’m all for freedom of expression but there’s a point where it just becomes offensive or disgusting and allowing it is the same as supporting its message, which is in this case… there really isn’t one… It’s just graphical rape.

      • “allowing it is the same as supporting its message”

        What the… Not it’s not. You’re treating this as a black and white incident. ‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us’. This is akin to saying that murdering people is a socially acceptable behaviour since we allow it in video games as long as there’s a message(?). Just because there is a semblance of player agency in video games does not mean that players support it. Player agency is an illusion when actions are constrained by the developer who is attempting to tell a story. Decision are pre-made. Heck the scene in question takes place in a film/porno shoot in game. It’s fiction within fiction. The whole scene is a world building exercise. This is what the world was inside the game. There is a reason there is a vigilante group in the game.

        • I get what you’re saying and re-reading it, I really did word that horribly.

          What I meant was really that the whole purpose of a governing body (like the Classification Board) being able to refuse classification of something is for that board to essentially say ‘this is offensive/inappropriate in this country’ – Asuming the system is working correctly anyway, which ours admittedly isn’t most of the time. Subsequently, by allowing something to be classified they’re essentially saying that piece of media/art is acceptable in this country.

          It’s the same issue that’s causing a big debate atm with Charlie Hebdo – by our current laws, if it were sold here it would be banned for racist content. Lots of people obviously argue that goes against freedom of expression, which is true but it again raises the question of where does the line get drawn? If possibly racist/offensive satire is considered acceptable in magazines/papers, what about straight insults, harassment or bullying? If rape is acceptable in games, what about child porn? I’m not saying I agree with any of this obviously, just going to more extreme examples.

          Honestly I don’t think Hotline Miami 2 needs to be banned/refused classification. Adults should be able to choose for themselves what they watch, read, play, whatever (to a point anyway, like I said above) but at the same time I really don’t even understand why things like this need to exist in the first place..

  • the OFLC shouldn’t be doing things that make news headlines and annoy adults because they’re poor decisions. One day i want to stop hearing about the blunderings of the OFLC. They’re doing a good job when i can go 12 months without hearing about them. New Zealand don’t have these problems why should we? “i spit on your grave” isn’t banned so why is this? we’re adults wow.

  • What? Wait… that 8bit graphics thing using old-style sprites is the thing we are talking about? After reading the article, I had the impression that it was a 3D photorealistic game. This is just a pile of nonsense.

    I’m not necessarily supporting the inclusion of this stuff in games, but seriously there is much, much worse stuff on TV every day of the week. The classification board may have acted within the guidelines but there really needs to be more consistency between media formats.

    • This man’s on the money. If the first game was released without 8-bit graphics, it’s violence would’ve warranted an R18+ rating, which didn’t exist at that point. In movies, rape can be shown in great detail and be given an R18+ or even MA15+, but in movies, if rape is even only mentioned, it instantly warrants an R18+ rating. Bullshit.

  • I’m not even going to argue with anyone here. Fact is, people have lost all sense of morals.

  • It took longer to read the OFLC’s description of the scene than the scene itself. The description was also far more gross than the scene. Four seconds. Maybe just drop them instead of banning the game.

    • That bugged me too. I mean, it almost felt like the description was purposely written so as to overemphasise the graphic nature of the scene. I dunno, it just seemed a little weighted to me…

  • Oh for goodness sake, not this banning crap AGAIN. This is 2015, we have an R18+ rating – the game us for adults. I’m getting so sick to death of this “even though you’re adults we’re still going to ban this on the basis that it’s offensive”. Don’t play it if you don’t like it ffs. It’s something that MANY movies contain! Irreversible, I Soit on Your Grave, Cannibal Holocaust, Last House on The Left, The Devils Rejects….I could go on and on! All classified R in their uncut form. WE ARE ADULTS! This country seriously needs to grow up. So what if it contains implied rape? It’s fiction! Despite 10 years of campaigning, we still have to put up with the government telling us that drugs and implied rape are TOO MUCH for grown human beings to handle. Mass murder, blood and gore, theft, killing cops, prostitution, etc are ALL FINE but throw in drugs or even implied sexual violence and that is where they draw the line? Again, it’s a video game…Fiction, pixels….Even with all the studies disproving the notion that interactivity=real world violence, the government continues with this pointless crusade. The world continues to laugh at us.

