Hotline Miami 2 forced to remove Rape Scene

This article does contain details that some people may find upsetting or disturbing.

PC Gamer and other critics managed to get hands on with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number only to be stunned into silence. The opening demo features a rape scene.

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You play as the Pig Butcher and smash your way through hordes of bad guys, leaving a bloody mess in your wake. The previous Hotline Miami followed this exact formula and once you reached the end of the level, the character would either rescue a target or kill them. Your target this time is a blonde who appears to fight just as well as any of the men in the room. However, once you defeat her the game prompts you to “FINISH HER.” One would hope in a Mortal Kombat style way. But instead of some gruesome move ,which involved ripping out the woman’s spinal cord, Pig Butcher pins her down and drops his trousers. At that moment a voice yells “CUT……..Pig Man, well done, but don’t be afraid to be rougher. And you there, blondie. You need to work on your femininity. Act more helpless and scared. You know, more girly.” The audience is now aware that this is a scene from a movie. However, this still did not sit well with many of the audience.

Despite the relief that the rape scene was fake and not shown, the disgust for many had firmly settled in. PC Gamer’s Cara Ellison professes to being a fan of the game but was certainly appalled by the events that had just taken place. She reacts to the moment the director yells “CUT.”

But this framing comes too late. Hotline Miami 2 has already used her for shock and power. Videogame women don’t get very many other roles to play but the helpless damsel. I played the rest of the excellently constructed murder simulator demo in silence, and left feeling uncertain of why I was so upset. It was because I was manipulated.

The developer Dennaton Games has subsequently removed the opening and intend to re-work it.

I respect people’s comments and the fact that people voiced them. That’s how they feel. Our scene made them feel this way, so we have to think about why and if there’s something we can do to make it better. I don’t think it’s right to just say, “You’re wrong. You’re just looking at it wrong.” That’s not the way to go.”

hotline miami bloodI personally am a firm believer that games ARE an art form and ever since we as gamers have demanded more and more realistic and cinematic experiences are we right to fight for the exclusion of something that happens in real life? Are games unable to (for want of a better word) delicately or truthfully portray such horrific scenes. The movie Deliverance certainly comes to mind and whilst this film shocked audiences worldwide the way in which the horrific scene was conveyed was considered acceptable by the BBFC. But are the BBFC or PEGI in a position where they can afford such controversy? Considering games are constantly under threat and are being blamed by many as the cause of certain heavily publicised and horrific crimes. Are people mainly worried that this glorifies rape? If that is the case I would argue this scene has had the opposite effect. Everyone was appalled rather than ecstatic to have reached the levels conclusion. Should the scene be included to repulse people and address the issue at hand or just left out altogether? Or is this just another controversial publicity stunt to attract attention? Dennaton Games feel otherwise

We were really sad that some people were so affected by it, because maybe they had been through something like that of their own. Maybe they had a terrible experience of their own that was triggered by the game. 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.”

hotline miami box artRockstar have been accused of similar things in the past but I have often found their work to be within relatively good taste and in keeping with the tone. The shock value this game will cause however, is perhaps unnecessary. Even though Pig Butcher, one of the so called heroes in the game, inflicts gratuitous violence upon gangsters etc this surely cannot justify the actual raping of a woman? This cannot be perceived as “hey he killed a bunch of bad guys, don’t arrest him for one transgression.”

As stated Dennaton Games intend to re-work the opening scene and see how the next audience reacts to the whole game;

We’re gonna see how people react to it when we test the whole game,” Wedin added. “We’ll get opinions and stuff like that. We’ll see how we can present this in a good way. In a way that we want it to come across. Not just as provocative. That’s not our meaning at all.”

Originally the gory violence of the first Hotline Miami was overlooked by PEGI and rated a 16 largely due to the “cartoony” nature of the graphics. This time I doubt PEGI will skim over Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.

At Twinstickgaming we’ll keep you up to date with any further developments. In the meantime tell us your thoughts. What do you think about this game? Should it be banned?

 
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