"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."
- Developer Dennis Wedin, discussing player reaction to a scene of near sexual assault in
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number with Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
received some early criticism when a demo released last month depicted an instance of narrowly averted sexual assault. In a new interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun
, developer Dennis Wedin spoke candidly about the team's decision to table the scene for possible retooling.
"Sexuality is so much more intimate and personal than violence... So of course, it resonates within you harder than violence," Wedin told RPS, explaining the team's decision to remove the scene from 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 said the scene in which the near-assault takes place is meant to satirize exploitation films, by which a franchise becomes more and more extreme in each iteration -- and by backing away just shy of the assault, the game was trying to communicate what thresholds it wasn't intending to cross.
"Having the game stop you, that's us saying we're not going to go the whole way," said Wedin. "That's not Hotline Miami
... That's not what we're about."
However, Wedin acknowledged that intention was just one component, and that player reception also had to be respected -- even if, according to the developers, the demo lacked the full context. "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," he said.
"We felt like we might have to have the whole game for that scene to work, or maybe we were doing it wrong," he admitted. "It didn't come out the way we wanted it to. So that's why we took it out."