The Australian Classification Board has banned the sale of Hotline Miami 2 in the country, refusing to grant it a rating. According to Kotaku Australia, this rather extreme step was taken due to an 'implied rape scene' in the game. The scene involves the player slaughtering his male adversaries, pushing a woman to the ground and then thrusting into her as the red background throbs; an implication of the sexual abuse being committed.
However, the scene is not what it appears to be. In reality the player is just acting for a movie, rather than actually killing people in a gruesome manner and then raping said female. But apparently, that's not good enough for the Australian Classification Board who find the scene below particularly offending:
WARNING: Content may be unsuitable for young audiences.
This specific scene caused a controversy in 2013 as well, when the demo of the game was released.But the scene was removed from the demo after an apology from Hotline Miami 2 co-creator Denis Wedin.
Australian Classification Board's official statement regarding refusal of rating the game states:
The computer game is classified RC [Refused Classification] in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer 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.
However, according to the developers, the scene has been 'incorrectly described' and there's more to it then meets the eye:
[...] 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.
The statement further says that the developers are disappointed by the board's decision, but do not intend to challenge it.
But that doesn't mean that the game won't be played in Australia. According to Ars Technica, Hotline Miami 2 designer Jonatan Söderström has actually asked Australian fans to 'just pirate' the game if it remains unavailable in the country.
As the Australian Board refuses to grant the game a rating, gamers usually come to the same conclusion; games are a form of art and entertainment just like movies and books and they have a right to free speech.
That being said, this is a delicate but important subject, which warrants further thoughtful discussion among gaming communities, creators and distributors alike.