[Updated] Hotline Miami 2 Refused Classification

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been Refused Classification in Australia, effectively banning it from local sale. The Australian Classification Board reached this decision last Wednesday.

The Board currently cites the National Classification Code, stating that games which “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.”

Publisher Devolver Digital has released a statement on the decision, which has been included below.

Hotline Miami 2, the sequel to the 2011 top-down shooter, was originally scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2015. It was previously criticised for a demo scene depicting sexual assault. In response, Dennaton Games said it would reconsider the inclusion of this scene in the final product.

The ACB introduced the R18+ rating in 2013. Since then, it has refused to classify a number of games, including Saints Row IV and South Park: The Stick of Truth; those titles were later edited for Australian release.

Update – 3:20pm:┬áThe Australian Classification Board has released its report into the decision:

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.

Update – 16/01/2015: Publisher Devolver Digital has released a statement on the ACB’s decision:

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.

Second, in response to the report itself, 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.

Devolver Digital has no plans to appeal the Board’s decision.

[Source: Player Attack]