Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number was revealed to the world in August and caused a great deal of controversy due to its inclusion of an ‘almost rape’ sequence. The sexual violence turns out to be a scene for a film, but understandably a lot of people were vocal about its inclusion. Developer Dennis Wedin isn’t shying away from this controversy, nor being pig-headed about it. He’s removed the sequence from his preview demo code, and is considering its position in the final game.
Talking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Dennaton’s Wedin said: “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.
“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 may have removed it from the demo, but there’s no guarantee that the sequence has gone for good. There may well be much heavier context to the sequence in the full game that somehow justifies the horror of attempted rape, but regardless of how embedded the scene is in the story, Wedin is at least rethinking its position in his game. “We’re gonna see how people react to it when we test the whole game. 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.”
If Wedin decided to keep hold of the scene, then the rest of the game’s attitude to women will need to reinforce the idea that sexual violence is not a light matter. He emphasises in the interview that of the multiple player characters, some will be women, and presumably they will be empowered by the ability to cave people’s heads in with a baseball bat, as well as a narrative plot line that makes more of them than just actors playing bit-part victims.
Thanks, PC Gamer.