    We will simply log onto the US PSN store, Steam, XBL or just pirate the damn thing to play it! Bans serve NO purpose as logging into US PSN or pirating requires less effort than going to take a piss in the toilet! What do they think they’re accomplishing by banning video games? Lol. The principle annoys me to no end, but in practice banning things has no baring on my ability or willingness to obtain it.

    If this content offends you, that’s fine, don’t play it – but you have no right to impose that subjective morality ontobme or anyone else. Period. I am an adult and will download this just as I have with every other game or movie that the almighty ACB wants to ban. Hi Saints Row and your alien narcotics!

    Piss off “government” – you won’t stop me from playing what I damn well please.

  • And once again we have a bunch of people who are quick to voice their cookie-cutter expressions of disgust (they’ve gone too far, crossed a line, this is unnecessary etc) but those same people more than likely play games in which they kill wave after wave of human enemies. Is one digital rape worse than a thousand digital murders? Why is the “line” so blurry? Would you have happily hacked people to death in HM2 if not for the rape scene?

    • That’s the thing that a lot of posters here seem to miss. So often they’ve decided that a game has crossed a line that THEY find offensive, but I guarantee you that the same posters enjoy games that someone else finds offensive. Once you can accept this, you have to acknowledge that media standards shouldn’t be ruled by gut reactions.

      • Yeah I get what you’re saying but where does it end, does it ever end?

        If there was a twisted version of GTA where you walked around raping people, gouging eyeballs and sodomizing peoples dead skulls would you be ok with that? What if the game asked you to walk into a hospital and shoot up all the sick and wounded or walk into a nursing home and stab 100 old people in the face for no reason, is that ok?

        Yes I understand some of that is hilarious but c’mon there’s definitely lines that can be crossed you can’t just say “oh these people are such hypocrites with their double standards”.

        After watching the footage of HM2 I personally think an 18+ rating is more than enough for the pixellated pants drop but I can see why people are saying what they’re saying.

        • To be honest I don’t have a major problem with a game like that existing. Would I play it? No. No interest in that at all. But if we can accept that video games aren’t a significant influence on peoples behaviour then who am I to tell others what they get to enjoy?

    • just because I personally find a game scene offensive or not has nothing to do with I would consider to be a RC-appropriate game.

      Am I personally offended and appalled at the scene? No, not really.
      Do I agree with the RC rating that it was given? Yes.

      • Seems like an odd stance to take. Why would you be happy for mature adults to be told what they can and can’t access? You don’t have to buy it, but why deny others the right?

        • You don’t have to buy it, but why deny others the right?


          • Yeah… I don’t know if you’ve noticed the fucking huge chasm between portrayal of a sexual assault, and a rape-sim, but it’s there, and it’s a big distinction.

        • What I’m saying is that for me personally, I don’t find that scene overly offensive to the point where I’m grabbing a pitchfork. I most likely would’ve played through the game and barely noticed that little section.

          But, do I think that the Classification Board did the right thing to give it an RC rating? Absolutely.

