The inclusion of a sexual assault scene in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is being reconsidered by developer Dennaton Games.
The game’s demo caused a stir on release, as it opens with the game’s protagonist throwing a woman to the ground and then removing his pants.
It appears to be a sexual assault, but then a director yells, “Cut!”.
Speaking with RPS, Dennaton’s Dennis Wedin said the scene had been removed from the demo, and may not appear in the full game at all.
“We were really sad that some people were so affected by it, because maybe they had been through something like that of their own,” said Wedin.
“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.”
However, Wedin also mentioned that the scene was taken out of context.
“You get a bigger picture when you play the whole game, which is lost in the demo of course," he said.
“These characters come back later in the game and you learn more about them. There’s also gonna be playable female characters – a lot more of them in the final game.
“There’s gonna be a lot more to these characters.”
The scene was a commentary on people who claimed that Hotline Miami was exploitative, said Wedin.
“That was upsetting because we worked really hard with the story even if it’s really vague and unclear.
“We focused a lot on that and how it should support the violence. It should be something supporting it – not just selling it," he added.
“That’s also one of the ideas behind the opening. We wanted to make this first scene real exploitation. Make it into this horrible slasher movie. If we made Hotline Miami into actual exploitation, it’d look like this.”
It was also a statement about the rule of the sequel – that each must be more extreme than its predecessors – said Wedin.
“It’s been a trend in horror movies to do a remake of an old movie or maybe a sequel to an old movie, and they tend to take the next step up.
“Like, the first movie was really violent and bloody, and that was controversial. The next tries to [be equally controversial] with a big next step.
“So almost doing that with the illusion of an assault but then having the game stop you, that’s us saying we’re not going to go the whole way.
“That’s not Hotline Miami. Some might think that would be the way for us to do the sequel. Like, ‘OK, they did the violence. Now do sexual assault to be controversial’.
“That’s not what we’re about. So instead, it just stops.”
Even so, the scene might be excised from the game altogether, said Wedin.
“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. So that’s why we took it out," he added.
“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.”
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number launches next year on PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Windows PC, Mac, and Linux.