Last month, controversy erupted over the fact that the demo for indie sequel Hotline Miami 2 featured a simulated, forced rape scene. Some felt the game crossed an ethical line, with others finding the inclusion of the scene to be a brave and bold way to tackle real-world social issues in a medium that tends to gloss over them in favour of digitally killing things. That scene will no longer be in the demo, and will be reworked for the final game.
Speaking to Rock, Paper Shotgun, developer Dennaton’s Dennis Wedin explained that the scene, as it stands in the demo, is shown without context, which makes it all seem far more gratuitous than it rightly is.
“We were really sad that some people were so affected by it, because maybe they had been through something like that of their own,” Wedin said. “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.
“We removed it for the demo. We’re going to work with it, see if we can fix it. You get a bigger picture when you play the whole game, which is lost in the demo of course.”
The controversial scene, though making it clear that it’s fiction-within-fiction, struck many a nerve, and I believe that it’s largely because of the way it’s presented in the demo; without context. People have a right to be upset, and while many will argue about a double-standard in the wanton murder in the game being overlooked, there is a key difference between murder and rape; the victims of murder generally aren’t around to relive their awful, traumatic experiences whenever the topic is brought up.
That said, I do support the developers and their decision to keep the scene in the final game, provided it isn’t as gratuitous as it seems and the context is able to foster real, meaningful insight and promote awareness of a very real, and very serious topic. Rape should never be entertainment, but even media that primarily serves as entertainment has the right to meaningfully examine its consequences.
We’ll have to wait and see whether or not Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number manages to do just that. Here’s the scene that caused the commotion.
Last Updated: September 6, 2013