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Hotline Miami 2 assault scene under consideration

Hotline Miami 2 assault scene under consideration

Fri 06 Sep 2013 9:52am GMT / 5:52am EDT / 2:52am PDT
Development

"We didn't add the scene just to be controversial"

Dennaton, the creator of Hotline Miami, has removed a controversial sexual assault scene from the sequel's demo and is currently reconsidering its place in the finished game.

"We respect everyone's opinion. We felt like we might have to have the whole game for that scene to work, or maybe we were doing it wrong. It didn't come out the way we wanted it to," developer Dennis Wedin told RPS.

The scene in question was first brought to media attention by writer Cara Ellison, who objected to the handling of a sexual assault scene within the Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number playable demo.

"The control is taken from me by the game, and my character, the Pig Butcher, pins her down and drops his trousers," said Ellison.

Wedin added that the intention of the scene wasn't just to be controversial, and that there is much more to the two characters involved than is shown in the demo.

"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."

17 Comments

Dennaton bringing some much needed sense and reason when it comes to this kind of stuff. Anyone that has played or seen the first Hotline Miami knows it's very openly an experience of brutality and at times seemingly wanton violence. Yet statements like this show that he won't let that fact cloud his judgement on what it is, keeping things in sight both within the context of the game as well as with the game's position itself in the context of our own social and industrial worries and problems.
Lots of people need to have a look at this and learn this lesson. You CAN do pretty much whatever you want, but be mindful of what it is you're doing; don't let it be an excuse for itself and make sure to do it the right way.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Christian Keichel
Journalist

676 923 1.4
Popular Comment
I find it disturbing, how obsessed people in the industry have become with their fight against the portrayal of anything sexual in video games.
In video games it's ok, to murder and multilate people to torture them for fun, to set them on fire and burn them alive, as long, as none of this is connected to anything sexual, nobody seems to have a problem with it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 6th September 2013 1:39pm

Posted:A year ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,533 1,330 0.9
Popular Comment
I dare say that's because sexual assault is something that a fair portion of the population fears, and that fear is something that forces a different behaviour in real life than what would be preferable, in order to ensure safety. The statistics for violence and murder are reasonably low, and they're something that everyone shrugs at, like crossing the road, or flying. The statistics for rape and sexual assault are horrifying, though, and it's made even worse by cultural dynamics ("blaming the victim") and the low prosecution/investigation rate. Thus, to have that situation played out in a video-game - and to have the "victim" helpless - not only excludes the portion of the population who live in fear, but can also trigger flashbacks and panic attacks.

Or, tl;dr - People play video-games to escape from real-life, not have their fears presented to them in graphic detail.

And I don't think this is a "Oh noes, sex!" situation. I'm sure if Hotline Miami 2 has an entirely consensual BDSM scene, then people would be fine with it.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 6th September 2013 2:00pm

Posted:A year ago

#3

Christian Keichel
Journalist

676 923 1.4
I'm sure if Hotline Miami 2 has an entirely consensual BDSM scene, then people would be fine with it.
This wouldn't have happened, because no platform holder would allow a game on their console, that includes a BDSM scene, consensual or not.
Video games aren't books or movies.
The novel Clockwork Orange explored in 1962 how Sex and Violence were connected and it was transformed into a movie by Stanley Kubrick in 1971, both book and movie were critically acclaimed. Today in 2013, it is still impossible for a video game to ask the questions, books were able to ask in the early 1960s and movies were able to ask 10 years later.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 6th September 2013 3:28pm

Posted:A year ago

#4

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,533 1,330 0.9
This wouldn't have happened, because no platform holder would allow a game on their console, that includes a BDSM scene, consensual or not.
Which is why PCs are great. :p

Seriously, I think you're right. But I also think, given how "mainstream" BDSM and erotica is now, that even a game equivalent of Fifty Shades would be good for the industry, in a large way. Rather than creating games which exclude women - as the Hotline Miami 2 scene does - why not have a game that gives women agency in a sexual situation?

Meh. Anyway, off topic, I feel. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 6th September 2013 3:05pm

Posted:A year ago

#5
That statement is not entirely devoid of truth, though there are strong arguments against it. I definitely don't think it's a case of "oh no, sex!" as we've still got plenty of that, but rape is very delicate thing still and echoing O'Driscoll I think that while we have to fight rape culture as being a mainstream phenomenon this is something complicated, at best, to have in interactive media. Curiously enough, I recently watched one of Jim Sterling's Jimquisition shorts for the escapist where he talks precisely about the Rape vs Murder issue in video-games and found he made quite reasonable points in this.
Personally with how the first Hotline Miami went overall and with this type of response to this particular issue from Dennaton, I think he's earned a bit of trust and would very much like to see him being able to wrap this up however he believes it has to be wrapped up. I think people in the games industry at either side should know better than most at this point that pinpointed "examples" with no context serve no good to any of us.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Christian Keichel
Journalist