          (it was more of an answer to the other comments of people saying “I DON’T FIND THIS OFFENSIVE, MEANING YOU SHOULD JUST GET OVER IT AND LET ME PLAY IT! I’M SICK OF THIS CENSORSHIP”)

          • Personally, I don’t want to play games with scenes involving sexual assault (either the act, nor the portrayal of the act), so I won’t, but there’s no consistency in the application of the board’s guidelines. For me, they’re banning this for the wrong reasons. There needs to be a review of their guidelines and their application of them. By their own guidelines:

            (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

            …so the porn shoot from Vice City, the torture scene in GTA V, the implied sexual violence in God of War, the rendition scene in the Favela in MW2, the cat suppressors from Postal 2, etc, etc would all be refused classification. Yet, here we are without restrictions on their respective sales. I would argue the torture scene involving Trevor would be much more damaging than this scene in HM2, but the review board gets just a tad blinded by the inclusion of an element sex in a game. As I stated earlier, yeah, we have an R rating, woot, but the very subjective interpretation of the guidelines remains, and that will continue to result in inconsistent judgements of games involving controversial subject matter.

          • i would put it to you that this is possibly due to the nature of the tenure of the position – when applying for a role at that board of classifications, IIRC, the position is only a 2-year un-renewable contract,

          • Also, aren’t the people selected for the positions in a similar fashion to jury duty, ie, they’re supposed to come from quite disparate background, ‘all walks of life’, etc?

    • I dunno, personally I never like Hotline Miami anyway, for the same reason I think Hatred is a stupid and disgusting game.

      I’m happy to ‘kill digital people’ if there’s a good reason (a plot/story) behind it, that’s really no different from watching/reading a violent movie or book. The line for me is really in these games like Hatred, Postal and Hotline Miami that really have no reason for hacking, slashing, murduring (and now apparently raping) other then “it’s a game.” I just don’t find that a good enough excuse.

      To quote someone from this site on one of the Hatred articles during the steam issues “What about when I get home from work and just want to kill people?” People should never just want to ‘go kill people’ (or in this case rape people), even in a video game, if they do feel that way, they should probably seek help.

      As I said somewhere else here, I’m all for freedom of expression. As someone (still) studying games development, I’d hate to have one of my games refused classification in any country but at the same time I’m a big supporter of making games for a reason (other then just the money) so I find things like Hotline Miami (I know some people said the story of the first was great… I really didn’t like it personally) just as annoying as things like Angry Birds Farm Saga – I’m sure that’s probably a thing..

      • Disclaimer: Although I’m a little disgusted buy a lot of the content in Hotline Miami, just as I likely will be with HM2, I loved the the game, the story in particular. I do not intend to sound aggressive, nor do I think you’re wrong, I just want to offer my own subjective interpretation of the games plot in defense of the games violence; I do believe it served a purpose.

        The story of Hotline Miami was definitely not portraying you as a good guy, at least not as I understood it. Indeed the game acts as something of a commentary on the violence we consume. The game flat out tells you “you’re not a good person, are you?” with a heavy implication that you as the player are the villain of the story for having played the game, every murder is your fault. Remember all of those apartment scenes? Was anything forcing you to leave the apartment? No. You, the player, chose to murder these people for fun. Every time. You aren’t a good person. This is all your fault.

        This was a game that utilized gratuitous violence in order to question our morals. In a way the game was very subversive; while the violence was (for me) confronting, disturbing and actually made me feel somewhat ill after prolonged sessions of play, there was a very deliberate point to that violence. I understand that the plot may not have clicked with you, but at the same time the plot of a lot of David Lynch films don’t click with a lot of people, yet the frequently disturbing images that he conjures do resonate with some people, so the story is not objectively “good” just as a film is not objectively “good”, but both examples here are appreciated by a decent group of people.

        On top of this I do not believe in any sort of forced empathy or sympathy for the playable character; yet I do acknowledge that younger audiences or less attentive ones may not form this negative opinion of the character they play, because they simply expect that someone killing “bad guys” must be the “good guy”. I do understand that a lot of people cannot see the distinction, or don’t believe it lessens the potentially negative impact of the depiction of such a disgusting act, but I believe this scene is condemning the act of sexual assault, just as the first game was condemning certain elements of mediated violence. However this game should most certainly not be allowed for children; this game (and presumably the sequel) absolutely demand that you find the distinction between positively depicted and negatively depicted acts, and I think a lot of people missed that about Hotline Miami because of the deliberately vague plot and the fact they define a game largely only by its game play, and don’t pay much attention to the plot. To this end it’s possible the Classification board might have made the right decision, I can’t be sure without having seen the game or scene, but as I see this scene(s description) it’s clearly meant to horrify you, whether this depiction is OK or not is a different manner.

