Australia has a bit of a bug up it’s behind about video games – for years the country’s rating council didn’t have an 18+ classification, and so anything that didn’t qualify for it’s 15+ rating was essentially banned in the country. Everything from Grand Theft Auto to friggin’ 50 Cent: Bulletproof fell afoul of the prudishness.
Australia now has an 18+ rating, but it hasn’t changed much as the board can simply refuse to classify something they find too offensive. South Park: Stick of Truth and Saints Row IV were victims of this loophole, and now Hotline Miami 2 has essentially been banned in the country.
Apparently the banning all comes down to a single scene, which, based on the following description provided by the Australian classification board, definitely crosses some lines the original game didn’t. Warning, disturbing description of sexual violence ahead…
“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 emphasized by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.”
We don’t know the full context of the scene, and I’m not in favor of any sort of subject matter being off limits for art, but yeesh, sounds like Hotline Miami 2 may be pushing the shock bar a little hard. That said, who’s the government to tell Australians what they can and can’t play after a hard day down at the Thunderdome?
Update: Here’s the full context for the scene, as provided by publisher Devolver Digital. Basically, the rape scene happens in a movie within the game and isn’t “real”, but the imagery is nonetheless pretty off-putting. The following is NSFW obviously…