676 923 1.4
. Curiously enough, I recently watched one of Jim Sterling's Jimquisition shorts for the escapist where he talks precisely about the Rape vs Murder issue in video-games and found he made quite reasonable points in this.
Just watched it, leaves me speechless. He is saying murder in games is ok, because the villains "[he] can enjoy stop with murder and maybe a little torture", but don't rape anybody? So he is saying torturing and murdering people is morally better, then raping them.
He also says "killing can be performed without a victim in the truest sense of the word", because the people you kill in games are fighting back, which is no argument at all, because it means, if you resist somebody killing you, it becomes somewhat justified to get a bullet in the head, which is exactly what people are criticising the society for, when talking about rape culture (a term I find problematic otherwise).
He completely lost me, when he said that killing "is a power fantasy anybody can have, rape on the other hand is one sided for most of the part". Here it becomes clear, he doesn't even know, what the word power fantasy means. It's interesting how he says his video is about "rape vs. murder", but quietly changes the wording within the video from "murder" to "killing", murder and killing aren't the same, not in the legal sense of the words and not when it comes to the moral implications both acts have in our society. Most people agree, that we don't "murder" the animals we eat (to say so means you are part of an animal rights movement, that condemns the consume of animal meat at all) and in wars, the army who fights for your country doesn't murder it's opponents, it's always the enemy who is doing the murder, your people are always just doing the killing. To say killing equals murder would be the same as to say sex equals rape. People can get killed in a car crash, to say they were murdered in a car crash is something completely different.

But even if I put all these points aside, what the real problem of this video is, is what it shows and what it doesn't show. It's hypocrite to title a video rape vs. murder just to show sequences of games where soldiers fight each other in it and not show pictures from the "no russian" mission in CoD, where mutilated civilians crawl in their blood on the floor, begging for mercy, just for the entertainment of the player. It's hypocrite not to show, that GTA allowed you in earlier installments to get a hooker into your car, have Sex with her (which costs you money) and then, after she left the car, beat her to death to get your money back.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 6th September 2013 7:41pm

Posted:A year ago

#7
Fair enough on the killing vs murder thing I guess, the word is being used on the broader "human purposely killing human" sense. I still believe that, flawed as it may be, he does make reasonable points as to why these things are treated so differently. It IS a fallacy though, to resume his point about killing, murder etc with "it's okay because people are fighting back".
Personally I just believe that as long as we have the problem of rape culture being mainstream, we're just not mature enough as a society to be able to throw rape into video games without extreme care.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Sergio Rosa
"Somewhat-Creative Director"

62 35 0.6
Note: if the idea behind my comment isn't understood, the entire comment may sound really bad...

I just read the original article on PC Gamer, and I think it is ironic how sometimes players are forced to kill someone to advance in the game and nobody says a thing, but then the game forces you to think you're about to rape a person and everyone goes crazy. As long as this industry tries to stay away from certain subjects, the medium will not grow up at all.
It is OK to have killing sprees and all that in videogames, and even make players mindlessly kill people all over the place, but when there's a sex-related subject in a game, we get headlines all over the internet. Actually we have seen almost any sensitive subject covered in a videogame up to a certain degree, but unless it's sexual, there's nothing to worry about?
You could argue a rape victim will have scars for life, but when someone gets killed, that's game over for that person. However, we forget that for every dead person there's a wife, husband, child, parent, friend, and that just like there are rape victims there are those who've lost someone in a war, by gang violence, kidnapping, travel accidents, suicide, and so on.
So you beat an NPC to death in a videogame. If you want to go moral about "certain subjects" also remember that IRL that NPC would have a wife, kids, friends and coworkers, all willing to beat you to death for beating up that NPC.

Kevin Smith puts it very nicely, although it's a comedy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQdDRrcAOjA

Posted:A year ago

#9

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4

Posted:A year ago

#10

Harel Jann
Graphic & Sound Designer, Co-Founder

6 3 0.5
It's crazy how rape and sex became synonym.
It's like birth and murder will become synonym.

Ha, If you want to 'advance' the genre make a (serious) game about birth.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Fallout 3 did that.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Harel Jann
Graphic & Sound Designer, Co-Founder

6 3 0.5
Fallout 3 did advance the genre.. (EDIT: IMHO)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Harel Jann on 7th September 2013 3:29pm

Posted:A year ago

#13

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,533 1,330 0.9
Surely "advancing the genre/industry" is only advancing it if others follow? Otherwise it's just a single pocket of creativity amongst a mass of generic products.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Harel Jann
Graphic & Sound Designer, Co-Founder

6 3 0.5
I see what you say Morville but I disagree.
I think that 'advancement' needs to be judged from the player perspective and not if other developer follow.
Other may follow a lead and it may seem like advancing at start. But sometimes it's going backwards.
And IMHO this is going backwards.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

278 1,060 3.8
Just because games frequently handle murder and violence with poor taste doesn't mean they should do the same with sexual assault.

I think Morville's point about fear is a good one. Many if not most women are raised to fear the very real concept that some day they may be sexually assaulted or raped. That's a reality, one that most men do not have to experience and that many are quite unaware of. Having that reality shoved in your face in a crass and exploitative way by any kind of media - yes, books and movies have rape scenes and many of them have done it really badly too - is going to turn a lot of people, particularly women, off a work.

That said, I applaud Wedin's apology and decision to examine how sexual assault is used in his game. If handled well, I don't think any kind of topic in games should be considered off-limits. I wouldn't trust 90% of developers to handle this particular topic well though.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Andrew Clayton
QA Functionality Tester

14 38 2.7
This wouldn't have happened, because no platform holder would allow a game on their console, that includes a BDSM scene, consensual or not.
Just a minor point for clarification, BDSM has been included in a number of games. Off the top of my head I can point to the mansion mission in Saints Row: The Third, the opening scene in GTA IV, the croupier mission in GTA: San Andreas and, most obviously, most of the cutscenes in Hitman: Absolution that involve the sheriff.

Posted:A year ago

#17

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