        I think people sometimes get confused by a humanized villain because they’re not used to it; some people still think Walter White in Breaking Bad was somehow justified in the things he did because he had a reason to do them, however everyone (at least everyone old / emotionally mature enough to watch such content) can undoubtedly say that Walt committed terrible, horrible and unforgivably evil things, and the show wasn’t showing us what fun drug dealing and murder could be, but rather showing evil acts that aren’t any less evil for his showing remorse afterwards.

        That is all, sorry if I sounded aggressive, or jumped down your throat, twisted your words, etc. That was not my intention, I just don’t like seeing Hotline Miami put in there with Postal (Hatred too, but it could be there’s some sort of story or reason and they’re just hoping for the controversy to act like a free bit of advertising; something I think Hotline Miami did to an extent and to their detriment, so I’ll reserve my judgement of that game until I at least read a review of it.) Also sorry for the wall of text.

  • This is so frustrating. The instant this information was revealed it became about whether or not we want to play the game that it describes. Personally I don’t. I didn’t want to play the original Hotline Miami either. I don’t even want the game to be made. Honestly I don’t even want to defend it because I’d rather not be associated with it.
    However nobody was harmed in the making of the game, no criminal acts were involved in making the game and I don’t believe it’s harmful for an adult who is assumed to be mature enough to vote, smoke and drink alcohol to play it. There’s no need to justify this content beyond that.
    It almost certainly doesn’t have any artistic merit. It’s sick and it’s wrong but it’s up to the author to decide if they want it to be part of the game, it’s up to the distributors to decide if they want to sell a game featuring this stuff, it’s up to the publisher and classification board to restrict it’s sale to minors and to inform people of the content the game contains before they purchase it, and finally it’s up to the player to decide if they want to buy and play it.
    The classification board shouldn’t get a free pass to overrule everyone else’s decision simply because the item they’re refusing classification doesn’t have enough artistic value for people to be willing to defend it.

    • I get the arguments and it’s a complicated issue but I still feel as long as there is a slim possibility of this material being distributed to people who may get influenced from these things – even if they’re adults – it seems fair to restrict access to it (or at least attempt to ;). But that’s only because it’s an extreme example – I’d say the same to Manhunt and Hatred.

  • Yeah, can’t say I argue with that decision.

    The scene in question is brief, but it’s there. Fair call on the RC. Let’s just hope they can take that bit out (which seemingly should be fairly easy, it’s just seems to be nothing more than a fade-away at the end/mid mission).

    To all the people butt-hurt about this, look at it from a broader viewpoint. Just because we have the R-rating now, doesn’t mean everything is still going to get passed. You gotta give a little if you’re going to take a little. Sexual assault and violence never mix, regardless of the medium

  • That was not intentional at all. We didn’t add the scene just to be controversial. There is a meaning to these two characters. There’s a lot more to them than just this scene. (from the RPS article).

    This scene certainly sounds pretty horrifying, but I’m not sure everyone should outright condemn the scene without a) seeing it for yourself or b) seeing it in the context of the story the devs are trying to make. To clarify, I’m in no way saying this scene needs to be in there; Wedin himself said that it didn’t (“Couldn’t you have just done the exploitation angle without it? Wedin: Of course.”) but judging something before you’ve seen it is not a good idea.

    Personally I always viewed the violence in the first game as sickening, disgusting and repulsive, but that was quite deliberate within the confines of the story, so I won’t judge the game, nor the scene, until I’ve seen it.

      • I am aware of that, and have watched these clips, but that was a demo of the game in an earlier stage of development, so you can’t be sure they’re actually the same and, being a demo, it doesn’t show anything more than this scene, it doesn’t give any further context than that it was a movie set.

