Hotline Miami 2 developers Dennaton are reconsidering the game's mock sexual assault scene, and have removed it from their current preview build. This is in response to a demo of the game, which received criticism - including from our preview - for a section in which the player's character goes to rape a woman, before a director calls cut, and the scene is revealed to be part of a film. In an interview with RPS , Dennaton's Dennis Wedin admits he doesn't want the scene to come across "just as provocative".
"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."
Wedin goes on to describe some of the context around the scene, explaining that in the full game these two characters are explored in more detail, and that the victim is not the only woman in the game. "There's also gonna be playable female characters – a lot more of them in the final game."
When asked if the scene would appear in the final game, Wedin said, "we'll see."
"We're gonna see how people react to it when we test the whole game," he continued. "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.
"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."
The unthinking removal of challenging material would be devastating to games' ability to examine serious topics, so it's good to see Dennaton taking a thoughtful approach here. To state the obvious, our original preview was an honest reaction to the scene, not a call for censorship. Head through to the RPS interview for more discussion about Dennaton's initial thinking, and the context behind that controversial moment.