  • Just gunna leave this here… The Youtube moderators didn’t think it was bad enough to take it down.

    • That’s actually an interesting point. I wonder if the video just hasn’t been reported?

    • youtube also took several weeks to remove a video of men in battle fatigues being executed by another group of men in battle fatigues. In real life, no video game here. I watched a guy empty a .45 into the back of the guys head. He kept going even after the first three shot made him fall forward, brain matter flying all over the place.

    • YouTube moderators aren’t exactly the most vigilant group on the planet. I wouldn’t take their action/inaction as any type of indication of what is right and wrong.

  • While I’m not saying rape is right in any predicament (it’s not right at all), all this (and other rulings) says to me that violence, maiming, torture and above all, murder are more acceptable crimes than rape and drug use

    • funny you should say that because in the prision system rapists and pedos are kept away from the murders, theives and drug users so their not killed the moment they inter the system. but yes i do get the point that you are making

  • This shits me because nothing in that scene contextually happens, it’s a filming of a movie for gods sake. Fine then, I’ll just have to find out how to make a US account on my Vita and do the swap bullshittery. Context is everything.

    • I agree completely.

      there is no rape. An actor comes in, hits some actors, and interacts with an actress, and then the director says cut and everything is fine and nobody is dead or has been raped.

      Assuming the art-style is the same as it was in Hotline Miami, it’s not like it’s Unreal Engine 4 SEE THE SCRATCHES ON HIS ARMS AS SHE TRIES TO FIGHT BACK graphics. Just the weird pixelated top-down stuff we’re used to. What I am trying to say is that, surely this would be far less child-unfriendly than a more realistic art-style (not that children should be anywhere near this, as the R-18 rating IS MEANT TO PREVENT FROM HAPPENING).

      It’s all crazy and stupid.

      • which is why it was given RC for “implied” sexual violence.

        The merits of what “implied” refers to seems a little up for interpretation, but that was the ruling.

  • I would not have seen this had they made a big deal about it.
    now ive seen it.
    and its a cartoon, lighten up!
    should be classified R18+ tho and then that be that!

  • I don’t care how bad this is. We got the god damn R18+ rating for a reason, so we should use it! I’m sick of all these games being banned regardless of the new rating.

    • Yep agreed.

      The scene is nowhere near that bad to be banned, R18+ would serve this game perfectly.

  • No surprise here. Video games can not include sexual assault… and implied sexual assault can only be included under certain context. A detective investigating a rape would be allowed.

    This is the same for TV and movies.

  • How is this different to the ending of F.E.A.R 2 where Sergeant Beckett is strapped into a chair and is raped by Alma? That game passed the OFLC with an MA15+ rating.

    Only difference I can see is that you’re the one doing it to someone else vs someone raping you in the game. Is there really much difference? I see no reason why this couldn’t be given an R18+ rating as it’s only an implied rape scene. Whereas F.E.A.R 2 was an actual rape scene rated 15+

  • “This offends me so I support this move”

    This is what I’m seeing a lot of around the web and it makes me frown. Just because it offends or disturbs you does not mean the people that want to play the sequel should be denied. I LOVED Hotline Miami 1. It was high octane action requiring quick wits and careful planning to get the best times and the best looking runs. I’ve been denied (temporarily I hope) the chance to play the sequel without resorting to shady means.

    We have an R18+ classification that they refuse to use and will not change the guide lines to fit it. I think it’s time to get some fresh blood into the Classification Board who actually fits the target audience for these games (and movies, I suppose) to give them a fair, proper look.

    For reference:

    No one under 30 there from the looks. Stop babying me – I’m an adult man who is smart enough to know what I do and do not want to see. Don’t make the decision for me, thank you. Edit: I think I should state I trust the Classification Board to properly put my entertainment into a classification that best fits so I know what I’m looking at. If I see R18+ I’ll take a moment to think about what’s in it.

    • Thankyou for being someone who finally does not referring to them as the OFLC. The OFLC has been gone for a while.
      We have the R18 classification, so how about we update the guidelines to fit it.

  • Well this certainly seems to be a much more intelligent discussion than most of the shit-slinging I see these days on teh interwebz.

    While I didn’t read all of the comments, the ones I did (at least the first page) are very valid; but I feel the need once more, to throw in my two cents.

    Rape isn’t good, we all know this. However, no one is holding a gun to anyone else’s head and forcing them to play. It doesn’t seem like you are actually the one repeatedly pressing the “pin arms and thrust” button. Does that not then become a movie?

    The parts of games that are actually interactive may have more impact than movies, but if they aren’t interactive doesn’t that make that part of them a movie? In which case, should they not be classified as such?

    I remember the most impact a game ever had on me was the first time I had to end the suffering of a companion in FarCry2. I couldn’t get to them in time so I gave them drugs til they passed. I nearly cried, because I DID IT. I don’t care about something my character does when I’m not controlling them.

    Finally…since you’re watching a movie section of the game of actions happening inside a movie inside the game’s movie section, does that lessen the impact even further? Ponder…

  • Glad to hear the scene is still in it. Developer should be totally free to include these kind of scenes if they want to. You as a customer have the choice to not buy it because of the scene.

  • Not interested in the game as I couldn’t play HM1 for more than about 15 mins before getting extremely sore eyes and headaches because of the swaying, but I don’t agree with censorship in any form.

    If adults want to buy it, they should be able to. Refused classification should be a “rating”, not just a flat out ban. What right does anyone have to dictate me what media I can and cannot consume?

  • To all the people saying “If it offends you then no-one is forcing you to play it”. Whilst that’s a valid point there’s also a reason that snuff magazines and sodomistic porn isn’t available in video shops or magazines in newsagencies.

    It’s the knowledge that this content is readily available for society, and I see it as a messed up slippery slope. I personally don’t think the HM2 scene is anything to write home about it, but if they just let this one in then the next game would be one worse and say “But what about the scene in HM2” and then the next game would be one iota worse and worse etc etc (Cmon people haven’t you watched any SVU).

    Once again, totally don’t think this scene is that bad and an r18+ rating would be fine but that argument that “you don’t need to play it” is not so bulletproof.

    • Back in ye olde days, people got beheaded and hands chopped off for minor thievery. And now, the US prison system population is a joke.

      It’s a slippery slope.

  • So let me see if I get this. Because of a scene where 8 bit looking cartoonish characters imply a rape (I’ve seen the scene on youtube, it’s not even a rape, it’s a movie scene), the entire game can’t be played in australia? I’m sorry, are we not adults? The idea that something can be refused classification for something as stupid as that amazes me. We have R ratings for a reason, because we believe adults can handle anything. To ban this silly over the top game for a scene that isn’t even that graphic (Seriously watch it on youtube, it’s barely even a full 3 seconds) is condescending to every adult in the country.

  • The reason Snuff magazines aren’t available in stores is because a) they don’t exist and B) they are evidence of an actual crime. That’s just a bad example because there’s a legal reason they aren’t permitted.

    S&M Porn is absolutely available in adult stores, because that’s it’s target audience. You could also probably get it in a newsagency depending on the owner and it’s position, but it’s perfectly legal and easy to get.

    This isn’t about games getting worse and worse, this is about the ratings system deciding that adults do not have the right to make their own decision in regards to entertainment for an arbitrary reason. You do not need to play HM2, and most people won’t. It’s a sequel to an indie game that maybe a few hundred thousand people worldwide even know. The argument “you don’t need to play it” is entirely valid, you don’t need to play it. You don’t need to hand them money, you get to move on with your life and just ignore the game. However those who want to play it don’t get too because the ratings board likes to act as though adults are not capable of handling 8 bit pretend rape that’s actually completely faked since the story reveals it’s a movie scene literally seconds later.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!